As the English would say: Dutch is not a language but an illness to the throat. And you might agree with those gingers on that rainy rock in the Atlantic when you want to pronounce: ‘de geschiedenisschrijver schrijft zijn geschiedenis (the history writer writes its history). Indeed the Dutch language knows a lot of ‘g’ and ‘sch’ sounds, but rest assured: a large part of the Dutch population cannot pronounce them properly either. They all life in the southern provencies of ‘Brabant’ and ‘Limburg’, and yes the rest of the Netherlands looks at them the same as Sweden looks at Skåne.
Like Swedish the Dutch language is also a Germanic language, so when you will be in the Netherlands you will probably be able to understand most of the written text. Although a word like ‘klantenservice’ (customerservice) might raise some Swedish eyebrows. On the other hand the word ‘trött’ (bitch) and ‘bil’ (butt) might result in some giggles on the Dutch side. A lot of the words that are similar in both language come from the sailing tough, it shouldn’t be that hard to deduce the Swedish version of the words: stuurboord, mast, dek, zeil and lijn.
When you want to speak some Dutch during the world congress make sure you comply to the following rules before you even start learning words:
1. Talk loud, even if the person is within 50 cm range
2. Talk everywhere and to anyone; everybody on the bus is interested in the stories you are about to tell.
3. You always have an opinion; even if you don’t. Not having an opinion is an opinion in itself isn’t it?
4. Never ever let the other person finish his or her sentence, your opinion is by default more interesting. When the other person doesn’t let you, go back to rule number 1.
5. Be direct and say everything that comes to your mind. If the other person is bothered by your statements that is not your problem.
6. Complain, the weather, food, the national railways, you name it…. So once you’ve mastered the six basic rule here are a few useful Dutch words you might want to practice:
– Alstublieft – Please/if you please
Please bear in mind that this is the formal form, like in German and French the Dutch make the difference between sie/vous/u and du/tu/je.
– Dankuwel – thank you
– Een rondje van mij – this round is on me
– Nee, dat zie ik anders – No, I see that differently
– Zullen we naar de volgende kroeg gaan? – Shall we go to the next bar?
– Waar is mijn hotel? – Where I my hotel?
And if you really want to practice I refer to the rap of the Osdorp posse – Origineel Amsterdams, a hit from the 90’s where in 3:56 min all the Amsterdam slang is explained.
Text: Gerben Doornbos
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