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Roosje
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PostSubject: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 14:55

Hello everyone!

I'm a native speaker of Dutch, so if there's anyone who wants to learn some Dutch (in case you're going to Amsterdam or something) let me know on this topic. Just to get you started, here's some basic knowledge on The Netherlands:

The country, contrary to what many might think, is NOT called Holland. It's official name is The Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, except for in legal documents the country is always called The Netherlands (do not forget that the article is part of the name and that the name is indeed in plural in English). Unlike in English, we refer to our own country not by a plural, but by a singular word, namely "Nederland" (pronounced something like nayderlahnd, with the last vowel something like the word "ah" as in "Ahhh, that is pretty", but then with a shorter vowel). "Holland" is but part of the country. It is a region, not a nation. It consists of two provinces, namely North Holland and South Holland (Noord-Holland en Zuid-Holland) and people who are not from those provinces can be a bit offended when you refer to the country as a whole by using "Holland", so be careful whith that word! Though on the whole no-one will be really offended if you ask them whether they are from Holland, but expect to be corrected and try to steer away from using the word "Holland" in other cases. (I can always honestly answer that I'm from Holland, because I was born in North-Holland and still live there).
North-Holland and South-Holland are both situated in the West of the country, which is the economic center of the country. The country's capital is Amsterdam (pronounced Ahmsterdahm), not The Hague as some foreigners might think. It is an understandable mistake though, because when it comes to our political center, we are little different than most other countries. Most countries' governments are based in the countries capital. Not so for the Netherlands. Once again, the capital is Amsterdam. The country's governmet however is based in The Hague. Amsterdam lies in North-Holland and The Hague in South-Holland.
The country, as mentioned is a Kingdom, though at the moment the head of state is a woman, so we have a queen. Queen Beatrix she is called. She is on every Dutch Euro-coin. (I can hear some of you, those who are not from a Euro-country, thinking: but aren't all Euro-coins the same? NO. The front of every Euro-coin is identical, but the back has been designed by each countru individually. They are all interchangeable though and there are in fact currently more German coins in the Netherlands than Dutch coins! All paper money is the same though front and back.)
The Kingdom consists of not only of that little country by the sea, but also of the tropical (yes, tropical!!!) islands Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. These are still officially colonies of The Netherlands, though they are fairly independent.
The language is a Germanic language, unlike French, but like German and English. It is known as a difficult language (though I wouldn't know of course), because some of its aberrant sounds and because of its intricate word order rules. It will be hard to transcribe the sound without using phonetic symbols but I will try as best I can.
Today is a very important day in the country, because today we celebrate a traditional Dutch holiday, which is called Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas is the common name for Saint Nicolaas (Dutch: Sint Nicolaas), who by no means is the same person as Santa Claus (do not make that mistake, it is offending to more people than the Holland-mistake!). The tale goes that the 5th of December (or the 6th for some people) was his birthday and that each year on his birthday he brings all the children in country presents. Well, that is, those who have been good. Those who have not may be punished or even kidnapped to go with him back to Spain (where it is believed by children that he lives). He has a whole bunch of helpers in order to deliver all the presents and these are called "zwarte pieten"(black Peets/Peters), They are nothing like elves by the way. They are dark skinned normal-sized human beings. Children often believe that they're skin is so dark due to the soot from the chimneys that they clime through in order to get the present into all the houses. Sinterklaas does not have a flying sledge or any of that non-sense. He just have very handy helpers who can climb roofs and all that stuff. He also has a white horse (no reindeer or anything that exotic), which is called Amerigo. He is believed to live forever and to be all-knowing. It is traditional for him to arrive in the country by steamboat, where he is welcomed in a different city each year (the official television-Sinterklaas that is). An event which is televised each year.
So, I will end my first lesson here. I hope someone likes to read. And if anyone's up for it, many more will follow soon. Post any of your questions and I will try to answer as soons as possible.
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mba83
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 15:34

Thank you Roosje for introdusing your country Smile I always like listening or reading about different country for people who are living there. It' s more interesting how you writting than useing the turist book when can find only the most popular historic monument Smile

I really enjoy reading your post Smile :Merci2:
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Roosje
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 15:45

Thank you! I'll keep writing then. Do tell what kind of things you'd like to learn. There's so much to tell you see... Very Happy
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Roosje
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 15:50

Maybe people would like to know why it's called "Nederland/The Netherlands". Or something about Dutch history, or maybe they would just like to learn words that they can use when they visit the country.
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emessse
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 18:49

thanks for the informations......i would like to visit Amsterdam one day ange
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Adelina
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 19:28

Thanks Roosje for the information!
I would like to visit your country someday.
I know something about dutch music (pop specially) Razz and more about football.
Big fan of Ajax Amsterdam and national team :greensmilewink
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Eva
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   05.12.08 20:12

Thanks for opening this thread.....Dank je wel Roosje Razz !!I would love to learn some more dutch!!Simply love languages in general!!I enjoyed reading about the Netherlands,too and read some things I didn't knew of till now :greensmilewink !!
Someday I have to visit the Netherlands lol! !!I have a friend there,so that would be a occasion to go:P!!
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Roosje
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   07.12.08 21:48

You're absolutely welcome! I did it with love!

Okay, well I have thought of some more things you guys should know about my country (or at least I think you should know them!).

Like I said before, The Netherlands are a little different than other countries in some respect. Of course there are our liberal policies on a number of subjects. We will come to talk about soft drugs later, but there is first another thing that is important to know. We Dutch, have a special affection for the colour orange. In fact, even for the word (oranje, awrahnje with the last "e" pronouced as in "the"). That is because it is our national colour. Most countries' national colours stem from the colours of their flag, and though we do at important football matches paint our cheeks with little red-white-blue flags, the colour orange is far more important for our feeling of national identity. Our love for orange has a connection with the royal family. Their last name being "of Orange-Nassau". This is the reason why Dutch flags are often accompanied by an orange pennon/streamer. Because of this we often dress up in orange clothing/hats/boots (whatever is available) at important events, for example during football matches or on Queen's Day (a very important national holiday) or Liberation Day. This is the reason that Dutch football fans collectively are referrend to as the "Oranje legioen" (Orange Legion) and are famous all over the world (or so I'm told). They are known as fun-loving, party-loving football fans in general, loud and ridiculous, but friendly and able to party anywhere. (There are football hooligans, though, that create enormous riots sometimes, but this usually happens between Dutch clubs, esp. Ajax and Feyenoord, due to a natural tension between residents of Amsterdam (Ajax) and Rotterdam (Feyenoord)).
Queen's day (Koninginnedag) which I mentioned before, is a very important national holiday (30 April) and so is Liberation Day (May 5), so if you ever go to Amsterdam, do it during that period! On Queen's day we celebrate the queen's birhtday even though it is actually on another day. Before Queen Beatrix, her mother Juliana was head-of-state and somehow the tradition arose to celebrate her birthday each year. When Beatrix became queen the tradition continued on the same day because it was just too much hassle to change the date (Beatrix agreed) and we now celebrate in her name on the same day.
On Liberation Day we celebrate our liberation from by the Allied Forces which officially ended WWII for us back in 1940.
On both days there are many street parties, there is a giant outdoor flee-market, with many kids selling their stuff for bargain prices, organised streetgames (try "koekhappen", where you have to bite a brown kind of cake off of a string without using your hands!) and then there are the big organised outdoor festivals (you better hope for good whether, though of course there is lots of inside fun as well as many bars and clubs organise special parties and events as well and even if they don't, bars and clubs are very full on those days....be ready to party!). Go, for example, to Museumplein on Liberation Day (Bevrijdingsdag) and join in on the enormous party organised by radio channel 538. Often many important Dutch artists perform and even some international ones (though these often seem a bit baffled as to the reason of this party), so it might be interesting for you to go there, Kumiko! (You might want to bring earplugs in case you have sensitive ears, I'm not kidding!).

Some other things you need to know are the following. There are unfortunately apparently still people out there (I've met a few on holiday) that think we are part of Germany, which we are definitely not. But I guess most of you already know this (I'm hoping anyway). (We have, however, for a long time been a province of Spain (can you imagine it?), but that was before the country was actually formed way back in the fifteenth century. On the whole though, we love our Eastern neighbours (especially your cuisine and your puntlichkeit!), I just want to stress that we are another country with our own national identity and culture.
Oh yeah, about the national identity thing. Don't be fooled into thinking we do not have any national pride. We may pretend we don't, but that's actually part of our national identity. So when you hear Dutch people saying negative things about their country, don't join in (some people think they have to, because they think that they are blending in when they do), but instead be positive about our country and we'll love you for it! In fact, we really do love our own little country and we do not appreciate hearing negative things about it from foreigners - as does no-one of course. It's kinda like when your complaining about your parents and all of a sudden the other person starts to say negative things about them as well and you feel annoyed and irritated even though you yourself were also negative about them. Like with parents, only you yourself are allowed to be negative about it.
Anyway, though we are a very small country (about a tenth the size of Texas) we definitely do have a national identity. By the way, even though we are a small country, there are 17 million people living in it! After Japan, it is the most densely populated country in the world. Houses therefore are very, very expensive.
We have over time developed interesting ways of dealing with this, the most spectacular being our mastering of the creation of land where there used to be water. Many lakes have been emtiep of their water to create land (as early as the sixteenth century) over the centuries. Flevoland (one of the countries' 12 provinces) is actually entirely man-made and was created during the 1980s. Before that, it just didn't exist...there was only water there. Then there are the Delta-works of course, feats of ingenious engineering that protect us in many ways from the water. Some can open and close depending the weather conditions, which can be a spectacular sight of your there to witness it. For example in the port of Rotterdam (the biggest port in Europe, maybe even the world) there are two huge curved steel arms that swing from the land into the water and close of the mouth of the river. All this was constructed after 1953 when our country was hit by a giant flood, called the "watersnoodramp". A combination of a severe storm and springtide caused the dikes to collapse in the south of South Holland and in Zeeland and thousands of people and thousands more lost everything they had. So that is why we built the Delta-works. Oh yeah, and there is also the "afsluitdijk" (closure dike) which was already built in the late 1920s and which spans about 30 kilometers. This dike closed of a certain part of the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea) and made it a lake, now called the IJsselmeer (IJssel lake, named after the river which flows into it). The other Northern part which was still connected to the other oceans is now called the Waddenzee (sand flat sea).

Okay, I think I have told you enough about my country for now. Let's get to its language.

Dutch has some vowel sounds that only occur in Dutch, like ij/ei (same vowel, different spelling) and ui.
There is also the vowel "u", which is pronounced like the French vowel in "tu", not as the English vowel, in open syllables. I will transcribe it as "u". It is pronounced as the vowel "Errr" when in a closed syllable. There is a spelling for the sound "oo" as in English, and it is "oe".
The "e" at the end of a word does always not signal a long vowel. Sometimes it is a long vowel and then I will transcribe it as "ay". When it is not I will transcribe it as "e". Then it is much like the English vowel in the second syllable "reason".
There are some more pairs of letters that create vowel sounds "au" and "ou" are like the English "ou" as in "ouch". "Eu" is a bit like the Danish ö, but then longer.
Most Dutch consonants are pronounced more or less the same as the English ones. There are some differences, but you'll need to know about the IPA for that, so that is maybe a bit too advanced for now.
There is one important helpful rule in pronouncing consonants. There are a number of consonants that change their pronunciation when at the end of a word. The "d", for example is simply pronounced as a "d" when surrounded by vowels, but pronounced as a "t" at the end of a word (or in case of composite nouns, which we spell as one word, at the end of the first part of the word). A "v" becomes an "f", a "b" becomes a "p". These are known as fortis-lenis pairs, for the the linguists amongst us. At the end of a word a lenis consonant becomes a fortis one.
There is one consonant that is very troublesome for most learners of the language, and this is "g". It is not pronounced as in English, unless in English loan-words. Its sound is rather unique and difficult to describe, but it is a bit like the German consonant in "ich", but then harder and lower in the mouth. Maybe also a bit like the first consonant in the Hebrew name "Chaim". This is probably the most conspicuous sound in the language to foreigners who think every other word has a "g" in it, but really that is not so. In fact, research has shown that the one sound that is the most foreign to you is the one you focus on the most and so you think you hear it all the time when others speak in that foreign language, when in fact it is far less frequent than you think. I'll transcribe it as "ch", because I think that's clearest.

Here are the Dutch pronouns (you should be able to pronounce them now with the info above):

Ik = I
jij = you
hij= he
zij = she
u = you, polite form
wij = we
jullie = you, plural
zij = they

Here are some helpful words and sentences to start you off (I have tried to transcribe it between parentheses):

Hallo = Hello (hahlo)
hoi = hi (hoy)
hai (hahj) = hi (we also just use the English "hi")
Goedendag = goodday (choodedach/choojedach) (The second pronunciation is more familiar)
goedemiddag = good afternoon (choodemiddach/choojemiddach)
goedemorgen = good morning (choodemorche/choojemorche)
goedenavond = good evening (choodenahvont)
Ik ben [name] = I am [name] (Pronounced as written even for English people)
Ik heet [name] = my name is (Ik hayt)
Ik ben [age] (jaar oud) = I'm [number of your age] (years old).
Ik kom uit [country name] = I come from [country name].
(Can't transcribe the pronunciation. The first two words are just as in English. The "ui" is a vowel only Dutch has, so can't transcribe it, the "t" is just a "t". Whenever I run into such vowel I'll just write "ui" or something with the vowel underlined, so you know there is no English equivalent)
Hoe kom ik bij ... = How do I get to (Hoo kom ik bij)
het station = the train station (het stasjon).
het centrum = the city centre (het sentruhm., with the "u" pronounced bit like when you're lost for words and you go "Errr" (with, as in British English, the "r'' not being pronounced).)
Waar is .... = Where is (The a here has continental value and is a long vowel (which is why it is dubbled), it is like the Italian or French "a". I will transcribe it as a. so Italics means the vowel has a continental (aka Italian) value, easy to remember, right? So, the pronunciation is: Waar is?)
Aangenaam kennis te maken = Nice to meet you (anchnam kennis te maken)
Laten we = Let's (Laten we)
I love you (for that all-important holiday crush) = ik hou van je (ik hou vahn je)
het museum = the museum (het musayuhm)
The red light district ('cause you're bound to go there anyway) = de wallen (de wahlen)
restaurant = restaurant (restourahnt)
bar = bar (bahr)
café = café (cahfay)
club = club (cluhb)
ober = waiter (ober)
proost = cheers, chin chin (proast)
bier = beer (beer, with the vowel as in "see")
wijn = wine (wijn)
de bioscoop = the cinema (de beejoscope)
trein = train (trijn)
tram = tram (trem)
bus = bus (buhs)
boot = boat (boat (pretty close anyway))
VVV = tourist information (Vayvayvay)
perron = (train) platform (perron)
straat = street (strat)
plein = square (plijn)
laan = lange (lan)
vakantie = holiday (vakahntsee)
molen = windmill (moalen)
man = man (mahn)
vrouw = women (frou)
dag = day (dahCh)
week = weak (wayk)
maand = month (mand)
jaar = year
uur = hour (ur)
minuut = minute (meenut)
seconde = second (sekonde)


Okay, next lesson will be: figure skating words! I'll start compiling the list!


Last edited by Roosje on 28.02.10 13:54; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Just updated and checked the figures and facts and corrected the spelling mistakes)
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Roosje
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   28.02.10 14:01

Okay, so I never compiled that list...anyone still interested...?
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Nona
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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   25.03.10 16:23

Wow Roosje! I just recognized this topic.
Maybe we should have translated the song from Lange Frans en Baas B! Het land van....
They describe Holland in one song of 3 minutes LOL

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PostSubject: Re: lessons in Dutch language and culture   17.01.11 21:29

c'est surtout pour les belges le néerlandais 'flamande" : Cours de néerlandais

Lesson 1 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e9rQIf0udo

I love this, but you need to understand a bit of french to get what they're talking about...

Lesson 2 :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7sIpVMY7pU
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