Inham and uitham

One of my children had, during childhood, sometimes questions about language of great importance to him. If unanswered he kept repeating them, over and over again, like:” if inham (cove) exists does uitham (tongue of land) also exist, and if it doesn’t exist, why not?”

For a long time, I didn’t know the answer myself, I told him language isn’t always symmetrical, that I didn’t know of the word uitham, and that maybe at some point in time, it had existed, but that I didn’t know. For a long time the question remained unanswered. Then, one afternoon when I had nothing planned I set out to find an answer on the internet, and I came across an article from the 19th century on the subject of the word inham. It was an extensive article which told me that the meaning of word inham was small cove and the word uitham had the opposite meaning, that is land tongue. From the article I learned that ham is a geographical specification, frequent in the area of the river IJssel, as for instance Den Ham. My son was contented; uitham exists, and language is symmetrical. Al least as far as inham and uitham are concerned.His question was answered.

Febuary 2015

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