Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Present tense formation in Dutch (tegenwoordige tijd)

Good summary on creating the present tense in regular and irregular verbs:

"tegenwoordige tijd: presens; drukt "heden" uit, d.w.z. de gebeurtenis valt gelijktijdig met het spreekmoment"

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Geld Nodig? Afhalen.

'Halen' is a useful and much used word, it seems, in Dutch.

Here it's used as 'afhalen' which means to withdraw (it can also mean pick up, right Dutch speakers?).

But ophalen means to pick up (or collect)

Have fun with other composed words:

overhalen (to persuade)
inhalen (to overtake)
any more?

And of course we can't end the post without trying to give a tip on remembering this word. Well I associate 'halen' with the English verb 'to hail' (as in a cab). This works well to help me remember what halen means (linked to 'to fetch' or to command') but I don't know whether there is an etymological link.

Monday, 7 May 2012


Well I've always been a bit confused with this phrase: logically it shouldn't it be goede dag? Well it seems that in use 'goedendag' is preferred but I don't know why! Any explanations gratefully received.

The sense of the word/phrase 'goedendag' I'd like to explore to day is when it is used as a noun. In this sense it is a 'mace' (a medieval weapon). See more of the wikipedia article here. When I was reading this article one of the explanations of this word is "good dagger" (the other one seems a bit spurious to me!) so this sent me off on a research hunt!

dagger = dolk

In modern Dutch this would be 'goede dolk', so where is the link?

dolk sounds more like the Scottish word 'dirk' for dagger or short sword and sure enough the etymology shows common roots for dirk and dolk: " the earliest spellings (of dirk) were dork,durk [possibly from] Ger. dolch "dagger.""

Ok so that's sorted out where dolk came from but why would a mace be called a goedendag then (if the theory of it referring to a dagger is true)?

More research shows that the English word 'dagger' comes from middle Dutch 'dagge' and would line up nicely with a mediaeval weapon that looks like the one pictured here: a good dagger indeed.

Good day!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Friesian and Old English

Eddie Izzard trying to speak to a Friesian farmer in 'Old English'.
Or his version of it anyway.

Funny. Neat. Informative (a little bit).

Thanks AEH for this.

The boss!

From your supervisor to Bruce Springsteen we're used to the word 'boss' in English. It's the person in charge. The chief. The order giver…and such an English word!

Such an English word that I was intrigued to learn that 'baas' in Dutch has a similar meaning. They sound similar, but surely they can't be related? Let me check.

boss = baas

In fact I learned it in the context of huisbaas (lit. house boss) or landlord in English. So after a quick internet search found that, yes indeed, they are related. Not only that but etymologically speaking Dutch is the baas over boss…

"overseer," 1640s, Amer.Eng., from Du. baas "a master," M.Du. baes, of obscure origin.

Further digging found this article which tells of baas as a great Dutch export.

"Variations on the Dutch word baas can be found in 57 other world languages, making it the most widely adopted Dutch word, according to Leiden researcher Nicoline van der Sijs.
'We have to conclude that the Dutch and Flemish were happy to be the boss, on ships and plantations and the like,’ Van der Sijs says"