25 ways to help you talk like the Dutch
Do you replace 'thanks' with 'hoor'? If you're learning Dutch, these 25 fun tips can help you sound more like a Dutch local.
- Remove words such as 'delicious', 'lovely', 'wonderful' and other positive adjectives from your vocabulary. From now on, everything will be lekker or gezellig.
- Don’t say 'please' and 'thank you'.
- Instead, add hoor to anything you’re saying. No, it’s not what you think. It’s just a filler word the Dutch use instead of 'please' and 'thank you'.
- Pronounce the 'G' properly — it needs to sound as if you’re gargling. If your throat hurts, you’re doing it right.
- Learn to say Scheveningen, school, and Schiphol properly (no, the latter is not pronounced ship-hall)
Practise the proper pronunciation of ui. It means 'onion' but you’ll find that this is a very useful sound as you have to say it in huis, muis and bruid.
In case you didn’t know, 'a' is pronounced almost like 'o'. It’s Amonda, not Amanda.
- For your information, 'u' is pronounced like the German ü.
- Add the suffix –je (ye) to any noun in order to form diminutives, especially if referring to something small or cute. From now on, it will be girlje, coffeeje and houseje. You’re welcomeje.
- If you need to swear, use diseases to do it. Cancer, cholera and the pest are all appropriate illnesses to swear with. Please use them.
- It’s tomaato, potaato and normaal, not tomato, potato and normal. These a’s are lonely and they need company.
- Use words from German but give them different meanings.
- Luckily for you, you can always say 'yes' when agreeing with someone.
- Borrow some words from French. Your gift is really a cadeau (or kado).
- Whatever you say, make sure you’re as painfully direct and honest as possible.
- Verb anything. So it’s I volleyball, you volleyball, he/she volleyballs, we volleyball, you volleyball, they volleyball. Simple.
- Make a distinction between your nuclear family and your extended family. The former one is called gezin. The latter one is called familie.
- Be aware of the many meanings of the word dus – 'so'.
- Make a distinction between the polite form (u) and the informal form (je or jij).
- Always remember: Orange the fruit is sinaasappel. Orange the color is oranje.
- Make shorter words into one longer word: It’s chocolatechipcookies, not chocolate chip cookies. Feel free to add as many words as necessary. The longer the word, the funnier the fun.
- Kip and fiets are easier to pronounce than chicken and bicycle. Also, magnetron sounds way fancier than microwave oven.
- Roll your R’s but not quite.
- Don’t say I love you. Say Ik hou van jou – I hold on to you.
- Try not to sound like a Flemish-speaking person.
Gefeliciteerd dus. Now, you can lekker talk like a Dutch person. How gezellig!
Olga Mecking is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband and three trilingual children. She is a translator, blogger and writer. The European Mama is a blog about her life abroad, raising children and travelling.When not blogging or thinking about blogging, she can be found reading books, drinking tea or cooking. You can join her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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