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.