Dutch/Lesson 2

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Les 2 ~ Lesson 2

Onbekenden en vrienden ~ Strangers and Friends

Simple conversations II
Grammar: Introduction to Verbs
Grammar: Adjectives, demonstratives and articles
Syntax: Question and negation

<< Les 1 | Les 2 | Les 3 >>


Gesprek 2-1[edit]

  1. First push the button to simply listen to the following conversation.
  2. Then study the text to find out what the meaning is. If necessary, hover your mouse over a word if you don't know it. Once you think you understand the conversation open the dropdown below to see the full translation.
  3. Finally listen to the conversation again and see how much you understand. First with eyes open to see the text. Then do it with eyes closed.
  4. If there are parts you do not understand when listening, go back to step 2.
Standish: Goedemorgen meneer. Hoe gaat het met u?
Jansen: Goedemorgen. Goed. Hoe heet u?
Standish: Ik heet Standish. Robert Standish. En u? Wat is uw naam?
Jansen: U heet Robert? Wat toevallig! Ik heet ook Robert. Robert Jansen.
Standish: Inderdaad toevallig! Wij heten allebei Robert. Weet u hoe die mevrouw daar heet?
Jansen: Ik geloof dat zij Alice heet.
Standish: Gelooft u dat of bent u zeker ervan?
Jansen: Vrij zeker. Ze heet Alice Koopman.
Translation • Lesson 2 • gesprek 2-1
Standish: Good morning sir. How are you?
Jansen: Goed morning. Fine. What is your name?
Standish: I'm called Standish. Robert Standish. And you? What is your name?
Jansen: Is your name Robert? What a coincidence! My name is Robert as well. Robert Jansen.
Standish: A coincidence indeed! We are both called Robert. Do you know what that lady there is called?
Jansen: I believe that her name is Alice.
Standish: Do you believe that or are you sure of it?
Jansen: Pretty sure. Her name is Alice Koopman.
YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • waar of niet waar

Study the above text and answer the following questions with

Dit is waar - (this is true)
Dit is niet waar - (this is not true)
  1. Meneer Standish heet Charles
  2. Meneer Standish en meneer Jansen heten allebei Robert
  3. Dit is erg toevallig
  4. Meneer Standish ziet een mevrouw staan
  5. Meneer Standish gelooft dat zij Heleen heet.
  6. Standish en Jansen zijn goede vrienden. Zij zeggen jij en jou tegen elkaar.
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • waar of niet waar
  1. Meneer Standish heet Charles - niet waar. Hij heet Robert.
  2. Meneer Standish en meneer Jansen heten allebei Robert - waar
  3. Dit is erg toevallig - waar
  4. Meneer Standish ziet een mevrouw staan - waar
  5. Meneer Standish gelooft dat zij Heleen heet - niet waar.
  6. Standish en Jansen zijn goede vrienden. Zij zeggen jij en jou tegen elkaar - niet waar. Zij zeggen 'u'.

Pronunciation drill 2-1. Hoe heet u?[edit]

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • Your turn to say something

The little sentence "Hoe heet u?" literally means: What are you called? and is usually translated as: What's your name?. It presents some serious pronunciation problems particularly for American speakers, because it contains three unfamiliar sounds. There are two difficult vowels, the [u] of "hoe" and the [y] of "u". They are hard because the American "u" is much less rounded than either and also more or less intermediary between the two in tongue position.

Lips: Both Dutch vowels are strongly rounded, the lips are held as in blowing a kiss.
Tongue: For the [y] the tongue is pushed forward to produced a little cup just behind the teeth, for the [u] it is pulled back to form a cup in the throat area.

In addition the Dutch "h" is a bit different, because it is generally voiced [ɦ]

Listen to the recording and try to reproduce the sounds:


SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • Your turn to say something
If you are French, Turkish or German the two vowels [u]/[y] are a piece of cake, but not the [ɦ].
If you are Hispanic, Italian or Russian the [u] is easy, but not [y] and [ɦ].
If you speak Arabic only the [y] should be a problem.

Depending on your background you may have to revisit this to get your ears, lips and tongue used to it all.

Grammatica 2-1 ~ Introduction to Verbs[edit]

A verb (in Dutch: werkwoord) is that part of speech that describes an action. Verbs come in an almost bewildering array of tenses, moods, voices and aspects, and there are several major types: intransitive, transitive, ditransitive, and ergative verbs.

Fortunately, the Dutch verb is not too different from the English one, although it does have a few more forms.

 I am called Standish                      Ik heet Standish 
 What are you called (named)?              Hoe heet u? 
 ...that she is named (called) 'Alice'     ...dat ze 'Alice' heet
 We are both called Robert                 Wij heten allebei Robert

The Dutch verb heten can best be translated as "to be named" or "to be called" and we see two forms of it here

  1. a singular one: heet used with ik,u,ze
  2. a plural one heten used for wij (as well the other plural persons).

Actually there are usually three forms. This can be seen from:

 I believe                                         Ik geloof
 do you believe?                                   gelooft u?

In the case of heten the extra -t does not get added because the stem already ends in a -t.

In a later lesson we will revisit the verb forms associated with each person.

The irregular verb to be-zijn has a few more forms in both languages.

Gesprek 2-2 ~ De Engelsman[edit]

Meneer Standish, een Engelsman, gaat naar de boekhouding.
  • Meneer Standish: Goedemorgen. Bent u mevrouw Koopman?
  • Mevrouw Nieman: Nee. Zij is het meisje daar. Ik ben mevrouw Nieman. En u? Hoe heet u?
  • Meneer Standish: Ik heet Standish.
  • Mevrouw Nieman: Aangenaam kennis te maken. Bent u Nederlander?
  • Meneer Standish: Nee, ik ben een Engelsman.
  • Mevrouw Nieman: Echt waar? Dat is erg interessant. Kunt u mij verstaan?
  • Meneer Standish: Ja. Als u een beetje langzamer spreekt.
  • Mevrouw Nieman: Goed zo! Mag ik u mijn collega voorstellen, mevrouw Koopman?
  • Meneer Standish: Jazeker!
Translation • Lesson 2 • Gesprek 2-2
Mr. Standish, an Englishman goes to the administration department.
  • Mr. Standish: Good morning. Are you Mrs. Koopman?
  • Mrs. Nieman: No, she is the girl over there. I am Mrs. Nieman. And you? What is your name?
  • Mr. Standish: Standish is my name. (lit.: I'm called Standish)
  • Mrs. Nieman: Glad to meet you. Are you a Dutchman?
  • Mr. Standish: No, I am an Englishman
  • Mrs. Nieman: Really? That is very interesting. Can you understand me?
  • Mr. Standish: Yes, If you speak a bit more slowly.
  • Mrs. Nieman: All right. May I introduce my colleague, Mrs. Koopman.
  • Mr. Standish: Certainly!

Vocabulary drill 2-1[edit]

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • Some common phrases

Here are a few very common expressions.
Listen to this drill, repeat in the pauses and say the Dutch phrase when told to.

SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • Some common phrases
What is your name? - Hoe heet je?
What time is it? - Hoe laat is het?
Good morning - Goedemorgen
Please - Alstublieft
You are welcome - Graag gedaan
Thank you - Dank u wel

Grammatica 2-2 ~ Inversion in questions and negations[edit]

You may have wondered about the order of the words in

ik geloof dat ze Alice heet.

Even though Dutch verbs are not so much more complicated than English ones, word order is. In fact it is quite a bit more complicated than in English. For the moment let's just leave the above sentence for what it is and start with questions.

Questions[edit]

A question sentence in Dutch simply reverses the order of subject and verb.

Recall: U heet meneer Standish ('You are named Mr. Standish).

It became: Hoe heet u? as a question

The normal word order of subject (u or "you") then verb (heten) is reversed and, in this case, an interrogative (hoe or "how") added.

Additional examples:

Hoe gaat het met u? Het gaat goed met u
Bent u mevrouw Koopman? U bent mevrouw Koopman
Bent u Nederlander? U bent Nederlander ("You are Dutch").
Verstaat u mij? U verstaat mij ("You understand me").
Gelooft u? Ik geloof

English does the same thing when using the verb to be:

I am - are you?
ik ben - bent u?

Dutch does not use the auxiliary to do as English requires in most other cases:

ik weet - weet u?
I know - do you know? (instead of "know you?")

Negations[edit]

The negative is formed by simply adding niet at the end:

Ik versta u - I understand you
Ik versta u niet - I do not understand you

Again, Dutch does not use the auxiliary to do. (In fact using it sounds very foreign.)

Even a negative question does not use to do:

Verstaat u mij niet? - Don't you understand me?
YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • questions and negations

Turn the following statements into questions and translate:

  1. U gelooft de man niet
  2. De man ziet een vrouw
  3. U verstaat Nederlands
  4. Het meisje daar is Anne
  5. U hoort beneden mensen
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • questions and negations
  1. Gelooft u de man niet? - Don't you believe the man?
  2. Ziet de man de vrouw? - Does the man see the woman?
  3. Verstaat u Nederlands? - Do you understand Dutch?
  4. Is het meisje daar Anne? - Is the girl there Anne?
  5. Hoort U beneden mensen? - Do you hear people downstairs?

Gesprek 2-3 ~ Het nieuwe meisje[edit]

In this conversation, the parties are close friends.

  • Karel: Heleen, wie is dat nieuwe meisje? Die brunette daar.
  • Heleen: Ik geloof dat ze Karolien heet.
  • Karel: Ze is erg mooi.
  • Heleen: Ze is leuk, als je kleine meisjes met lange zwarte haren leuk vindt.
  • Karel: Ja. Ik ben gek op dat haar. Wat een mooie meid!
  • Heleen: Karel toch!
Translation • Lesson 2 • Gesprek 2-3
  • Charley: Helen, who is that new girl? That brunette there
  • Helen: I believe her name is Caroline
  • Charley: She is very beautiful
  • Helen: She is cute, if you like little girls with long black hair
  • Charley: Yeah, I love that hair. What a beauty!
  • Helen: But Charley! (Shame on you)


Grammatica 2-2 Adjectives, demonstratives and articles[edit]

Gender[edit]

Where English uses the demonstrative pronoun that, Dutch uses either dat or die, recall:

dat nieuwe meisje. Die brunette. - that new girl, that brunette

Similarly, where English uses the article the, Dutch has two possibilities: de or het, recall:

de boekhouding, het meisje. - the administration, the girl

We will revisit this phenomenon (gender) in the next lesson more extensively. There is a bit of a problem with it in Dutch.

For the moment it is enough to realize that there are two kinds of words,

ones that take de and die
ones that take het and dat

Both articles and demonstrative pronouns are a special kind of adjectives: words that are added to make the meaning of another word more precise, like new, small or exciting

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • die en dat

Replace the articles by the correct demonstratives die or dat and translate (might have to guess a bit):

  1. Het huis (house) is van het nieuwe meisje
  2. De huizen zijn erg groot.
  3. De boekhouding is niet in orde
  4. De brunette heeft lang haar.
  5. Ik weet het telefoonnummer niet.
  6. Weet jij wie de vrouw is?
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • die en dat
  1. Dat huis is van dat nieuwe meisje - That house belongs to that new girl
  2. Die huizen zijn erg groot. - Those houses are very big
  3. Die boekhouding is niet in orde - The administration is not in order
  4. Die brunette heeft lang haar. - That brunette has long hair
  5. Ik weet dat telefoonnummer niet. - I do not know that telephone number
  6. Weet jij wie die vrouw is? Do you know who that woman is?

Inflection[edit]

Recall that some adjectives in the dialogue ended in -e (mooie meid), sometimes they did not (is erg mooi).

Adjectives can be used in two ways: in front of a noun and after a verb like is (a copula). In English the adjective remains the same regardless:

The house is red (copula + adjective)
The red car (adjective + noun)

Behind a copula (as predicate) this is true in Dutch as well:

Ik ben gek (I am crazy)
Ze is mooi (She is pretty)
De auto is rood (The car is red)

But in Dutch they are inflected if they occur in front of a noun (as attribute). Compare:

de rode auto - the red car
een rode auto - a red car
de rode auto's - the red cars
rode auto's - red cars

Neuter words are the ones that carry the definite article het and the demonstrative dat. They are a bit different (Again: we will revisit them in the next lesson.)

het rode huis
een rood huis - a red house
de rode huizen
rode huizen

As you see the adjective is not inflected after the indefinite article een.

This also holds if there is no article:

met groot gemak - with great ease (het gemak: neuter)

But:

in hoge nood - in desparate need (de nood)

Thus, apart from the indefinite neuter an attributive adjective is usually inflected with -e.

There are a few exceptions, compare e.g.:

de man - the man
een grote man - a big man
een groot man - a great man
YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • inflection

Put the adjectives in parentheses in the correct form

  1. Dit is een (groot) boekhouding
  2. Deze haren zijn (lang)
  3. Dit (groot) huis is (hoog)
  4. Weet jij wie die (mooi) auto heeft?
  5. Dit is een (klein) meisje
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • inflection
  1. Dit is een grote boekhouding
  2. Deze haren zijn lang
  3. Dit grote huis is hoog
  4. Weet jij wie die mooie auto heeft?
  5. Dit is een klein meisje

Making nouns out of adjectives[edit]

Adjectives can be turned into nouns, by assuming their inflected form:

Dat is een grote
That is a big one
Dat is een kleine
That is a small one
Die lange heeft mijn fiets gestolen
That tall guy has stolen my bike

Notice that Dutch does not use 'one' in such cases.

There are a number of adjectives that can be turned into nouns by adding -te. They all carry de. In English the corresponding suffix is -th:

wijd – wijdte (wide - width)
lang – lengte (long, tall - length)
groot – grootte (big - size)
breed – breedte (broad - breadth)
eng – engte (narrow - narrowness)
zwaar – zwaarte (heavy - heaviness)
heet – hitte (hot - heat)
warm – warmte (warm - warmth)
zwak – zwakte (weak - weakness)
sterk – sterkte (strong - strength)
droog – droogte (dry - drought)
hoog – hoogte (high - height)
menig – menigte (many - crowd)
duur – duurte (expensive - dearth)
gewoon – gewoonte (usual - habit)

More about nouns in the next lesson.

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • adjectives,word order

Translate into Dutch:

  1. She has red hair
  2. How is she doing?
  3. She has a small black car
  4. The length is not very great
  5. How tall is she?
  6. The red houses are nice
  7. Don't you believe that?
  8. The heat is very great
  9. Do you know who that heavy man is?
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • adjectives,word order
  1. She has red hair
    Zij heeft rood haar
  2. How is she doing?
    Hoe gaat het met haar?
  3. She has a small black car
    Ze heeft een kleine zwarte auto
  4. The length is not very great
    De lengte is niet erg groot
  5. How tall is she?
    Hoe lang is ze?
  6. The red houses are nice
    De rode huizen zijn mooi
  7. Don't you believe that?
    Geloof je dat niet?
  8. The heat is very great
    De hitte is erg groot
  9. Do you know who that heavy man is?
    Weet jij wie die zware man is?

Woordenlijst 2[edit]

Dutch word audio file English translation
de brunette brunette
de Engelsman Englishman
het haar, de haren About this sound haar hair(s)
het meisje, de meisjes About this sound meisje girl, girls
de collega About this sound collega colleague
Mag ik...voorstellen? About this sound mag ik voorstellen? May I introduce...?
Jazeker About this sound jazeker yes, indeed
Aangenaam
kennis te maken
About this sound aangenaam
About this sound kennismaken
Pleased to meet you
Goed zo! About this sound goedzo That's nice!
gek zijn (op) About this sound gek
About this sound zijn
to be crazy (about)
verstaan About this sound verstaan to understand
verstaat u? do you understand?
geloven About this sound geloven to believe
ik geloof I believe
heten About this sound heten to name, call (a name)
ze heet she is called
praten About this sound praten to speak, to talk
u praat you speak
voorstellen About this sound voorstellen to introduce
leuk vinden About this sound leuk
About this sound vinden
to like
als je ... leuk vindt if you like ...
Nederlands About this sound Nederlands Dutch
het (neuter) About this sound het the
de (m/f) About this sound de the
dat (neuter) About this sound dat that
die (m/f) About this sound die that
daar About this sound daar there
daarginds About this sound daarginds over there
daarachter About this sound daarachter over there
een About this sound een a, an
een beetje About this sound beetje somewhat, a bit
haar About this sound haar her
interessant About this sound interessant interesting
leuk About this sound leuk cute
kort, korte About this sound kort short
lang, lange About this sound lang long
langzaam About this sound langzaam slow
langzamer About this sound langzamer slower
mijn About this sound mijn my
mij About this sound mij me
mooi About this sound mooi beautiful
naar About this sound naar to
nieuw, nieuwe About this sound nieuw new
zwart, zwarte About this sound zwart black
zij About this sound zij she
u About this sound u you
als About this sound als if
wie? About this sound wie who?


YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 2 • Additional vocabulary

Go to the Dutch/Vocabulary/Animals to learn the most important animals in the Dutch language. Once you know them all, do the self test to make sure you really do know them.

SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 2 • Additional vocabulary




Pronunciation Guide >>