July 26, 2014

Applying Dutch Grammar to English Words

A few months ago, I wrote about my son’s First (Bilingual) Words. Right now, he combines words to make (very short) sentences, and with sentences come verbs. I’ve noticed that he is already applying Dutch grammar to English verbs.

In Dutch, many verbs (in simple form) end in –en, especially the words in my son’s vocabulary: spelen (play), eten (eat), vasthouden (hold), dragen (carry). He now applies the Dutch –en to English verbs; I hear him say things like “I go playen” and “I not liken”.

(By the way, whenever he uses the word liken, it always makes me think of Facebook because, thanks to Facebook, the word ‘like’ has pretty much become a part of the Dutch vernacular and people apply Dutch grammar to it in sentences: Ik heb zijn bericht niet geliked – I did not like his message).

My son also applies other forms of Dutch grammar to English, like the Dutch use the diminutive –je. A small book is a boekje and a small car is autootje and so on. And for some reason, when Dutch grown-ups talk to children they automatically add the diminutive to every noun. The don’t say pak je jas (grab your coat) but jasje. Eat with your fork becomes eet met je vorkje. So, my son is so used to hearing the diminutive that he uses it in English too: “Want breadje” or “Where horse-je?” But then who can blame him when he hears me say words as rubber duckie and monkey which sound very similar in fast speech?


July 18, 2014

Weird Grammar: “Word Crimes” video

This song will appeal to anyone who has ever studied, worked or simply loves languages, especially English.

Weird Al Yankovic’s song “Word Crimes”


Have a lovely day!


July 17, 2014

Cecile’s Writers Magazine Is Back Online

Cecile’s Writers Magazine is back online. And we have a new flash fiction piece by Cecile’s Writer M. Krockmalnik Grabois for you to read. Go check it out…

Cecile, Samir, Sofia and Vanessa
Editors of Cecile’s Writers Magazine

July 17, 2014

We’re Switching Web Hosts

We’re switching web hosts for the Cecile’s Writers Magazine website. Unfortunately, this hasn’t gone very smoothly and the website is temporarily offline. We’ll be back real soon and we’ll have a new story for your reading pleasure.

Cecile, Samir, Sofia and Vanessa
Editors of Cecile’s Writers Magazine

June 15, 2014

James Joyce, A Short Introduction by Michael Seidel

James Joyce, A Short IntroductionThe book is part of the Blackwell Introductions to Literature series, which aim to  introduce novice readers to various literary authors or periods.  Seidel has written a compelling introductory book to one of modern literature’s giants, James Joyce, whose books are anything but simple.  When reading Joyce, I would advise not only knowing sufficiently the context in which his books are placed, but also reading texts like this one parallel to, or just before embarking on the actual books proper.  There is then a richness developed by understanding Joyce’s work more fully – the references, recurring characters, unusual word play, narrative techniques and much more.  Joyce was one of those writers whose every word was calculated to deliver a certain effect and to create multiple layers of meaning.  So while his books are challenging, they are also artistically beautiful and mind-bogglingly creative.  Simply put, they are a joy to read and reread.

Continue reading

June 10, 2014

Where’s the Faucet?

I’ve got a severe case of Writer’s Block! (Yes, capitals are appropriate in this case.)

Not even the following quote can get me into action:

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
– Louis L’Amour

Maybe it’s the continual lack of sleep I’ve had since the birth of my second son eight months ago.

Any tips on how to get back into the swing of things?

- Vanessa

March 18, 2014

His First (Bilingual) Words

I love watching – or perhaps a better word, listening – to my son learn his first words. I’m amazed at how quickly he learns it all. Everyday he learns a couple of new words. I know that it’s perfectly normal and not at all exceptional but it’s the first time that I’m actually experiencing a child learning his first words and sentences. And, as a language buff, I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride.

We’re raising our son bilingually, which makes experiencing his first words – for me – even more fun. I speak English, and my husband and pretty much everyone else in my son’s life speaks Dutch. About ninety percent of the words he says are Dutch, yet he understands the English words I say  just as well as when his father says it in Dutch. So, passively, the two languages are equal to one another. Continue reading

March 10, 2014

Bring It To the 21st Century

Classics have often been used as a basis for new, and sometimes quite popular, stories.

They can be given a modern twist like these:

  1. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet)
  3. The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy (based on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre)

Or the story can be retold from another perspective:

Continue reading

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