The shameful piece

Leuven Travel Blog

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Eating the last slice of cake is so taboo in Flemish culture that the final piece is called "het schaamstukje". This literally translates to "the pubic piece", but more accurately refers to "the shameful piece".

The French influence in dessert is so strong that most Flemish use "dessert" (with French pronunciation) rather than the Flemish word "toetje" (strike that, it is Dutch, thanks Cedric). "Toetje" might better reflect the Flemish attitude to serving sizes, however, as the literal translation is something like "a small close (to the meal)".

Everyone who has ever watched "The Office" knows the feeling well, but unlike the English the Flemish have named it. "Plaatsvervangende schaamte" is the embarrassment you feel when watching someone else do something really embarrassing. It literally translates to something like "place-substitution shame".
Adrian_Liston says:
The person who told me "schaamstukje" comes from Bree, I asked around and no one from Leuven had heard of it. Likewise, he had never heard of "plaatsvervangende schaamte". It is amazing just how much diversity there is in Flemish just between two small towns 50km away in the same province!
Posted on: Nov 17, 2009
lamadude says:
inexing --> indexing
Posted on: Nov 12, 2009
lamadude says:
Haha it's funny and interesting to see a non-native speaker reflect on dutch words.

I've never refered to the final piece of cake as het schaamstukje, though I think it's an absolutely beautiful word. (when I googled it, this blog post was the first result, so I guess it's not that popular, and also: how fast is google inexing this stuff?? it's amazing)

I wouldn't call "toetje" a flemish word though, this is one of the few words that has "only in Holland" written all over it, the kind of word a flemish person would use when pretending to be, or laughing with, the Dutch. (Another obvious word in these situation is the very "holland-dutch" word "hartstikke" which means "very." Flemish people understand these words but would never ever use them. It would sound absolutely ridiculous.

Plaatsvervangende schaamte is a word that I use quite often though, and usually struggle to find an English equivalent for, The Office is indeed the perfect example :)
Posted on: Nov 12, 2009
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