Dutch website reveals vaguest Dutch phrase

3rd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

'Je ding doen' (Do your thing) was voted the vaguest phrase of the year.

Amsterdam – The Dutch expression 'je ding doen' (do your thing) was voted the vaguest phrase of 2009 on a website for vague language, reported nu.nl on Monday.

Out of 1,950 people, 15 percent voted 'je ding doen' as a vague phrase.

Dutch expressions that were voted vague included 'een stukje' (a bit), 'proactief' (proactive), 'zeg maar' (say it) and 'doorcommuniceren' (communicating forth).

Vague language is the use of unclear, ambiguous, misleading, redundant and disturbing words and expressions.

The poll was conducted by www.vaagtaal.nl which allowed language fanatics to submit words and expressions they deemed as a nuisance. A group of language-experts then selected 50 annoying words and expressions from this list of submissions.

The list was open to the public who could vote a maximum of three words from the reduced list in September and October for the vaguest phrase in 2009.

In 2008, 'iets een plekje geven' (give something a place) came in first in the same poll.

Besides voting for the top three vaguest phrases, most voters could also participate in the vaguest phrase-survey.

The survey showed that men find macho-expressions such as 'ergens een plasje over doen' (to pee over something) -- which means marking your territories -- normal. Men also like to use the phrase hands-on in their daily conversations.

In contrast, women use fewer phrases that refer to the body.

According to the survey, women like to say 'letterlijk' (literally) when they mean figuratively as well as 'duurzaam' (sustainable), 'input', 'throughput' and 'output' but men find these expressions extremely vague. The expression 'oké' (okay) is also used much by women and annoyed men immensely as they consider this a non-commitment word.

Students and school-pupils find the word 'competenties' (competences) surprisingly vague since the educational system is very competence orientated nowadays.

Vanessa Andreae / Expatica

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