Dutch/Lesson 11

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Les 11 ~ Lesson 11

Meer over woordvolgorde ~ More about syntax

De tekening
Interrogatives
Inversion
Indirect clauses and conjunctions
copulas

Voorwoord Les 1 Les 2 Les 3 Les 4 Les 5 Les 6 Les 7 Les 8 Les 9 Les 10 Les 11 Les 12 Les 13 Les 14 Les 15 Les 16 Les 17 Les 18 Les 19 Les 20 Les 21 Les 22
Practice Les 1A Les 2A Les 3A Les 4A Les 5A Les 6A Les 7A Les 8A Les 9A Les 10A Les 11A Les 12A Les 13A Les 14A Les 15A Les 16A Les 17A Les 18A Les 19A Les 20A Les 21A Les 22A
Examples Vb. 1 Vb. 2 Vb. 3 Vb. 4 Vb. 5 Vb. 6 Vb. 7 Vb. 8 Vb. 9 Vb. 10 Vb. 11 Vb. 12 Vb. 13 Vb. 14 Vb. 15 Vb. 16 Vb. 17 Vb. 18 Vb. 19 Vb. 20 Vb. 21 Vb. 22

De tekening[edit]

de
waterput
Juf: Wie is er al klaar?

Her en der gingen er wat vingers omhoog

Juf: Hanneke, wat voor tekening heb jij gemaakt?
Hanneke: Een molen heb ik gemaakt. Kijk maar!
Juf: O ja, ik zie het! Maar wat zie ik daar?
Hanneke: De molenaar is dat!

Juf ziet een stuk papier met wat gekrabbel op de vloer liggen

Juf: Jongens, wat is dat nou?

Ze wijst op het stuk papier

Juf: Wiens tekening is dat? Is die van jou, Martijn?
Martijn: Nee, juf. Hier is de mijne.

Hij houdt zijn tekening omhoog

Martijn: Ik heb een waterput getekend. Die daar op de grond was van Kobie.
Juf: O, Martijn, wat prachtig! Maar Kobie? Hoe komt jouw tekening op de grond?

Kobie kijkt wat bedremmeld en houdt een andere tekening omhoog

Kobie: Eerst wist ik niet welke tekening ik moest maken, maar nu heb ik een koe getekend!
Juf: Maar dan gooi je je andere tekening toch niet zomaar op de grond!
Translation • Lesson 11 • De tekening

Teacher: Who is ready yet? Here and there a few fingers go up Teacher: Hanneke, what kind of drwaing have you made?

Hanneke: A windmill is what I made. Look!

Teacher: Oh, yes, I see! But what am I seeing there?

Hanneke: The miller is that!

Teacher sees a piece of paper with some scratches on it lying on the floor

Teacher: Guys, what on earth is that?

She points at the piece of paper

Teacher: Whose drawing is that? Is that one yours, Martin?
Martin: No, miss. Here is mine.

He holds his drawing up

Martin: I drew a well. That one there on the floor belonged to Coby.
Teacher: O, how beautiful, Martin! But Coby? How did your drawing end up on the ground?

Coby looks a little embarrassed and holds up a different drawing

Coby: At first I did not know which drawing to make, but now I drew a cow!
Teacher: But then you don't throw your other drawing on the floor just like that!


Interrogative pronouns[edit]

The main interrogative pronouns in Dutch are:

Wie? - Who?
Wat? - What?

As in English wie also has possessive form:

Wiens? - Whose?

More properly said this is the form for the masculine and neuter singular. There is also a form wier for the feminine singular and the plural. As this division of labor does not chime well with the disappearance of feminine gender, this form is fast becoming obsolete. Wiens gets used in all cases nowadays, or it gets supplanted by

Van wie is die tekening?

Or even, though, this is frowned upon in official grammar:

Wie z'n tekening is dat?

The latter construction is the official form in Afrikaans, but in Dutch is considered colloquial if not dialect.

The interrogative adjective is:

Welk - which

It is inflected like an adjective, and it has an ending -e in most cases:

De tekening - Welke tekening?
De tekeningen - Welke tekeningen?

But not with a neuter noun:

Het paard - Welk paard?

The pronoun wat cannot be used as adjective, but there is a construction:

Wat voor (een)? - What kind of?

Wat is also used as an indefinite pronoun with the meaning of some

Er gingen wat vingers omhoog
"~There were some fingers that were stuck in the air."
Some fingers went up

Notice that its indefinite character triggers an impersonal construction with er.

There is also an interrogative adverb:

Hoe? - How?
Hoe komt dat op de grond?
How did that land on the floor?
Hoe maakt u het?
How do you do?

Relative pronouns[edit]

Relative pronouns in Dutch are in some case similar to the interrogative ones:

  • Ik weet niet wie er komt - I don't know who is coming.
  • Ik weet niet welke tekening ik moest maken - I don't know which drawing to make.

Other relative pronouns resemble the demonstrative ones:

  • Dat is de tekening die op de grond ligt - That is the drawing that lies on the ground.

For a singular neuter word it becomes dat

  • Dat is het krijt dat op de grond ligt. - That is the crayon that lies on the floor.

In the above example the part het krijt is called the antecedent in both Dutch and English grammar. In Dutch when the antecedent is included into the relative pronoun, the intial d- of dat changes into a w-

Wat op de grond ligt is de tekening - That which lies on the floor, is the drawing.

For persons wie is also used this way:

Wie zijn tekening af heeft, moet het zeggen - Whoever is finished with his drawing should say so.

It is possible to make the antecedent explicit with the demonstrative pronouns datgene and diegene:

Diegene die zijn tekening af heeft ... or in plural: Diegenen die hun tekening
Datgene wat op de vloer ligt

Notice that after datgene it is wat that follows. Wat is also used when the reference points back to an entire phrase

De tekening ligt op de vloer, wat erg vervelend is - The drawing lies on the floor; which is really annoying.

Lastly there are a few antecedents are always followed by wat

het eerste wat - the first thing that
alles wat - everything that
iets wat - something that
veel wat - much that
weinig wat - little that

Admittedly, there is considerable confusion under Dutch speakers about when to use dat and when to use wat. So do not be surprised so see and especially hear deviations from the above official grammar rules. In Afrikaans e.g. the pronoun of choice is wat in all cases and some Dutch speakers are not far from that usage.

In English relative pronouns are often omitted, in Dutch this is not the case:

This is something that I saw yesterday -> Dit is iets wat ik gisteren zag.

As we have seen before the word order in Dutch is peculiar in such sentences: look at the positions of saw and its Dutch cousin zag. Below we will start to deal with this issue.

Word order[edit]

Many English speakers who set out to learn the Dutch language succeed in their effort to a considerable extent. Some of them become quite fluent. They do encounter a few problems. One is that Dutch speakers consider it polite to reply in English when detecting an English accent and it takes some insisting to break through that barrier. Another major stumbling block is the fact that Dutch has retained West-Germanic word order and English has abandoned it in favor of one that resembled that of the French-speaking nobility that ruled the land after 1066. We'll examine a number of aspects.

Inversion[edit]

We have already seen a number of examples of inversion. For example, that of the of verb and subject in questions:

Jij hebt een mooi huis.
Heb je een mooi huis?


Apart from the fact that the final -t is lost for the jij-form of the verb, this is not unfamiliar, as inversion also occurs in some English phrases like:

Hi, how goes it?
What say you?

Although often English resorts to the auxiliary verb to do, where Dutch uses only inversion:

Maar wat zie ik daar?
But what do I see there?

Another example of inversion occurs when the order is changed for the sake of emphasis by putting an item at the beginning of the sentence.

Een mooi huis heb je!
That's a fine house you've got!
Morgen ga ik naar huis.
Tomorrow I'm going home.
Je gooit je andere tekening toch niet zomaar op de grond!
Maar dan gooi je je andere tekening toch niet zomaar op de grond!

Sometimes this is not so much a question of emphasis. It is more a way to stuff a few more items in the same sentence, particularly adverbs or adverbial expressions.

Zonder twijfel gaat hij morgen naar huis.
Undoubtedly he will go home tomorrow.

Notice that the adverb of time (morgen) precedes the indication of place here, because naar huis gaan is felt as a verbal expression and verbs tend to end up at the end of the sentence.

Verbs in final position[edit]

Another feature we have already encountered is that in tenses that use an auxiliary the participle or infinitive is put at the end of the sentence:

Ik heb gezien
Gisteren heb ik vanaf de dijk een aantal kluten gezien
Morgen zal ik nog eens op de dijk gaan kijken.

Notice that in this case the inversion is applied on the auxiliary (heb ik..., zal ik...) and that in compounds with more that one infinitive as gaan kijken (go have a look) they both end up at the end. Whether gaan or kijken goes first varies a little from region to region; one can also hear—particularly in the south:

Morgen zal ik nog eens op de dijk kijken gaan.

Indirect clauses and conjunctions[edit]

In Dutch, word order is used to mark what role a clause plays with respect to the rest of the sentence. The indirect clause has a different order, particularly in the position of the verb.

jij hebt een mooi huis
ik zie dat je een mooi huis hebt

In this case it is the persoonsvorm, i.e. the conjugated part of the verb (that carries the -t ending) that moves to the end of the clause to indicate that it has become the direct object of the main clause ik zie....

This is also true if the persoonsvorm is an auxiliary:

jij bent gisteren met de trein naar huis gegaan
ik betwijfel dat je gisteren met de trein naar huis gegaan bent

Again there is some variation possible:

ik betwijfel dat je gisteren met de trein naar huis bent gegaan.

The same principle applies after a conjunction like omdat (because).

Je hebt gelijk omdat ik met de auto gegaan ben.

And also when interrogatives are used as relative pronouns:

Eerst wist ik niet welke tekening ik moest maken

The order:

Eerst wist ik niet welke tekening ik maken moest

is not wrong, but rather uncommon in this case.

Onderschikkend and nevenschikkend[edit]

Not all conjunctions produce a hierarchical relationship. Conjunctions (voegwoorden) like want (for) of (or) and en (and) maar (but) simply link two equivalent phrases. Compare:

Je hebt ongelijk want ik ben gisteren wel degelijk met de trein naar huis gegaan
Je hebt ongelijk omdat ik gisteren wel degelijk met de trein naar huis gegaan ben

In the case of want (for) the two clauses are on equal footing, in the case of omdat (because) the first part je hebt gelijk (you are right) is the master program and the rest a subroutine initiated with omdat (because).

Conjunctions that produce a subordinate clause are known as onderschikkend, in English, they are known as subordinating conjunctions; the ones that link two phrases in equality are called nevenschikkend, in English, co-ordinating conjunctions.

(Sometimes the onderschikkend kind is called subjunctions rather than conjunctions (see e.g. the German wiktionary), but in English where the distinction is of no consequence for the syntax this is unusual.)

Onderschikkend Nevenschikkend
omdat want
hoewel en
zodat maar
of (if,whether) of (or)
wanneer dus

Most other voegwoorden are onderschikkend

Because the relative role of the clauses is more clearly marked by their word order, it is possible to make longer sentences in Dutch without generating ambiguity. In English compound sentences become confusing and ambivalent more easily. When writing English, a speaker of Dutch needs to fight the tendency to produce convoluted sentences. Conversely Dutch may look somewhat long-winded to an English speaker.

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 11 • Conjunctions

Use the conjunction in brackets to unify into one sentence:

Het is niet mogelijk. Dit is niet op deze manier gebeurd. (omdat)
Het is niet mogelijk. Het is wel op deze manier gebeurd. (hoewel)
Het is heel erg. Het is wel op deze manier gebeurd. (maar)
Jan is met de trein gekomen. Hij is met de auto gekomen. (of)
Jan is met de trein gekomen. Hij blijft hier een paar dagen. (en)
Jan is met de trein gekomen. Hij blijft hier een paar dagen. (zodat)
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 11 • Conjunctions


Het is niet mogelijk omdat dit niet op deze manier gebeurd is
Het is niet mogelijk, hoewel het wel op deze manier gebeurd is.
Het is heel erg, maar het is wel op deze manier gebeurd.
Jan is met de trein gekomen of hij is met de auto gekomen.
Jan is met de trein gekomen en hij blijft hier een paar dagen. (en)
Jan is met de trein gekomen zodat hij hier een paar dagen blijft. (zodat)

Copulas[edit]

As in English the verb zijn (to be) is the most important copula, or koppelwerkwoord lit. coupling verb. As the name indicates these verbs couple a subject to a predicate of subject complement as opposed to having one of more objects.

The complement can be a noun:

Jan is bakker - John is a baker by profession

But is can also be an adjective:

Jan is dik - John is fat.

Some words in Dutch are only used as predicates like beu (sick and tired):

Ik ben het gezeur beu. - I am fed up with the nagging.

The het gezeur part is usually called an oorzakelijk voorwerp in Dutch grammar which translates into causative object. In the past it would have taken a genitive case, but that no longer is the case.

There a number of other verbs that can act as copulas:

worden[edit]

Primitive tenses: worden - werd - geworden.

In English it translates into to become.

Jan wil bakker worden. - John wants to become a baker

lijken[edit]

Primitive tenses: lijken - leek - geleken.

In English it translates into: to seem, to appear

Het leek groter dan het was - It seemed larger than it was.

blijken[edit]

Primitive tenses: blijken - bleek - gebleken.

In English it translates into: to prove to be, to turn out

Het bleek groter dan we dachten - It turned out to be larger than we thought.

blijven[edit]

Primitive tenses: blijven - bleef - gebleven.

In English it translates into: to remain, to stay

De lucht bleef donker - The sky remained dark.

heten[edit]

Primitive tenses: heten - heette - geheten.

In English it translates into: to be called, to be alleged to be

Hij heette Jan. - His name was John.
Het heet goed te zijn voor je gezondheid - Allegedly it is good for your health

dunken[edit]

Primitive tenses: dunken - docht - gedocht.

This is an impersonal verb. In English it is represented in the expression methinks. Its meaning is to give cause to think. It is becoming obsolete in Dutch as wel

Mij docht dit niet verantwoord - It appeared to me not to be responsible.

schijnen[edit]

Primitive tenses: schijnen - scheen - geschenen.

In English it translates into: to be said to be, to be alleged to be

Het schijnt goed te zijn voor je gezondheid - Allegedly it is good for your health