August 31, 2006

Cucumber cows

I've learned from Hugo Quené that late summer, which in English-language journalism is called the "silly season" and in German is called "Sommerloch" (= "summer hole"), is known as "komkommertijd" (= "cucumber time") in Dutch. That's the basis for the cucumber slices in this picture, which adorns an item on Noorderlog, the weblog of the Dutch science news site Noorderlicht, posted on August 29 under the title "Komkommerkoeien" (= "cucumber cows"). The cow part of the picture comes from Noorderlog's earlier post, "Koeiendialect" (= "Cow dialect"), which had credulously passed along the BBC's reproduction of a cheese company's press release.

It seems that Hugo sent Noorderlicht a link to my post "It's always silly season in the (BBC) science section" (8/26/2006), and they found it persuasive enough to call in the staff photographer, slice up a cucumber and look around for a cow. (I like the visual reference to cucumber facials.) So far, the BBC has not updated its coverage of the cow dialect story, except to offer a link to a BBC Radio Five piece that compares and contrasts the moos of cows from Somerset, Essex, Norfolk, and the Midlands.

Memo to Ashley Highfield: ... oh, never mind.

[Update -- Jarek Weckwerth writes:

Re your post about the Dutch term for "silly season": in Polish, it's known as "sezon ogórkowy" ("cucumber season"). Just the other day, I was in a bar where they had a party to celebrate the end of the cucumber season, with heaps of cucumbers all over the place. Proved a good way to generate some interaction among the punters.


Posted by Mark Liberman at August 31, 2006 07:52 AM