Wednesday, 6 February 2008

I know where you're house lives

A few years ago, with the help of K, I found out the address of one of my favourite people in the world. And a couple of months ago I was sure I was on the trail of another. Today I am satisfied I found him. Not that I will ever do anything with the information. Except if I ever find myself in New York City I might walk by their respective buildings - a few times...

Knowing I know something others don't gives me a fuzzy feeling, but it's a bit scary too. I admire these people and I want them to be safe. If I can find their details, someone else could too. Back on the bright side, I guess I could always offer my detective services for money.

The title of this post is a translation of the way people in the Dutch Antilles would express they know where you live ("Ik weet waar jou huis woont"). Most people over here in The Netherlands will recognise it as a threat, but remember, it's not language that threatens people, it's people that threaten people. And they would also say "This is where my house lives..." when they were chatting to you and pointing out where they lived.

The use of "you're" is deliberate, it mirrors the incorrect use of "jou" in the Dutch version. I think it's a very nice example of living language, but I do wish they used proper grammar.

2 comments:

kusala ~ joe said...

I trust your translation from the Dutch, obviously, but can you teach me some grammar?

If you're translating it as "you're", wouldn't the original have to be:
"ik weet waar u (of 'jij' of 'je') bent huis woont"?

I guess I don't understand what "jou" means, since I would say "ik weet waar jouw huis is".

Help, teacher!

SubtleKnife said...

It's not a literal translation of the mistake, but they're both common mistakes in their own language. And because it's the same word "jou"/"you", I thought it would be funny.

Grammatically you're absolutely right with your last sentence, although I would probably leave the house out of it altogether. ("Ik weet waar jij woont.")

"Jou" is a version of jij; a relic from the olden days, it can be a dative or accusative. If I give something "to you", I give it "aan jou".

Since the expression does include "your house", it follows that "jouw" should be used instead of "you". "Jouw" is the possessive pronoun.

I think there should be a slight difference in pronunciation, but there usually isn't and they are regularly mixed up - just as people frequently switch "your" and "you're" in English.