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One of those prestigious building projects that horrendously ran over cost and time but a fascinating building nonetheless. Still not finished.

Lots of pictures )
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We did a holiday park break over the long Carnival weekend again, but I've got to say I can't spend the entire time within the confines of the park, I need to see more than playgrounds, petting zoo and swimming pool (and shops and restaurants).

With the Lüneburg Heath around us, there was plenty of landscape around us.

I'd been there once before, as a child, with my father and my grandparents. The names on the road signs were familiar and when we drove towards the town I knew I had stayed in, I spotted the words Pietzmoor on a sign and that rang a bell. We parked close to the holiday home village where we had rented a cottage and went for a walk around the Piet's bog.

Efforts are under way to restore this rain-fed bog - it was drained and there was a lot of peat extraction even as late as the 1980s there and you can still see where the peat was cut - the rectangular holes have filled with water.

Pictures )
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When you cross the border, much is different.

The first thing you notice is that the signage is in another language: sometimes the words are off just by a few letters, sometimes they are nearly incomprehensible.

Even the motorway signs, although they have the globally accepted white colour on blue background, are just a tiny bit wrong. The familiar names of cities seem changed when written in a font that is ever so slightly rounder with the individual letters ever so slightly further apart. Or are they closer? You cannot tell, but the name of the city you were born in suddenly looks foreign.

There are much larger cues though than the writings on the walls.

Houses )

Writing this down, I've come to realize that my expertise in architectural styles is a little vague at best, so all mistakes are clearly my own.

And: While these houses in the Netherlands seem very different to what I'm used to, there are also striking differences between different German regions: slate shingles in the Bergische Land, red brick in the North, wooden balconies in the South.

Snowday.

Jan. 23rd, 2016 07:19 pm
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We'd had a sprinkling of snow on Saturday, but nowhere near enough to go sledding. My parents, living a good 300m higher, had more snow and had been promised more, so that we decided to drive up on Sunday. Which we did.

(I still don't like how I have to keep telling myself that it was absolutely justified to take the day off and postpone some of my very important marking.)

Pictures )

The grown-ups had fun, too, and did their fair share of sledding, too.
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Under the cut, some of the pictures of our New Year's Day Walk.

Read more... )
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Sending along my best wishes for a lovely, peaceful, healthy and happy 2016!

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Bringing this over here from my twitter feed and expanding it a little.

It all started when I realized that British English pronounces forsythia /fɔːˈsaɪθiə/ - like scythe in the middle. My own pronunciation was a mix of the British and the American version: /fərˈsɪθiə/ - the Star Wars Sith pronunciation I'd like to call it. What's your pronunciation like? I don't know whether I came up with my version of my own or whether I heard it in NZ or GB?

The German pronunciation of Forsythie - nearly the same word except for the last letter - is very different though: Phonetically we would spell it Forsützie, the more or less IPA version, taken from a German online dictionary is this: [fɔrˈzy:tsi̯ə] - a world away from the British version!


But then I thought of Fuchsie and fuchsia - same last letter difference again, also a very different pronunciation: German call it [ˈfʊksi̯ə], English-speaking folks say /ˈfjuːʃə/ - and as to spelling it, there is the tendency to turn it into fuschia.

So, we have a Scottish botanist William Forsyth and a flower named after him and a German botanist Leonhart Fuchs and a flower named after him. Naturally, we ignore the native pronunciation of the name and come up with our own. Which I am totally fine with, but it is a little confusing.

With Dahlie and dahlia, named after a Swedish botanist Anders Dahl, the German and American pronunciation are fairly close on the sound of the a (let's ignore the l and the fact that the IPA letters are the same, but the pronunciation isn't):
Dahlie = [ˈda:li̯ə]
dahlia = BrE /ˈdeɪliə/ AmE /ˈdɑːliə/
The Swedish pronunciation of the a is probably different again!

As to other flowers named after people, there is Poinsettia - which was the trigger for all this because of this language log post about its pronunciation and Bougainvillea.

Poinsettias are Weihnachtssterne in English, literally Christmas stars, which is the easy way out as far as mangling the name goes. Bougainvillea are named after a French general and explorer and here the German [buɡɛ̃ˈvilea]  is a little closer to the French version than the English /ˌbuːɡənˈvɪliə/ - which is lovely in its own way, I think.

Any other flowers named after people that come to mind?
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Not a sign of global warming.

Hamamelis/Witch-hazel/Zaubernuss blooms in winter.



Lovely smell, too.
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Here are some pictures of our Christmas:

Read more... )

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