I posted a link on Friday to an article discussing neat words in non-English languages (taken from the new book, The Meaning of Tingo) and cited the Dutch word “plimpplampplettere” as my favorite. The article says:
But it’s those fun-loving people in the Netherlands who should have the last word — the phrase for skimming stones is as light-hearted as the action: plimpplampplettere.
Several Dutch have emailed to say that there’s no such word in their language. Language Log says we should take the book with a huge grain of salt:
De Boinod is no linguist (he’s a researcher for the BBC comedy quiz show QI), but he claims to have read “over 280 dictionaries” and “140 websites” (or, according to his publisher’s site, “approximately 220 dictionaries” and “150 websites” — take your pick). It’s safe to assume that the fact-checking for such books is rather minimal — if a website says it, it must be true, right?
The lesson here is don’t believe everything you read on the web about books based on what someone read on the web.