Sunday, April 22, 2012

dutch day 3

Our teacher explains today that Dutch is much fonder than German of Verbalisierung.  (Our teacher switched happily back and forth between German and Dutch, which was naturally also good for my German.)  So the following are verbs:  tennissen, voetballen, sporten, fitnessen, computeren.  You can say: ik heb getennist.

Ga ik beter tennissen als ik met het racket van Kim Clijsters speel?  (more here)

Our teacher explains something else that's very nice.  Just as in English it's common to say, for example, 'You can say...' rather than 'One can say...', so in Dutch the second person singular, 'je', is used rather than 'man' (though the latter is also correct).  There's one difference.  In English, of course, we no longer distinguish formal and informal second person singular; Dutch still has a formal form (u).  To the Dutch ear, it's obvious that 'je' used in the context of generalisations is not actually the informal second person: you can use it while addressing someone as meneer or mevrouw (formal).  You would still use 'u' in sentences where the pronoun genuinely referred to the addressee.  I was charmed.

So perhaps I should do an apartment swap and live in Amsterdam, where these and other features of grammar are in daily use. 


Simon said...

Thank for sharing.
Second Hand Vans

David B. said...

Nice to see someone showing an interest in Dutch! Usually people tend to think there's nothing in between English and German.
One comment: the Dutch word for 'one' (as in "one can say...") is 'men', not 'man' (that's the German equivalent). 'Men' stems from an unstressed 'man' and was originally pronounced with schwa, but nowadays it sounds like English 'men'. Same thing as the German man (from Mann), and comparable to French on (from Latin homo).
PS: some other things you wrote about Dutch (in another post) inspired me to write a post of my own at my blog. It can be read here: . Hope you don't mind!