Early in 2015, I decided to learn Dutch..don’t ask me why but I swear I have a good reason😄. I attended a six week course in Utrecht and the first thing I learned is that Dutch is hard, really really hard, but not impossible to learn. I am proud to say that I returned to Nigeria with an intermediate knowledge of Dutch but not without a few bumps in the road.
- The Dutch can make a word past tense by putting a ‘ge’ in front and a ‘d’ at the end. Example: Mail would be gemaild (mailed) and sms would be gesmsd (smsed).
- Sportive words are verbs in Dutch. Example: I play football is “Ik voetbal” and I play tennis is “Ik tennisen”
- There is no faking it till you make it with Dutch. You either know it or you don’t. Example: There are 2 Dutch words for “because”. They are “want” (yes, you read right!!) and “omdat”. One you can use at the beginning of a sentence and the other you cannot.
- There are several words with the same meaning or use. Example: “in” can be “bij” or “aan”
- There are several words with different meanings depending on how you use them. Example: “Zij” is “she” but also “they”.
- Just when I thought I was beginning to understand the rules of speaking Dutch, I realized that there are a hundred and one other rules I didn’t know. One of the most complex is Separable verbs. I will do my best to explain this. Example: “Bel me op!” means “Call me (up)”. “Ik moet hem opbellen” means “I must call him (up)”. “Ik heb hem opgebeld” means “I called him (up)”. All words in bold are the separable verbs of “Call or Call up” (to make a phone call) in their different forms.
- There is no Dutch word for “like”. Instead of saying you like something, you say “I find it nice”. Example: “Ik vind het leuk om Netherlands te leren” means “I find it nice to learn Dutch” or simply “I like learning Dutch”.
- The Dutch use diminutive words a lot. Example: Sister is “zus” and a younger sister is a “zusje”. A beer is “bier” and a small beer is a “bierje”.
- Telling time is like rocket science. Example: 11:30 is half twaalf (half 12), 11:35 is vijf over half twaalf (5 over/past half twelve)
- Counting isn’t any easier. Example: 24 is vier en twintig (4 and 20) and 156 is honderd zes en vijftig (100, 6 and 50)
Coupled with the cold (in summer!!!), my head was reeling after day 3 and I did what I would usually do to destress…have a good meal and watch tv. I fell in love with NCIS during my stay. I also enjoyed watching the crazy things people did on bicycles: eating an ice cream cone, opening a carton of juice, riding with 3 kids on their individual seats on the one bike, taking a dog to the vet or at least I think that was were she was going and to cap it all, folding up a bicycle like one would fold up those new RayBan sunglasses and taking it on the train😂.
If you ever decide to learn Dutch, don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!😜
xoxo (knuffels and kussen…hugs and kisses..just thought to toss that in there)😁