Dutch/Lesson 1

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Main page Introduction Pronunciation Vocabulary Index News

Beginner level: cycle 1

Les 1 ~ Lesson 1

Eenvoudige Gesprekken ~ Simple Conversations

Simple conversations
Grammar: Pronouns: I, me etc.
Polite and clitic forms
Please use Firefox or Chrome. Internet Explorer will not give you the buttons to play the audio files

Grammatica 1-1 ~ Grammar versus what children do[edit]

Why grammar?[edit]

de
tandenborstel

Children learn their mother tongue without knowing the parts of speech such as verbs, nouns and phrases. However these are helpful for anyone attempting to learn a second language from a book or a website. Of course the children have it right: the best way to learn a language is to listen to a mother tongue speaker and simply repeat. Then just use the word in a similar situation and see how people react. Children are masters at acquiring language this way and are generally smiled at when they use a word incorrectly. Being an adult, people are often not so forgiving to you and you feel foolish when people laugh and point out to you that you just said "toothbrush" while you meant "toothpick". Besides, native speakers may not always be available to you. Or if they are they are not eager to spend time playing 'child' with you. This book will try to compensate this by addition of audio files and visual information, -as the figure to the right- but that is still only a cumbersome substitute. We do recommend that you use them as much as you can. Firefox seems to give easier access to them than other browsers. So, please go ahead, push that arrow and learn to say 'toothbrush' properly. Your first Dutch word? Congrats.

Although clearly children are superior in language acquisition, grown ups do have an advantage: they can analyze language better in terms of its grammar. This course therefore uses both approaches: it will deal with grammar, but it will also ask you to be a child and listen and repeat or look at some pictures while playing a sound clip. Don't be afraid to be a bit childish! It serves a purpose.

One important observation about children should be mentioned: they always learn language in a certain context.

Is it all just grammar here then?[edit]

No! There is much more. Audio files are inserted into the main lessons as much as possible, even though they aim at gradually introducing grammar and syntax. The parallel series of practice lessons (1A, 2A etc.) provide additional practice, vocabulary building, sound material and quizzes. The example pages (Vb. 1 etc.) follow the contextual path of learning like children do and involve nursery rhymes, poems, stories, songs and the like. More of the latter two series is still being added as of May 2015. And there are audio-visual vocabulary pages to help you learn more words.

What is the best way?[edit]

So, what is the best way to learn a language? The best way is to do something everyday. What exactly you do is less important than that you do it. Children are champions in language acquisition and they never worry about what they do. Oh, and what you do, may very well be doing that same exercise again. Children love doing things "again". Ever watched the Teletubbies? Repeating is an important key to language acquisition. Being "efficient" and saying: "oh, I have done that before, let me skip that!" is a bad adult habit that children would never stoop to, until they get really bored with something. (Which is when they already know it). So, push that button below the toothbrush again! And tomorrow come back here and do the same.

Other assets[edit]

Another thing to exploit is the other languages you already know. English speakers will find many strong parallels between their language and Dutch. German speakers even more so, but there are also differences. Where possible we will try to point out the similarities and the differences and exploit them.

However, as noted in the introduction, Dutch grammar is more complex than English grammar, and identifying the meaning of words in a Dutch sentence is difficult without understanding the clues to word function that come from the grammatical rules. The basic lessons of this textbook are set up to first introduce the parts of speech, and then bring in the rules that govern these. Pay particular attention to sentence word order as you progress through the lessons.

Some tricks this course uses[edit]

Hovering[edit]

Some words will be underlined. Try to hover your mouse over such words.

Topics and vocabulary[edit]

There are pages to help you build vocabulary in a visual / auditive way.

Audio files[edit]

Whenever you see one of the following:

Or:

Please click and listen! (If you do not see any buttons now: try a different browser. Firefox and Chrome seem to work. Explorer does not.)
After listening, pronounce the word the best you can and then click again. Keep doing that till you are satisfied with your own result. It is useful to then leave it be for, say 20 minutes and do it again. Then perhaps once more the next day.

Vocabulary / Pronunciation boxes[edit]

For many texts there is a box on the right that you can open to look at the vocabulary being trained and listen to the pronunciations. Click it to open it and start listening and reading.

Using other sites[edit]

Wiktionary[edit]

Throughout the texts and in the vocabulary lists there are blue links that take you to the Dutch version of our sister project Wiktionary. It is called WikiWoordenboek. Of course the layout is in Dutch and you may not immediately understand everything, but that is not a disaster. If you want to learn a language you also should learn to be a bit of a detective: you often need to get the gist of something with a few pieces of the puzzle missing. Don't let that scare you off! Here are a few useful topics used on WikiWoordenbook:

  1. There usually is an English translation of a word under the heading Vertalingen, marked Engels
  2. There is also a geluidsopname (sound recording) or a phonetic description under Uitspraak.
  3. There are tables, usually to the right giving the various forms of the word, say, the plural or the past tense.
  4. There are usually example sentences putting the word in context
  5. There are usually antonyms, synonyms, derivatives or related terms

If you are really lost use the interwiki link to the English version (or any other language you know) as back up, but don't give in to it too easily! Use to to figure out what you did not quite get on the Dutch version.

We encourage you to use the links to expand your vocabulary. First guess what a word means, then click!

Just try it on the verb slapen; look at the box with three forms on the right. What is the past tense? (It is the middle one in the box)

Quizlet and Memrise[edit]

There are plenty other sites that allow you to expand your growing knowledge of Dutch. They all have their pros and cons. For example Memrise] and Quizlet have an interesting way to boost vocabulary, but teach zero syntax or grammar and usually little other context. But if you want a vocabulary boost it's great and we are in the process of creating practice sets dedicated to the material of the lessons here. Some already have a quizlet link on the bottom of the page. It is therefore recommended to register for Quizlet. (It is for free).

YouTube[edit]

YouTube has a plethora of videos, that we will even send you to at times. Again: good for listening, vocabulary building, often less so on grammar and syntax, but plenty of other context.

But do come back: the context[edit]

There is a pertinent Dutch proverb: Verandering van spijs doet eten - Change of food makes you eat. Children also vary what they play with. Variety of learning is healthy. Besides children never learn a word outside context. When they learn a new word, it always goes together with the context of:

  1. the words around it (semantic context),
  2. the way they interrelate (the grammatical context),
  3. the order in which they are used (the syntactic context),
  4. whether convey anger, sweetness, seriousness (the emotional context),
  5. in what kind situations it is used: a school squabble, a church service (social context),
  6. in which time period they are/were used (temporal context),
  7. by what kind of people: punks, managers, construction workers, kings, pimps, doctors (register context).

One aim of this book is to provide as much of that context as possible. This is why conversations, stories, texts, poems and songs are important: they give context to the words you are learning.

So, enough talk! Let's get started. And we'll start in the context of a simple conversation

Gesprek 1-1 ~ Vrienden: Jan en Karel[edit]

We will put such text material in a colored box. What you are supposed to do with such material is the following.

  1. First click on the arrow button to listen to the story and try to read along.
  2. Then use the hover method to see an instant translation of a certain word and try to piece together the meaning of the story.
  3. Then use the Vocabulary box on the right to concentrate on single words an start memorizing.
  4. Once you have an idea of the gist of the story you can open up the drop down box and read the translation to see if you were right.
  5. Then click the arrow again and see if you understand what is being said, first while reading along, then with your eyes closed.

When learning a new language it is very important to be able to deduce meaning from limited information, because you will often not know all the words used. Picking up their meaning from context is an important skill. This is why the hovering is important.

You may notice that Dutch sometimes strings words together a bit differently than English. Dutch word order is quite different and a difficult aspect of the language, but we will revisit that many times. So don't worry about it for the moment, just observe.

Vrienden
Jan komt Karel op straat tegen. Ze zijn vrienden.
Jan: Hoi, Karel! Hoe gaat het met je?
Karel: Hoi! Dank je, met mij gaat het goed. En met jou?
Jan: Dank je, met mij gaat het ook goed. Tot ziens.
Karel: Tot ziens, Jan!
Vrienden
Translation • Lesson 1 • Gesprek 1-1
Friends
John runs into Charles in the street. They are friends.
John: Hello Charles. How are you?
Charles: Hi, thank you, I'm fine. And you?
John: Thank you, I'm doing fine as well. Goodbye.
Charles: Goodbye John!


Pronunciation[edit]

Dutch pronunciation varies with region and speaker, and you may have been shocked at some of the sounds of the language. You can visit Dutch/Alfabet if that is the case. Dutch spelling is not really phonetic, but pretty systematic (much more so than English) and once you learn the system you should be able to pronounce an unknown word on sight pretty well.

It is not easy to render the sounds in writing, but the following rendition in IPA gives a reasonable idea. Try running the sound file again while reading the IPA version.

'vrin.də(n)
'jɑn.kɔmt.'ka.rəl.ɔp.'stra.'te.ɣə(n) zə.zɛɪn.vrin.də(n)
ɦɔj,'ka.rəl.ɦu.'ɣat.ət.'mɛ.cə
ɦɔj,dɑŋ.kjə,mɛt.'mɛɪ.'ɣat.ət.xut.ʔɛn.'mɛ.'cɑʊ
dɑŋ.kjə,mɛt.mɛɪ.'ɣat.ət.'ok.xut. tɔ.'tsins
tɔ.'tsins.jɑn
Notice sounds like [ɣ] and [x]? And how t+j run together into [c]? And how about [ɦ]? Or the vowel [u]?
Notice also that vowels often occur in two varieties: a/ɑ, e/ɛ, o/ɔ. They are often called 'long' and 'short', but those names are misleading: they are really different sounding vowels.[1] The length difference is rather secondary, if there is any.

If you prefer other renditions than IPA try this page

Grammatica 1-2 ~ Forms[edit]

We will use the material in the colored boxes to point at grammatical phenomena and introduce the grammar that way, step by step.

Clitic forms[edit]

jou
je

Did you notice the difference between "Hoe gaat het met je"? and "En met jou?" in the conversation? Both translate literally into with you, but there is a difference in emphasis. Jou carries emphasis, je does not. In Dutch, there are often two forms of the same pronoun: a strong one and a weak ('clitic'[2]) one. This is particularly true in spoken, colloquial Dutch. In the written language the clitic ones are not always shown as such.

  • The full forms have full vowels or diphthongs (like in jou) and can either carry stress or not.
  • The clitic forms cannot have emphasis and the vowel in a clitic is often reduced to a neutral 'schwa' [ə] (like in je') or omitted entirely.

In colloquial English the same thing can be heard at times: seeya! instead of see you!. In Dutch the use of clitics is very common; it already was in the Middle Dutch period before 1500.

For now remember: never stress a clitic

Polite forms[edit]

The above conversation was between two good friends. It utilizes the familiar form of the personal pronoun (je, jou) where English uses you. However, Dutch also has a polite or formal form of the personal pronoun for the second person (you), u. Many languages have this distinction. It is e.g. comparable with sibh in Gàidhlig, Sie in German, vous in French, usted in Spanish, Вы in Russian, or anata in Japanese. When to use one or the other is not always easy to decide. Someone unknown, particularly if older, is generally u, an old friend typically je, jou. The latter roughly corresponds with the 'first name basis' in English. Notice the use of u in the conversation below that takes place between colleagues rather than close friends. They would never say: "hoi!" to each other.

Regional forms[edit]

In the South of the area where Dutch is spoken (Flanders mostly), people do not distinguish between familiar and polite forms, instead they still use an older pronoun gij (clitic: ge, object: u). In the north it has become obsolete since about 1800. It is used much like you in English for both singular and plural. In the North gij is now only encountered there in archaic phrases like: gij zult niet stelen - thou shalt not steal. Like thou the pronoun gij takes its own verb forms. This course is mostly based on northern usage as this is the most widely accepted, including in Suriname and the Antilles, but some important differences will be pointed out and we will see gij occasionally when we look at some older poetry.

Gesprek 1-2 ~ Collega's: De handelaars[edit]

Push the button and listen to the following text. It is recommended to first just listen.

Then read the following conversation. It is a bit more formal than the one before. If you are not sure of the meaning of a word, hover your mouse over it, if it is underlined. A translation will pop up. Or use the vocabulary box to the right. Make sure you know the gist of the story before opening the translation box. If you cheat, you cheat yourself... Finally, listen to the recording again with your eyes closed. Can you understand what is being said?


Meneer Jansen komt mevrouw De Vries tegen. Het zijn handelaars.
  • Meneer Jansen: Goedendag, mevrouw De Vries!
  • Mevrouw De Vries: Goedendag, meneer Jansen!
  • Meneer Jansen: Hoe gaat het met u?
  • Mevrouw De Vries: Zeer[3] goed, dank u wel. En met u?
  • Meneer Jansen: Ook goed.
  • Mevrouw De Vries: Mooi. Kent u meneer Standish? Bent u hem al tegengekomen?
  • Meneer Jansen: Uit Engeland? Nee. Is hij op bezoek?
  • Mevrouw De Vries: Ja. Hij spreekt Nederlands. Tot ziens, meneer Jansen!
  • Meneer Jansen: Tot ziens, mevrouw De Vries.


Have you figured out the gist yet? Then open the translation box to see if you were right:
Translation • Lesson 1 • Gesprek 1-2


  • Mr. Johnson encounters Mrs. De Vries. They are merchants.
  • Mr. Johnson: Good day, Mrs. de Vries!
  • Mrs. De Vries Good day, Mr. Johnson!
  • Mr. Johnson: How do you do?
  • Mrs. De Vries Very well, thank you. And how are you?
  • Mr. Johnson: Fine as well.
  • Mrs. De Vries: Good! Do you know Mr. Standish? Have you met him yet?
  • Mr. Johnson: From England? No, is he visiting?
  • Mrs. De Vries Yes, he is. He speaks Dutch. Goodbye, Mr. Johnson.
  • Mr. Johnson: Goodbye, Mrs. De Vries.

Go back to the pronunciation, close your eyes and see how much you understand now. You may have to repeat the process a few times.

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • Waar of niet waar


dit is waar - this is true
dit is niet waar - this is not true

Answer the following questions with either waar or niet waar

  1. Mevrouw De Vries is meneer Standish al tegengekomen.
  2. Meneer Jansen en mevrouw De Vries zijn goede vrienden.
  3. Meneer Jansen en mevrouw de Vries zeggen (they say) je en jou tegen elkaar (to each other)
  4. De Engelsman, meneer Standish is op bezoek.
  5. Het gaat goed met meneer Jansen.
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • Waar of niet waar


  1. Mevrouw De Vries is meneer Standish al tegengekomen. - niet waar
  2. Meneer Jansen en mevrouw De Vries zijn goede vrienden. - niet waar, zij zijn collega's
  3. Meneer Jansen en mevrouw de Vries zeggen (they say) je en jou tegen elkaar (to each other) - niet waar, zij zeggen u tegen elkaar
  4. De Engelsman, meneer Standish is op bezoek. - dit is waar
  5. Het gaat goed met meneer Jansen. - waar

Grammatica 1-3 ~ Introduction to pronouns[edit]

A pronoun is a short word that takes the place of a noun previously mentioned in the sentence, paragraph, or conversation.

Recall: Kent u meneer Standish? Bent u hem al tegengekomen?

Hem refers back to meneer Standish. It is a pronoun that stands for (pro- !) meneer Standish.

There is a variety of pronouns like personal, possessive, relative and indefinite ones. Let's look at the personal pronouns first.

Personal pronouns[edit]

Both English and Dutch have had a system of case endings in the past, as languages like German and Russian still do today. In English most of the system fell into disuse after the Norman invasion in 1066. The collapse of the system in spoken Dutch dates mostly from the 16th century and in the written language it was scrapped as recently as 1947. That means that Dutch has more remnants of the case system left than English and we will even devote lesson 15 to those remnants. The personal pronouns actually still show some case differences in both languages.

Personal pronouns are quite familiar in English: They are words like I,you,he,she,we,you and they.
At least this is the case for the subject (nominative case). As object (accusative) some of them are different: me,you,him,us,you,them. Compare:

I see you.
You see me.

Notice how I turns into me when used as an object. You remains the same.

Much like in English, ik (subject) turns into mij as object in Dutch, whereas je remains the same in both roles:

Ik zie je.
Je ziet mij.

The system in Dutch resembles the English one quite a bit, after all the languages are close relatives:

  • As in English there are three persons in Dutch grammar: first (I), second (you) and third (he)
  • As in English there is a distinction in number between singular (I) and plural (we).
  • As in English there are gender distinctions in the third person singular (he, she, it)
  • As in English there are case distinctions between subject and object (he, him)

Nevertheless the Dutch system is a little more involved, as we have seen there are:

  • familiar and polite forms: je versus u.
  • weak (clitics) and strong forms: je versus jou.

In addition there are

  1. Regional differences: (jij/jullie - u) (North) versus (gij) (South)
  2. A growing rift between how inanimate and animate nouns are treated
    In English he and she are reserved for animate nouns -usually persons- and this is increasingly the case in Dutch as well, certainly in Northern usage. We will revisit this point later.
  3. Pronominal replacement: the combination preposition + pronoun (e.g. with it) is usually replaced by an adverb
    We will revisit that in lesson 8

Let's leave most of these complications aside for the moment and concentrate on the forms of the pronouns. There are a few more than in English.

Subject case (nominative)[edit]

Person singular clitic English plural clitic English
1st
ik
('k)
I
wij
we
we
2nd (fam.)
jij
je
you
jullie
- you
2nd (polite)
u
-
u
-
2nd (South)
gij
ge
gij
ge
3rd
hij
zij
het
(-ie)
ze
('t)
he
she
it
zij
ze
they

Object case (accusative)[edit]

person singular clitic English plural clitic English
1st
mij
me
me
ons
- us
2nd (fam.)
jou
je
you
jullie
- you
2nd (polite)
u
-
u
-
2nd (South)
u
-
u
-
3rd
hem
haar
het
('m)
(d'r)
('t)
him
her
it
hen
hun*
ze
them

Remarks[edit]

  1. As you see not all pronouns have clitics and some of them (shown in parentheses) are not often used in the written language.
  2. *In prescriptive grammar hun is dative and hen is accusative. But in speaking, Dutch speakers generally do not make this distinction. This is because the hen form was artificially created by the grammarians of the past [4] and in the whole rest of the language there are no other words that make a distinction between dative and accusative. In the spoken language hen and hun are often used interchangeably (as synonyms) or people avoid the issue by opting for the clitic ze.

Exercises 1-1[edit]

Quizlet[edit]

This is the point where it is your turn to put in some effort yourself, because obviously you have some memorization to do.

There is a Quizlet practice set (27 terms) to help you with memorizing the pronouns. But it is recommended to first use the above tables. Unfortunately, the pronunciation of some of the clitics with apostrophes is wrong at Quizlet. So click the arrow buttons here to listen to the pronunciation and speak it out loud yourself until you feel confident that you know them, then go to Quizlet. Do make sure you can hear sound at Quizlet.[5]First scan through the cue cards, then do some of the other methods available. It should take you an hour or so and you will know some of the most frequently used words in the language.

Pronunciation drill[edit]

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • Ik, jij, wij, jullie, mij pronunciation drill

Push the button, repeat in the pauses and say the requested words in Dutch

SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • Ik, jij, wij, jullie, mij pronunciation drill


Translation exercise[edit]

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • pronouns 1: translation exercise


Translate into Dutch:

  1. How are you, Mr. Bush?
  2. How are you, Jan?
  3. Are you merchants?
  4. John runs into us.
  5. We meet John in the street
  6. He is visiting
  7. We are from England
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • pronouns 1: translation exercise


  1. How are you, Mr. Bush?
    Hoe gaat het met u, meneer Bos
  2. How are you, Jan?
    Hoe gaat het met je, Jan
  3. Are you merchants?
    Zijn jullie handelaars?
  4. John runs into us.
    Jan komt ons tegen
  5. We meet John in the street
    Wij komen Jan op straat tegen
  6. He is visiting
    Hij is op bezoek
  7. We are from England
    Wij zijn* uit Engeland
(komen* to come would be better)

Identification exercise[edit]

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • pronouns 2: indentification exercise

Identify all personal pronouns in the two above conversations (in the colored boxes) by person, case, number polite/familliar form and weak/strong form.

Are there any cases where the case is different from what the English translation has? Why?
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • pronouns 2: indentification exercise

Jan komt Karel op straat tegen. Ze zijn vrienden.

(3rd person plural nominative weak)
Jan: Goedendag, Karel. Hoe gaat het met je?
(2nd person singular accusative weak)
Karel: Goedendag. Dank je, met mij gaat het goed. En met jou?
(1st person singular accusative strong / 2nd person singular accusative strong)
Jan: Dank je, met mij gaat het goed. Tot ziens.
(2nd person singular accusative weak / 1st person singular accusative strong)
Karel: Tot ziens, Jan!

In the expression hoe gaat het met jou, jou is in the object case, because it follows a preposition met (with). Literally it says how goes it with you. English would say: How are you? In that case you is subject, not object.

Meneer Jansen komt mevrouw De Vries tegen. Het zijn handelaars.
(3rd person singular nominative neuter) Note that Dutch often uses 'it are' to indicate generality.
Meneer Jansen: Goedendag, mevrouw De Vries!
'Mevrouw De Vries: Goedendag, meneer Jansen!
Meneer Jansen: Hoe gaat het met u?
(2nd person singular accusative polite)
Mevrouw De Vries: Zeer goed, bedankt. En met u?
(same)
Meneer Jansen: Ook goed.
Mevrouw De Vries: Mooi. Bent u meneer Standish al tegengekomen?
(2nd person singular nominative polite)
Meneer Jansen: Uit Engeland? Nee. Is hij op bezoek?
(3rd person singular nominative)
Mevrouw De Vries: Ja. Tot ziens, meneer Jansen!
Meneer Jansen: Tot ziens, mevrouw De Vries
YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • Turn into clitics

Turn the personal pronouns into their clitic forms if possible:

Jij komt hen tegen.
Zegt hij goedendag of hoi?
Zij is ook op bezoek
Jullie zijn goede vrienden
Gij zijt uit Engeland
Gaat het goed met jou?
Zij groeten mij met "hoi".
Het gaat goed met ons
U spreekt Nederlands met hen
Wij spreken Engels
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • Turn into clitics
Je komt ze tegen.
Zegt-ie goedendag of hoi?
Ze is ook op bezoek
Jullie zijn goede vrienden no change
Ge zijt uit Engeland
Gaat het goed met je?
Ze groeten me met "hoi".
't Gaat goed met ons
U spreekt Nederlands met ze
We spreken Engels

Notice though that you have shifted the emphasis of each sentence by doing this replacement. E.g. in "wij spreken Engels" the emphasis is mostly on we (not: you or them), in "we spreken Engels" it is mostly on English (not: e.g. Dutch)

Woordenlijst 1[edit]

You have already encountered quite a few words above. Now make sure you own them! Listen to their pronunciation, sort the table by English and read back to Dutch, check the pronunciation again. Click on the blue link to go to the Dutch wiktionary and try to figure out what you may. If you do not understand, follow the interwiki link to go to the English wiktionary.

In short: there are many ways to use this table and you can try one thing one day and come back another to try something different.

Dutch word audio file English translation
de appendix
appendix, supplement
het bezoek
visit, attendance
(het) Engeland
England
het Nederlands
Dutch
de vriend, vrienden
friend, friends
de handelaars
business people, businessmen, tradesmen, merchants (pl.)
het gesprek, gesprekken
conversation, conversations
de grammatica
grammar
de les
lesson
de straat
street
de woordenlijst
word list
de woordenschat
vocabulary
op straat
on (in) the street
tot ziens
goodbye (lit: see you again)
uit Engeland
from England
Met mij gaat het goed I am fine (lit: With me goes it well)
goedendag!
Good day (greeting)
(de) dag!
(Good) day! Hi! Hello!
goed
good
En met jou?
And how are you? (lit: And with you?)
Hoe gaat het met jou (u)? How are you (lit: How goes it with you?)
hoe
how
gaan
to go
het gaat
it goes
met
with
is op bezoek
is visiting
tegenkomen
to meet, come across, encounter, run into
komt ... tegen comes across , runs into, meets
bezoeken
to visit
maar
but, however
ook
also, too, as well
dank je, dank u. thank you;
bedankt
thanks
simpel
simple
het
it (pronoun)
mevrouw
Ms., Miss, or Mrs.
meneer
Mr.
mij
me
nee
no
ja
yes
correct
correct
al
already, yet
mooi
beautiful (in this case, 'nice' or 'fine')
zeer
very
en
and


Quizlet[edit]

The vocabulary of this lesson can be trained at Quizlet. (33 terms)

Your turn! Building vocabulary 1[edit]

When learning a language you need to start building up your vocabulary. There are various ways of doing that. One is to study the above conversations well. Often words are easier to remember when put in context. We will add vocabulary building exercises to each lesson to make it easier for you to memorize it all.

YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • vocabulary

Go to Dutch/Vocabulary/Personal pronouns/hover test to check your knowledge of Dutch personal pronouns.
Go to Dutch/Vocabulary/Lesson 1/hover test to check your knowledge of the above vocabulary.

SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • vocabulary


YOUR TURN - UW BEURT!! • Lesson 1 • Additional vocabulary


Go to the Dutch/Vocabulary/Survival kit to learn the 56 most important words in the Dutch language. The same set has been created at Quizlet if you prefer to use their methods. Once you know them all, try to translate the following:

  1. Wil jij misschien een vrouw?
  2. Dit is erg slecht, denk ik.
  3. Na het leven is er de dood
  4. Ik hoor hier mensen beneden
  5. Er is een tijd en een plaats voor alle dingen
  6. Goed en slecht, klein en groot, kort en lang zijn niet dezelfde dingen
  7. Zet een klein deel voor, een ander deel achter , iets meer boven en de rest beneden
SOLUTION • Dutch/Lesson 1 • Additional vocabulary


  1. Do you want a woman perhaps?
  2. That is very bad, I think
  3. After life there is death
  4. I hear people down here
  5. There is a time and a place for all things
  6. Good and bad, small and big, short and long are not the same things
  7. Put a small part in front, another part behind, a bit more on top and the rest below.

Progress made[edit]

If you have studied the above well, you should

  1. Know more about the process of language acquisition. This should allow you to tailor your own learning better to your specific needs and preferences
  2. Started tuning your ears and your mouth to the pronunciation
  3. Gained vocabulary: 27 pronouns, 33 terms introduced in the lesson, 56 of the most often used words in the language, 116 terms in total.
  4. Learned about the use of personal pronouns, including their clitic, polite and regional forms.

Further practice[edit]

This lesson is accompanied by two pages that are intended to practice and reinforce what you have learned above. They do that with a bit different approach

  • Les 1A will give you more conversations and practice.
  • Voorbeeld 1 uses the simplest pieces of literature: nursery rhymes to teach language in a playful and amusing way.

It is recommended that you first work on the material in these two modules before you move on to lesson two, but of course this depends on your level of understanding and one of the nice things about the wiki-system is that one can use it whichever way you see fit. (Which is what children would do, but they are used to running into new things that they do not fully comprehend.)

Appendix[edit]

<< Lesson Layout Guide
      Pronunciation Guide >>

  1. This is particularly a point of difficulty for speakers of Slavic languages like Russian or Czech.
  2. There are other languages that show similar differences. Gaelic e.g. has tu and tusa. French also has the difference between tu and toi but the usuage is a bit different than in Dutch.
  3. De Vries is being rather stiff and formal by using 'zeer'. It is pretty dated. A more neutral register word would be 'heel'.
  4. "Dutch" by Jan G. Kooij in The world's major languages edt. Bernard Comrie ISBN 0-19-520521-9 Oxford University Press 1987
  5. Sometimes you need to restart your browser to make it work.