Colophon

It’s not a word. (Well, just about, deep in the dark depths of the dictionary. But that doesn’t make it correct.)

I’ve also got an advantage here over those who were brought up bilingually (I learned Dutch in my late twenties): no leakage or crossover from the other language as a kid affecting my vocabulary. And I’d never heard the word before coming to the Netherlands to live.

  • Don’t use it unless you want your audience reaching for the Chambers or Merriam-Webster: nobody knows the word. Prefer:
    • credits or
    • acknowledgements

Putting it in the “Fake English” category rather than “Wrong register” is perhaps a bit harsh; the word does exist, after all. But it emphasizes just how obscure the term is.

Other European languages also have variants on the word, so it’s not only Dutch that uses it in English: another example of Eurospeak.

Prevalence: moderate. Not all that common a word in Dutch, after all.
Frequency: endemic. Almost every time ‘colofon’ occurs.
Native: no. Not unless they’ve absorbed quite a bit from Dutch.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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