|Beginner level||Intermediate level||Advanced level|
|Cycle 1||Quiz||Cycle 2||Quiz||Cycle 3||Cycle 4||Cycle 5||Cycle 6|
|Main||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||Les 23||Main|
|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||Practice|
|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||Examples|
Beginner level: cycle 2
Les 6 ~ Lesson 6
Geschiedenis ~ History
|• Grammar: More numerals
|• Grammar: The past tense
|• The perfect tenses
|• Inseparable verbs
|• To have and to be|
- 1 Gesprek 6
- 2 Grammatica 6.1 ~ Numbers
- 3 Grammatica 6.2 ~ Past and perfect tenses
- 3.1 Weak verbs
- 3.2 Strong verbs
- 3.3 Irregular verbs
- 3.4 Strong and weak verbs with irregularities
- 4 Woordenschat 6
- 5 Quizlet
- 6 Progress made
|eenjarig||pertaining to one year
Grammatica 6.1 ~ Numbers
Use the sound buttons to help you with the pronunciation.
-teen = -tien
Dutch has a similar way of constructing the numbers for 13-19 as English, it is mainly the simple number (e.g. vijf, zes) followed by -tien, which means "ten" and is very similar to English -teen
-ty = -tig
As another example of the relationship between English y versus Dutch g, the English ending -ty in twenty, thirty etc., is "-tig" in Dutch:
Starting at twenty one things get a little funny, Dutch puts the single unit before the ten-unit:
21 eenentwintig (literally: one-and-twenty)
Notice that one way to deal with two subsequent vowels in Dutch spelling is the diaeresis ë.
The same system goes for 30, 40, 50....
80 tachtig (!!)
The only irregular one is tachtig.
Notice that 60 and 70 are pronounced with initial [s].
Dutch does not use one as in "one hundred" or "one thousand"
In Dutch all numbers lower than one thousand are written as one word. There should be a space after '1000' (duizend), though. There's also a space before and after: miljoen, biljoen, miljard, biljard, etc.
1001 duizend één
1017 duizend zeventien
1538 duizend vijfhonderdachtendertig or vijftienhonderdachtendertig
143.500 honderddrieënveertigduizend vijfhonderd
1.000.000 één miljoen
2.000.000 twee miljoen
453.897.245 vierhonderddrieënvijftig miljoen achthonderdzevenennegentigduizend tweehonderdvijfenveertig
For higher power of one thousand Dutch follows the British rather than the American system
1.000.000.000 één miljard
(not: biljoen, see below)
1.000.000.000.000 één biljoen 1.000.000.000.000.000 één biljard
245.078.476.453.879 tweehonderdvijfenveertig biljoen achtenzeventig miljard vierhonderdzesenzeventig miljoen vierhonderddrieënvijftigduizend achthonderdnegenenzeventig
Notice also that the interpunction is the reverse:
English: $1,324,432.93 = Dutch: $1.324.432,93
Dutch has a decimal comma, not a decimal point.
Grammatica 6.2 ~ Past and perfect tenses
- ..heb je dat op school geleerd?...
- ..wat gebeurde er ...
- Maurits versloeg...
These are examples of past and perfect tenses. There are three kinds of verbs in Dutch when it comes to forming them.
- Weak verbs add either -te(n) or -de(n) to the stem of the verb.
- Strong verbs change the vowel of the stem.
- Irregular verbs often have a combination of the two or show other idiosyncrasies.
- The vast majority (thousands) of Dutch verbs are regular weak verbs.
- There are some 150 strong roots. Derived verbs included there are some 1500 strong verbs in total.
- There are only about six irregular roots and about two dozen derivatives.
However, the strong and irregular verbs are amongst the most frequently used ones. The more specialized and recently formed ones are typically weak.
We have seen how the present tense is formed:
|leren - to learn|
|ik leer - I learn → stem is leer|
- The past tense typically has a singular and a plural form:
|ik, jij, hij leerde - I, you, he learned|
|wij, jullie, zij leerden - we, you, they learned|
Notice the similarity with English: the past is formed with a dental suffix: -de (Dutch) -ed (English).
However if the root ends in a voiceless consonant (t, k, f, s, ch, p and x) the endings are voiceless in Dutch -te, -ten:
- passen - to pass
- ik pas - I pass → stem is pas
- ik paste - I passed
- wij pasten - we passed
This happens in about a third of the weak verbs.
The perfect uses an auxiliary + the past participle. For a weak verb is formed by prefixing ge- and suffixing an ending -d, or -t.
If the verb already has a prefix like be-, ont- or ver- or ge- itself, the ge- prefix is omitted:
- Wat bedoel je? - What do you mean?
- Ik heb dat zo niet bedoeld. - I did not mean it that way.
- Wat gebeurt er?
- Wat gebeurde er?
- Wat is er gebeurd?
- Wat gebeurde er?
These verbs are called inseparable verbs to distinguish them from a group of verbs that have a prefix that can be separated. We will revisit those in a later lesson. The inseparable ones are relatively simple. Apart from the suppression of the ge- prefix they behave like normal verbs.
The past participle on -d and -t
The suffix of the participle is -d in the case of leren:
- ik heb geleerd - I have learned
This is by far the most common way to form the past participle. However, if the root ends in a voiceless consonant (t, k, f, s, ch, p and x) the ending is a voiceless -t:
- passen - to pass, to fit
- ik pas - I pass → stem is pas
- ik heb gepast - I have passed
Dutch has "final obstruent devoicing", a fancy term for the fact that a consonant at the end of a word is always pronounced as voiceless. That means that both the -d of "geleerd" and the -t of "gepast" as actually pronounced the same, as [t].
However, as in English the participle can also be used as an adjective. As such it also has an inflected form with -e:
- De geleerde les - the lesson learned
- Gepaste eerbied - fitting reverence
In this case the /d/ of geleerde is actually also pronounced [d] and the /t/ of gepaste as [t].
If the root already ends in -d or -t the ending is omitted:
- feesten - gefeest
- baden - gebaad
In contrast to English the participle is put at the end of the sentence:
- Ik heb dat op school geleerd.
Most Dutch verbs can be fully reconstructed in all their forms if you know three primitive tenses, de stamtijden:
infinitive - past tense singular - perfect participle
- leren - leerde - geleerd
- passen - paste - gepast
- bedoelen - bedoelde - bedoeld
- gebeuren - gebeurde - gebeurd
This is why verbs are often represented this way in dictionaries, including in WikiWoordenboek. If you want a complete table of all possible forms, this becomes rather large especially if you list all the compound tenses.
The auxiliary is usually a form of hebben like it is to have in English (see below for its forms). However, unlike English there is a group of verbs (ergative verbs) that take zijn (to be) instead.
Notice that gebeuren (to happen) is one such case: It is an ergative verb. Instead of an action such verbs express either a process or a movement. Compare:
|process||zijn||de sneeuwballen zijn gesmolten||have||the snowballs have melted|
|movement||zijn||ze zijn gegaan||have||they have gone|
|action||hebben||ze hebben dat gedaan||have||they have done that|
- lopen - to walk (cf. leap)
- Ik loop - I walk
- Ik liep - I walked (notice the vowel change)
- Ik heb gelopen
The participle ends in -en in the case of strong verbs.
Which verbs are strong?
There are more than 150 strong roots and including all derived forms lopen, belopen, verlopen etc. there are more than 1500 strong verbs in Dutch. And you will just have to learn them. Few rules can be given which verbs are weak and which are strong, but we can try:
- All verbs borrowed from Latin or French are weak.
- All strong verbs have the basic structure root-ending, e.g. lopen, or (prefix)-root-ending, e.g. beginnen. Verbs with more syllables, like kantelen, begoochelen are always weak.
- Many strong verbs have cognates that are irregular verbs in English. E.g. zingen - zong - gezongen has to sing - sang - sung as cognate. The cognate sometimes has a different meaning, e.g. rijden is cognate with to ride but can mean to drive a car. If you know any German: most strong verbs in Dutch are strong in German as well.
The seven classes
There are seven distinct patterns (classes) of vowel change. These patterns are exceedingly old. They come from the Indo-European language and are much better preserved in Dutch than they are in English.
The most common one (Class I) has ..ij... - ..ee.. - ..e..:
- schrijven - schreef - geschreven
- blijven - bleef - gebleven
- lijden - leed - geleden
English has far fewer strong verbs left and they have become irregular, i.e. the patterns are no longer very recognizable, although sometimes the resemblance is still striking, compare:
- spreken - to speak
- sprak - spoke
- gesproken - spoken
We will come back to strong verbs later, particularly in the practice lessons 6A and 7A. Fortunately for all Dutch verbs except a handful it is enough to memorize de stamtijden (the primitive times):
- lopen-liep-gelopen (infinitive - past tense - past participle)
If you are uncertain about the primitive tenses of a verb, a trip to WikiWoordenboek will easily remedy that. The primitive tenses are typically given in a small table on the right of the screen. Have a look at lopen.
Lopen is a verb of movement. This is why is uses to be as auxiliary if a direction of the movement process is specified. Compare:
- Ik ben naar huis gelopen - I walked home
- Ik heb altijd veel gelopen - I always did a lot of walking
In the latter case the verb takes "hebben" because the emphasis is not on the movement process but on the activity (action).
Notice that Dutch often uses the perfect tense where English uses a simple past. The past tense corresponds more to the past continuous in English, although the division of labor between the tenses is different in the two languages.
- Ik liep naar huis - I was walking home
The past of some of the strong verbs has a plural that undergoes lengthening of the vowel:
- ik brak (as in father)
- wij braken (as in Gaad)
(Thus the verb has four stages of vowel change. This is also a very ancient aspect of the language. It stems straight out of Indo-European. Anglo-Saxon had something similar.)
Dutch does not have a past (or present) continuous as such, although there is a construction using aan het + infinitive that can be used to describe continuity rather emphatically:
- Ik was naar huis aan het lopen, toen ik hem zag
- I was (busy) walking home when I saw him
Verbs like lopen, staan, zitten, liggen (walk, stand, sit and lie) can also be used to express continuous action. They take te + infinitive:
- Ik zat te denken - I was thinking (while sitting)
- Ik stond te bellen - I was on the phone (while standing)
There are only a few verbs (actually 6) that demand more knowledge than that which is contained in the three stamtijden (primitive tenses)
They are: zijn, hebben, zullen, mogen, kunnen and willen
The auxiliary to have
The most important irregular verbs are hebben and zijn:
- hebben - to have
- ik heb - I have
- jij hebt - you have
- hij heeft - he has
- wij, jullie, zij hebben - we, you, they have
- ik, jij, hij had - I, you, he had
- wij, jullie, zij hadden - we, you, they had
- ik heb gehad
The auxiliary to be
- zijn, wezen - to be
- ik ben - I am
- jij bent - you are
- hij is - he is
- wij, jullie, zij zijn - we, you, they are
- ik was
- wij waren
- ik ben geweest - I have been
Notice that to be is seen as an ergative: it is not an action, but a 'process'.
Wezen is quite common in certain parts of the Netherlands, but frowned upon in other regions.
- weest u!
- het zij
- past: het ware
Both are archaic but they are still be seen in certain expressions.
Strong and weak verbs with irregularities
Some strong and weak verbs do not completely follow any of the regular patterns. We have seen one:
- ik versla
- ik versloeg
- ik heb verslagen
Notice that the present tense and the infinitive do not have a "g".
There is also a group of weak verbs ends in -cht rather than just -t:
- brengen - bracht - gebracht
- denken - dacht - gedacht
The vowel of these roots also changes, but historically these verbs are weak. Notice that English has something similar (brought, thought).
In these cases it is still enough to know the three primitive tenses to reconstruct the entire verb. As this is the case for all Dutch verbs bar six it is customary to represent a verb whether weak, strong or irregular by these primitive tenses and reserve the term irregular for the handful cases where this does not suffice.
|Dutch word||audio file||English translation|
|de school||school (help·info)||school|
|het jaar||jaar (help·info)||year|
|jarig zijn||jarig (help·info)||having a birthday|
|de slag||slag (help·info)||blow, battle|
|de natuur||natuur (help·info)||nature|
|de jongen||jongen (help·info)||boy|
|natuurlijk||natuurlijk (help·info)||naturally, of course|
|schrijven-schreef-geschreven s||schrijven (help·info)||to write|
|lezen-las-gelezen s||lezen (help·info)||to read|
|leren-leerde-geleerd w||leren (help·info)||to learn, to teach|
|bedoelen-bedoelde-bedoeld w||bedoelen (help·info)||to mean, to aim at|
|lopen-liep-gelopen s||lopen (help·info)||to walk|
|bestaan-bestond-bestaan s||bestaan (help·info)||to exist|
|zijn-was-geweest irr||zijn (help·info)||to be|
|hebben-had-gehad irr||hebben (help·info)||to have|
|weten-wist-geweten irr||weten (help·info)||to know|
|zien-zag-gezien s||zien (help·info)||to see|
|zwemmen-zwom-gezwommen s||zwemmen (help·info)||to swim|
|vinden-vond-gevonden s||vinden (help·info)||to find|
|eten-at-gegeten s||eten (help·info)||to eat|
|zitten-zat-gezeten s||zitten (help·info)||to sit|
|denken-dacht-gedacht s||denken (help·info)||to think|
|slapen-sliep-geslapen s||slapen (help·info)||to sleep|
The vocabulary for this lesson can be studied at Quizlet (60 terms)
If you studied this lesson well you should
- be able to do all cardinal numbers in Dutch
- know how past tenses are formed in Dutch (but you need to memorize a lot more about them)
- Cycle 1: 579 terms
- Lesson 5: 87 terms
- Lesson 6: 60 terms
- Grand total
- 726 terms.
Also see Dutch/Vocabulary/The numbers for a synopsis and the hover test based on it.
- The necessary work on past tenses will start in Dutch/Lesson 6A