I coined a new Dutch word I think. This early morning I was thinking and writing about the words dependency, independency, interdependency, and codependency, and did so in both English and Dutch in parallel. In Dutch I realised I didn’t like the usual translation of interdependency as ‘wederzijdse afhankelijkheid’ which literally translated back to English says mutual dependency. It seems to miss a key aspect. It emphasizes the mutuality of being dependent i.e. two separate dependencies in a vice versa fashion. To me the ‘inter’ in interdependent is not merely the two things that are connected through it, but a third place. A strenghtening of multiple independents by entering into a constellation, not a weakening through mutually assured dependence. A third place that is a synergetic togetherness, centered between the things connected through it, something that is more than the sum of its parts. In that richer connectedness lies the complexity of our lives. ‘Mutual dependent’ sounds like a so much poorer term than ‘interdependent’. It leans more towards codependency even. I of course have a strong interest in the meaning of the word interdependent, as it has been the most important word in the name of this weblog since 2002 (and hence became part of my personal company and holding company name too).

I tried to find a Dutch term for it, couldn’t find an existing one and then I came up with ‘samenhankelijk’, which is a concatenation of ‘together’ and ‘pendant’, into something akin to ‘tangled together’ (the Dutch word for entanglement, ‘verstrengeling’ lacks the mutuality and relational aspect, is more a physical description like of a Gordian knot).

I searched samenhankelijk. It turns out that it doesn’t exist. The word is not in the most authoritative Dutch dictionary, Startpage doesn’t have any results, and Google has 5 (but used, wrongly, as the word ‘samenhangend’ which means coherent).

Van Dale dictionary no results Startpage no search results
No results in the dictionary, no results in search.

Now I am blogging this to put the word samenhankelijk out there, and have it indexed by the search algorithms. I also registered the domain name samenhankelijk.nl, just because I can, and will put up a ‘dictionary’ page there, to claim the term’s definition. By default that domain has perfect SEO! Let’s see how soon this blogpost is the first for this Google search 😀

6 reactions on “Samenhankelijk

  1. @ton Mooi punt dat het gaat om meer dan een mexican standoff, waarin de race to the bottom nog steeds ligt omsloten!Wel ringelt het woord bij mij een belletje in de buurt van “symbiose”. Is het hetzelfde of is ook symbiose minder breed dan samenhankelijkheid?

  2. @mplammers Symbiose is al beter. Symbiose is letterlijk samenlevend, waarbij een symbiont vaak geheel niet zonder de ander kan. Dat is _inniger_ dan samenhankelijk zeg ik intuitief, en tegelijker tijd kleiner in omvang: samenhankelijk levert meer op dan de som der delen, een derde ding, een Gestalt. Symbiose zou ik zeggen niet, het is een mensenbuik en een darmflora en dat blijven beiden ook.


  • Frank Meeuwsen

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