First of all: I want to apologize for being so absent lately! School kinda got me like:
Just kidding, guys 😉
Of course my mind was, amidst all homework and tests, still buzzing with all sorts of ideas to post on here.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across this lovely video:
After watching this enthusiastic woman talking about the German language, I started getting a little bit more optimistic about my own language, Dutch.
I’ve always felt like my language is not a particular beautiful language. It sounds kind of rough and harsh.
But, you know, since Dutch and German have a lot of things in common, I started to appreciate the language some more.
Yes, we do say “naked snail” to a slug (naaktslak) and “stink animal” to a skunk (stinkdier) and I’ve seriously never thought of this as a weird thing, until I saw this video.
Since I don’t want to withhold you some other great/weird/peculiar things I’ve discovered about the Dutch language, I’ve made a list of the things we, as Dutch speaking people, do:
We call everything “lekker”
In English, we would probably translate this word with “delicious”, but that’s not the right translation in all cases. Even though we can call a meal “lekker”, we can also use the word in a casual sentence like: “nice weather, isn’t it?” lekker weertje hè? or when we think something is cool or when used in a sarcastic tone, to indicate something is not so cool.
A few examples:
- Slaap lekker
- Je hebt limonade op mijn nieuwe shirt gemorst. Lekker bezig!
You’ve spilled lemonade all over my new shirt. Great job!
We tend to end all our sentences with either “hè” or “hoor”
I actually still have no idea why, but, even when talking in a different language, we tend to use the words “hè” and “hoor” continally.
With those two words, we usually express probability or confirmation.
In some cases, you can compare the word “hè” with the word “right”, both used at the end of a sentence.
- Dat meen je toch niet, hè?
You are not being serious, are you/right?
- Hè bah!
- Hè? Ik snap niet wat je zegt!
Huh? I don’t understand what you’re saying!
An example for the word “hoor” is a bit more difficult to give, but I’ll give it a go:
- Je moet opschieten, hoor!
You really have to hurry!
- Het geeft niet, hoor
It is okay, really
- Dat is niet waar, hoor
Mind you, that’s not true
We see the word “gezellig” as an important adjective
Although I’ve always thought that “gezellig” means exactly the same as the English word “cozy”, I’ve discovered that Dutch people use this word way more frequently than the English.
For example we use it when:
- we are drinking coffee in a café or restaurant and having a good time with each other
- we are having a party
- we are doing some other group-related activity, such as having a barbecue, visiting family, etc.
The thing that makes our use of “gezellig” so different to the use of “cozy” is, I think, the fact that we like to tell other people how gezellig something is all the time. We can literally say “wat gezellig” to other people, without them finding it weird.
We are actually not that original
We have borrowed a lot of words of the French, English and Hebrew languages.
No, we didn’t come up with words such as paraplu, (umbrella, from the French word parapluie) mazzel (luck, from the Hebrew word mazzal) and a lot of other words, such as online, barbecue, paintball, etc.
On the other hand…
We gave the English a few words too…
Did you know that words such as boss (baas), frolic (vrolijk), spook (spook), landscape (landschap) and rucksack (rugzak) are in fact from origin Dutch words?
They made their entrance into the English language when the Dutch founded several small establishments in America.
So, that’s about it when it comes to the peculiarities of the Dutch language I can think of right now.
I hope you enjoyed it!
And if you know any strange things about your mother tongue or maybe even some similiarities with the Dutch language, feel free to leave a comment 😉