"Het is vis noch vlees."

Translation:It is neither fish nor meat.

4 years ago

61 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/rsharyon

Obviously I'm confused here. I typed "It is fish, not meat." I thought 'noch' needed to appear twice to achieve the neither/nor effect (i.e. 'Het is noch vis noch vlees.') Would my (wrong) English phrase translate to 'Het is vis, niet vlees?'

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcuslangford

Yes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nikbels12
nikbels12
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On similar lines- can the construction 'either-or' also be done the same way, without repeating the of?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcuslangford

In dutch it is pretty much the same as the English, "Either-or" is "Of...of." and just "or" is just "of" but since they have virtually the same meaning they are almost completely interchangeable.

Consider the difference between:

You can have fish or meat. (je kunt vis of vlees hebben)

And: You can either have fish or meat. (je kunt of vis of vlees hebben)

They are only not interchangeable when the option to have both is completely taken off the table (either-or)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmaJennie

The first time I saw this sentence, I thought the same as you, and wrote the same as you; and, Duo slapped my hand!

This time, however, I used 'neither...nor' even though my mind resisted. Instead of writing 'meat', my mean, ornery streak used 'flesh', and lo and behold (I'm always surprised when Duo accepts something that is reasonable), it passed!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/InvisibleR1
InvisibleR1
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Vis noch vlees implies that both aren't correct. Ex: Water bij de wijn gaat over water noch wijn.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KAHayek
KAHayek
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Het is tofu

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EtienneCoi

Het is groente

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/springbett
springbett
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Would "het is noch vis noch vlees" also be correct?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WarmFoothills

Yes it would, although it's used less often.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrancisKon

So what determines when you just need one and when you need both? I saw in other exercises that they have two "noch" 's in the sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WarmFoothills

It's just personal preference I guess. It doesn't change the meaning.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beloeng
beloengPlus
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Do we only need a comma when there are two noch's?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FreekVerkerk
FreekVerkerk
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Yes: Het is noch vlees, noch vis. The reason is probably that it is a list. It is like: 1,2,3,4,5 etc. Het is noch vlees, noch vis, noch groente, noch vogels, etc.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ImmeychHua

I also thought it is like that..

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GrnpcFTMarkRMOwl
GrnpcFTMarkRMOwl
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OK, so unlike English, in Dutch, neither can be conveyed just by using the English equivalent of "nor" without the equivalent of "neither" being said explicitly....

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/narion_k
narion_kPlus
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It seems so. You don't need "neither" like in English or "weder" like in German.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EstelleTweedie
EstelleTweedie
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This is an idiomatic expression, which we still use in Afrikaans as well, except that we would use the other "noch" (Dit is nog vis nog vlees), and the closest English equivalent would be "It's neither fish nor fowl", although my old Chambers dictionary has "It's neither fish, flesh nor fowl."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Strique
Strique
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My dutch room-mate is telling me the same thing. This is correct, but it would be more natural to say "het is niet vis noch vlees" in modern speaking, or some other way.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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Het is niet vis noch vlees doesn't make sense in Dutch. You can either say Het is (noch) vis, noch vlees or Het is geen vis en geen vlees

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carolind
Carolind
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"It isn't fish nor meat": is this bad English?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mundomeister
mundomeister
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It is a little unusual to say "nor" without "neither" like that, although you can sometimes use nor on its own. I would say "It is neither fish nor meat" or "It isn't fish or meat".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ayisha36

Well, it's a slightly odd sounding because 1.) You've used "not . . . nor", when we'd expect to hear either "not . . . or," or "neither . . . nor." "Not/nor" is less common, but you're welcome to use it if you want to play around with style.

2.) You've used the contraction "isn't" before "nor". Using a paired not/nor or neither/nor creates a cadence and balance in the sentence--which you've just thrown off kilter with your contraction. "Neither/nor" also draws attention to the negation because you have to slow down--it's supposed to lend gravity to your sentence. Try saying aloud, "Not this nor that; neither young nor old; neither waking nor sleeping"--can you hear how you have to articulate the words more, how there's an almost irresistible hesitation in the middle of each phrase? If you've ever pushed a child on a little swing, you'll notice that there's a hesitation each time the swing reaches its peak, and that's what a "neither/nor", or "either/or" does. Back, and forth, and back, and forth.

Again, it's not bad, but you're missing the opportunity to use it well. The "isn't" swallows up the "not," so that only the "nor" gets emphasized. If you're going to use "not/nor" here, I'd suggest slowing down the beginning of your sentence to "It is not fish nor meat," so that you get the balance back. If you'd rather use a contraction, use "it's not" instead of "it isn't" so that the "not" is still preserved: "It's not fish nor meat." A lot of the meaning - the sense - of the pairing, comes from its rhythm. If you want to say, "It's not-" or "It isn't-" to start off, it balances better to end with "-fish or meat" because, like the contraction at the beginning, it takes away some of the emphasis from the negation.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmaJennie

Ayisha, you always give the best explanations, very erudite.

One comment though: I tend to use 'It's not' frequently and automatically. Unfortunately, many times it comes away sounding like "It snot", yet I rarely slur my words.

If this works the way it should, I'll be sending you a lingot.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ayisha36

Ha ha! That reminds me how my extended family uses the phrase, " 'sSnot nice; 'sSnasty" for "it's not nice; it's nasty." Words are fun ;) Thanks for the lingot!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dim-ond-dysgwr

Perhaps it's just me (mother-tongue English-speaker) but "It's not (It isn't) fish nor meat" just sounds wrong to me. If you want to use not and nor together, then I'd say you need to put it like this: "It's not (It isn't) fish, nor is it meat".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BenjiMalone

Yes. It is understandable, but "nor" should be paired with "neither" instead of "not."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmaJennie

I remember my sixth grade English teacher telling the class not to use 'not...nor'. Sorry, I don't remember the specific reason. (Maybe something about it forming a double negative?)

On the other hand, I also remember an English professor in College stating that one should use 'not...nor' rather than 'not...or', but then, he also did not want anyone to use 'whether...or not', only 'whether'.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie
Alex.Essilfie
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Then it's mushroom!

Just wondering...
How do you say mushroom in Dutch?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ingrid.rollema

It's paddestoel (toadstool), but the French champignon has crept into use as well.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El2theK
El2theK
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In Dutch champignon refers to a specific edible mushroom though.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie
Alex.Essilfie
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By edibleushroom do you mean "edible mushroom"?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El2theK
El2theK
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Indeed, the perks of using a mobile device... I've edited it now.

Anyway, since I'm making a new message, this is what is referred to as a champignon in Dutch: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champignon

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie
Alex.Essilfie
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Champignon (NL) appears to be the one we call in English button mushroom.
Champignon Mushroom

Thanks for the education!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Matilda931359
Matilda931359
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In French we call that Champignon de Paris, maybe that's why the Dutch kept the french word champignon :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex.Essilfie
Alex.Essilfie
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Thanks Ingrid!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/graham19j

How you you say "It is fish, not meat"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EstelleTweedie
EstelleTweedie
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Maybe "Het is vis, niet vlees"?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PowerBoyAakash

Geen vlees

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SrMarien
SrMarien
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Both "Het is vis, niet vlees." and "Het is vis, geen vlees" are correct."

In a sentence like this one 'geen' and 'niet' have the same meaning, but we might you them with a slightly different nuance. When it's about the word that's incorrect I would use 'niet' and when it's the matter, I would use 'geen'. Example:

Het Nederlandse woord is 'heg' en niet 'hedge'. Dat is een heg, geen struik.

You could see 'geen' as the equivalent of 'not a(n)' and 'niet' just as the equivalent of 'not'.

The two sentences above would translate to:

The Dutch word is 'heg' and not 'hedge'. That is a hedge, not a bush.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SrMarien
SrMarien
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Note: this is a linguistic approach. Normally nobody is aware of this, and nobody will consciously hear a difference, so you really can't make mistakes on this :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Katherle
Katherle
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Why not "It is neither fish nor flesh"? I believe that's what the corresponding English proverb says.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/mundomeister
mundomeister
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The expression is usually "neither fish nor fowl" :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Domleschg
Domleschg
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Or "It is neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat," though I think that expression may be antiquated.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sparrowhawk28
sparrowhawk28
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Nor good red herring isn't it? Don't know why though. I may have to turn to Brewers.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Domleschg
Domleschg
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You're right: it's "good red herring." I must've edited it in my head for logic (because "fish" would seem to cover "herring") but language isn't always about logic.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sparrowhawk28
sparrowhawk28
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Aha! Apparently 'Neither fish, flesh nor good red herring' refers to the three classes of people in medieval England - the clergy ate fish, the well off ate meat and the poor ate salted fish. If you didn't fit any of those categories then you were a nothing, outside society completely. So I have learned something today. Does any native speaker know if the Dutch had/have a similar saying?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jake3389
jake3389
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I'm pretty sure the literal translation of "vlees" is flesh... so your answer should be accepted.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AndrewsSuzy
AndrewsSuzy
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it may be literal, but if the Dutch is an idiom, then the closest English idiom should be accepted; but if "het is vis noch vlees" is not an idiom, then fish is compared with / contrasted with" meat", rather than with "flesh".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TobyBartels
TobyBartels
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In the literal rendering, what's the difference supposed to be between meat and flesh?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/marcuslangford

Meat is the flesh of an animal that you eat.

Flesh is generally used when referring to human flesh.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CDH16
CDH16
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What distinction in modern Dutch is there between "nog" and "noch"? I understand that in a large part of the Netherlands "g" and "ch" are pronounced identically, and I believe they are etymologically the same, so do the Dutch actually think of these as two distinct words with different meanings?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El2theK
El2theK
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Well, they are two distinct words with different meanings, so there is reason to think otherwise.

  • Ik ga nog niet naar huis - I'm not going home yet.
  • Ik ga noch naar huis, noch naar school - I'm neither going home, nor to school.
2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PowerBoyAakash

What if I say," Ik ga naar huis niet nog"? Is this wrong?

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/El2theK
El2theK
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No, that word order does not work.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OmaJennie

Oh, like 'geen' and 'niet'. You're using 'nog' to modify 'ga', but 'noch' to modify 'huis' and 'school'

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yogogoyogi
yogogoyogi
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I keep thinking she is saying in English, "It is fish, not fleas."

2 years ago
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