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Die kat loop onder die tafel deur

English translation: The cat passes under the table

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Afrikaans term or phrase:Die kat loop onder die tafel deur
English translation:The cat passes under the table
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22:14 Dec 8, 2004
Afrikaans to English translations [Non-PRO]
Idioms / Maxims / Sayings
Afrikaans term or phrase: Die kat loop onder die tafel deur
The expression has us baffled as it seems there is no way to translate the sentence into English without a rather lengthy explanation.
The cat is not simply walking under the table; he enters from the one side and exits on the other and he does that in only seven Afrikaans words.
Ollie Olwagen
The cat passes under the table
Explanation:
We had this sentence in primary school...(Afrikaans school) and it is/was always quoted as an example of why Afrikaans is "superior" to English. Which is rubbish. Am Afrikaans and love Afrikaans, but there are loads of things one can say in English and have to find lenghty explanations for in Afrikaans, as is the case with all languages. And just like a train can pass perfectly well under a bridge, so can a cat under a table.

@willmatter: The Afrikaans expression means the cat walks from a point A which is not under the table, to a point B which is also not under the table, but passes under the table to reach point B. The schoolteachers always come with something like: You can't say that in English because "The cat walks under the table" means he stays under the table, or "The cat walks through under the table" (the most literal translation), etc. The very simple catch is that they always try to include the word "Walk", and yes, then it does not work. But translation is not like that, you move away from the words and just take the meaning, and then of course English cats can walk the same route without problems. And if the cat happens to "hardloop onder die tafel deur", well, then he'll just have to "pass like lighting" or some other equally suitable expression...
Selected response from:

babbelbekkie
Local time: 04:33
Grading comment
Thanks -- problem solved!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +2The cat passes under the tablebabbelbekkie


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


37 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
The cat passes under the table


Explanation:
We had this sentence in primary school...(Afrikaans school) and it is/was always quoted as an example of why Afrikaans is "superior" to English. Which is rubbish. Am Afrikaans and love Afrikaans, but there are loads of things one can say in English and have to find lenghty explanations for in Afrikaans, as is the case with all languages. And just like a train can pass perfectly well under a bridge, so can a cat under a table.

@willmatter: The Afrikaans expression means the cat walks from a point A which is not under the table, to a point B which is also not under the table, but passes under the table to reach point B. The schoolteachers always come with something like: You can't say that in English because "The cat walks under the table" means he stays under the table, or "The cat walks through under the table" (the most literal translation), etc. The very simple catch is that they always try to include the word "Walk", and yes, then it does not work. But translation is not like that, you move away from the words and just take the meaning, and then of course English cats can walk the same route without problems. And if the cat happens to "hardloop onder die tafel deur", well, then he'll just have to "pass like lighting" or some other equally suitable expression...

babbelbekkie
Local time: 04:33
Native speaker of: Native in AfrikaansAfrikaans, Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
Thanks -- problem solved!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kathinka van de Griendt: perfectly put, Annelie. Groete!
7 hrs
  -> Dankie!

agree  xxxjarry: Well put Annelie. As for the 'superiority' of Afrikaans or of any other language over another, I would say the least said the better!
8 hrs
  -> Dankie! Yep, each language has its own individual magic, none is worse or better :-)
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