Copyright 2013, R. Harmsen, all rights reserved.

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Notes to Vzajku (language)

Heritage or inheritance?

Is inheritance the right word to use here? Should it not have been ‘heritage’?

Answer: I probably already checked that back in 1988, and found, like I did again now, that although ‘inheritance’ also has meanings not applicable here, one of its meanings is ‘heritage’. Other synonyms that I might have used but didn’t, are ‘legacy’ and ‘bequest’.

Wonder or miracle?

25 and 30 November 2013

Should I have use the word ‘miracle’ here instead of ‘wonder’? Isn’t ‘wonder’ a Dutchism?

No, wonder is also a good English word for this.

Sex or gender?

25 and 30 November 2013

Really sex, not gender? Yes, both are valid words for this. Apparently, I already checked this in 1988, using the only larger dictionary I possessed: Oxford Concise, 1984.


1 December 2013

I consistently wrote “responsability” back in 1988, instead of ‘responsibility’, here (twice) and here. I still think it looks better with an ‘a’, but now (in 2013) I know it is wrong and I always do it right and if not catch it with it with MSWord’s spellchecker before publication.

In 1988, I did have access to Unix spell, but I couldn’t use it because my text wasn’t available as a computer file. I only had a computer at work, not at home, and didn’t feel I could use that computer and spent work hours for this private project.


26 and 30 November 2013

In the handwritten version, the text actually reads: “[...] even a lion [...], despite of vigour and speed: [...]”. Before “vigour”, there are tippexed-out traces (still visible when an electric light shines through) of the words “his” and “its”.

It is now my opinion that my 1988 text was wrong and should have been ‘despite its vigour and speed’, because despite means ‘in spite of’. I must have confused this with a non-existent *‘despite of’.

That’s what can happen when you write in a language that is not your own.


26 November, 2 December 2013

In hindsight (2013), in 1988 I used the wrong expression. “Fix ranks” was an attempt to translate Dutch ‘de rangorde vaststellen’. I now see, having access to more and better dictionaries, that although ‘rank’ can mean “position in a hierarchy” and “(high) social position” (both from Concise Oxford, 1984), the word is probably not (or not often), used for the pecking order (Dutch: pikorde) or dominance hierarchy of social animals.

A different word for “to fix” may have been needed as well. ‘Establish’? ‘Settle disputes’?

Passive subject

26 November, 2 December 2013

This is not a well-formed sentence. The terrorists, who were doing the “holding hostage”, I didn’t mention, only their methods. Perhaps replacing “by holding them hostage” with ‘by being held hostage’ could have improved things. But then the suggestion might be that the hostages mentally injured themselves.

Poor writing on my part, anyhow, I admit it.

Oppose(d) to

2 December 2013

I now think (and researched) it is either: ‘many religions oppose this’ or: ‘many religions are opposed to this’, but not: “‘many religions oppose to this’”.

To say

26 November, 2 December 2013

To say”? Let’s say. Or simply ‘say’, as an adverb (sense 16 or 17).

Strange error. But it is really there.

2 December 2013, 12:55A: No, it actually is correct. I misread my own sentence. The word ‘to’ is not part of the expression, but belongs to “reduction”. Reduction to, reduction towards, be reduced to become, reduced such that it becomes.

Must or should?

26 November, 2 December 2013

Must never”? Should I have written ‘should never’? Perhaps. Probably both ways are correct.

Skin or hide?

26 November, 1 and 2 December 2013

Is “skin” correct in this context? Would ‘hide’ have been better? I now think so, because ‘hide’ is more usual of larger animals such as cows. But ‘skin’ may be right too, I’m not sure.

One or two words?

26 November, 1 and 2 December 2013

‘Bullfighting’ and ‘cockfighting’ are in dictionaries (I checked Merriam Webster and Collins) as one word, but dogfighting is not.

Dog fighting is in Wikipedia, written as two words. That is inconsistent. ‘Dogfight’ is an existing word, but it also has other meanings than the one intended in my text.

For consistency’s sake, I stick to ‘dogfighting’, also because in 2013 I publish exactly what I wrote in 1988/1989, no matter if right or wrong.

Copyright © 2013, R. Harmsen, all rights reserved.