Lost in Dutch Translation : Clocks and bells

Hi all,

A few days ago I published a post about an interesting Easter fact in Belgium. The article referred to flying Easter Clocks, and I remember whilst writing the post, I hesitated a few times whether I needed to use the word clock or use the word bell. It looks like it is a case of lost in translation! Just to elaborate, in case you didn’t read the article, in Belgium it is the bells that hang in the clock tower of a church that carry the Easter Eggs they picked up in Rome and then drop them in Belgium.

It was one of my Belgian friends on Facebook that asked me if I meant to write bells instead of clocks . I checked the word of Clocktower ( a tower that has clocks and bells. He  came back with the word belltower, ie a tower that has bells, but no clocks. I then realized I made a mistake.

Now why would I use the word clock instead of bell?

To translate the word clock into Dutch, it’s horloge or uurwerk ( hourwork being a very literal translation), To translate the English word bell into Dutch is…. klok. (It’s not entirely consistent, as  a doorbell is not called a deurklok, it is called a deurbel.  So it  looks like we have a  great example of a homonym, meaning a word that sounds the same, but have a very different meaning.

I am a very visual thinker, so for me the word “clock” ( not knowing in what language you are talking to me), I will think about :

Example of a bell

Ask an English speaker what they associate with clock, and you will probably see this :

Image of a clock

So instead of Easter-bunny-brings-eggs-or-is-it-the-Easter-clocks, it should have read

Easter Bunny brings eggs, or is it the flying Easter bells?

Below image shows you how the bells get wings, so they can fly to Rome and back.

Flying Bells containing Easter Eggs

I know, it’s wicked!!



  • Katleenbb
  • Mum, blogger, Belgian, linguist, living in Ireland since 1993. I take a keen interest in business,small business and technology, how it creates jobs opportunities in Ireland. This blog is about following the trends in job creation, where those jobs are advertised, and what's involved to make Ireland( like myself) your new home. I am based in the West of Ireland. Twitter: @ecotreasure FB: workinglivingtravellinginireland

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