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the boy with his finger in the dyke

English translation: this comes from the legend of Hans Brinker, but may be used to mean something rather different - please see below

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:the boy with his finger in the dyke
English translation:this comes from the legend of Hans Brinker, but may be used to mean something rather different - please see below
Entered by: Caryl Swift
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14:29 Mar 7, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: the boy with his finger in the dyke
Here is the sentence like this:" Someone built the schoolhouse, and hired a teacher in order that the children of the desert should not grow up barbarian but be heirs of all the ages familiar with the rotation of earth, Napoleon, ...the major and minor modes, the boy with his finger in the dyke,..."

I wonder what" the bou with his fnger in the dyke" means?

Thank you!
macky
Local time: 02:20
From the legend of hans Brinker - please see below
Explanation:
http://tinyurl.com/47bch

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Note added at 17 mins (2007-03-07 14:46:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry clicked the mouse too soon. And it should be Hans, with a capital 'H'.

The link I've posted here will give you the story of Hans Brinker, a Dutch boy - and it gives you the origins of the story itself.

So, basically, he held back the floods by stopping up a hole in the dyke with his finger.

In your text, the reference could be given as an example of how the children might learn about being of service to their community.

However, the expression is often used to suggest that a given action will not suffice to attain the desired effect, e.g.

The government's attempts to reduce unemployment by setting up Job Shops is akin to the boy with his finger in the dyke.

In other words, the measures taken by the government will not hold back the flood - they will not solve the unemployment problem.

The reason for mentioning this is that, depending upon what comes next in your text, the author may have given that particular example in order to create a double meaning - on the one hand, an inspiring story - on the other, a comment on the possible efficacy of the plan. This of course depends entirely on what the whole text is about and on how it continues - so it's a thought and no more than that.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-03-07 16:01:22 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

My pleasure :-)
Selected response from:

Caryl Swift
Poland
Local time: 20:20
Grading comment
Thank you for help!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +5reference tio Hans Brinker
Rolf Klischewski, M.A.
3 +6From the legend of hans Brinker - please see below
Caryl Swift
4 +2see explanation below
Paula Vaz-Carreiro


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
the boy with his finger in the dyke,...
reference tio Hans Brinker


Explanation:
Just google. (C;


    Reference: http://www.thehollandring.com/hans-brinker-story.shtml
    Reference: http://www.google.de/search?hl=de&q=%22finger+in+the+dyke%22...
Rolf Klischewski, M.A.
Local time: 20:20
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  kmtext
5 mins

agree  xxxsilvia b
6 mins

agree  Will Matter: Yup, except that (for very obvious reasons) this should be spelled as 'dike' instead. 'Dike' and 'dyke' are two entirely different words and when you clearly understand their meaning you may be able to see why your answer is somewhat oxymoronic.
2 hrs

agree  airmailrpl: reference to Hans Brinker ..oxymoronic is good
3 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
5 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the boy with his finger in the dyke,...
see explanation below


Explanation:
Dutch legend has it that there was once a small boy who upon passing a dyke on his way to school noticed a slight leak as the sea trickled in through a small hole. Knowing that he would be in trouble if he were to be late for school, the boy pocked his finger into the hole and so stemmed the flow of water. Some time later a passerby saw him and went to get help. This came in the form of other men who were able to effect repairs on the dyke and seal up the leak.
This story is told to children to teach them that if they act quickly and in time, even they with their limited strength and resources can avert disasters. The fact that the Little Dutch Boy used his finger to stop the flow of water, is used as an illustration of self-sacrifice. The physical lesson is also taught: a small trickle of water soon becomes a stream and the stream a torrent and the torrent a flood sweeping all before it, Dyke material, roadways and cars, and even railway tracks and bridges and whole trains.


    Reference: http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/little_dutch_boy.html
Paula Vaz-Carreiro
Local time: 19:20
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 48

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Will Matter: Everyone got the meaning right, NO one got the spelling right. Hate to quibble but they ARE two separate and unrelated words. Not even linguistically (etymologically) related.
2 hrs
  -> If you're right, all my dictionaries are wrong then. Dyke OR dike = alternative spellings for embankment to prevent flooding AND a lesbian. Thanks for the agree anyway.

agree  airmailrpl: - according to willmatter "the boy with his finger in the dyke" could be construed as pornografic
3 hrs
  -> LOL - Thanks airmail ;-)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
the boy with his finger in the dyke,...
From the legend of hans Brinker - please see below


Explanation:
http://tinyurl.com/47bch

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 mins (2007-03-07 14:46:35 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Sorry clicked the mouse too soon. And it should be Hans, with a capital 'H'.

The link I've posted here will give you the story of Hans Brinker, a Dutch boy - and it gives you the origins of the story itself.

So, basically, he held back the floods by stopping up a hole in the dyke with his finger.

In your text, the reference could be given as an example of how the children might learn about being of service to their community.

However, the expression is often used to suggest that a given action will not suffice to attain the desired effect, e.g.

The government's attempts to reduce unemployment by setting up Job Shops is akin to the boy with his finger in the dyke.

In other words, the measures taken by the government will not hold back the flood - they will not solve the unemployment problem.

The reason for mentioning this is that, depending upon what comes next in your text, the author may have given that particular example in order to create a double meaning - on the one hand, an inspiring story - on the other, a comment on the possible efficacy of the plan. This of course depends entirely on what the whole text is about and on how it continues - so it's a thought and no more than that.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-03-07 16:01:22 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

My pleasure :-)

Caryl Swift
Poland
Local time: 20:20
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 76
Grading comment
Thank you for help!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ioanna Karamanou
53 mins
  -> Thank you :-)

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr
  -> Thank you :-)

agree  Will Matter: You got the actual meaning but not the correct spelling. My comments might irritate a few but 'dike' and 'dyke' are two separate words with entirely different meanings.
2 hrs
  -> It can indeed ALSO be spelt 'dike'. http://tinyurl.com/2pc5qz http://tinyurl.com/37uhfg http://tinyurl.com/3d5pzo Thank you :-)

agree  airmailrpl: -
3 hrs
  -> Thank you :-)

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
5 hrs
  -> Thank you :-)

agree  Richard Benham: "Dyke" is perfectly correct in this sense. I am reminded of the curse of Noah, and an incident involving Robn Archer, but I think I should remain silent on both.
5 hrs
  -> What a pity! Thank you :-)
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Changes made by editors
Mar 7, 2007 - Changes made by Steffen Walter:
Term askedthe boy with his finger in the dyke,... » the boy with his finger in the dyke
Field (write-in)literature » (none)


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