Rules (Or: Learning Dutch is fun… for an English major)

I have discovered over the last few months that my favorite part of Dutch is the grammar rules. Weird, I know, but I suppose that is the English major in me. I will admit to taking a sort of sick pleasure in making Marco’s eyes glaze over.

For example, take the noun bazen – bosses. To get the singular you technically have to do the following:

1. Subtract the -en, leaving just the stem.You are left with baz.

2. Since bazen included a long vowel (ba-zen), where a vowel is at the of a syllable, than the vowel should be kept long in the singular form as well. However, baz is short (since the vowel is surrounded by consonants).

3. To make the vowel long we add an extra a: baaz.

4. Finally, no Dutch word ends in -z, so you need to change the z to an s – baas. (Like a boss!)

The nice thing for learners of Dutch is that the language has a lot of clear cut rules for spelling. Of course it means that it takes a few extra seconds to remember the rule, but it does help. And then you get used to seeing the word in such a way and any other way looks wrong. At that point you can mostly ditch the spelling rules and go from your gut.

The nice thing for Dutch speakers is that they don’t really need to know any of this.

…Unless they have an American girlfriend about to move there.

Cheese market in Madurodam, within the Hague

And now for something completely different – a kaas (cheese) market in Madurodam, the miniature town set up in a 1:25 scale. Look close – some of the figurines look quite drunk on the cheese already!


Categories: Learning Dutch, The Hague | Tags: | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Rules (Or: Learning Dutch is fun… for an English major)

  1. Jacqueline

    Hai!! Love to read your blogs!

    I was pointed to another blog of someone about things that Dutch people like.. maybe it is fun for you to get aquinted with more Dutch habbits (Although.. some of them are bit hmm how to say it.. well just find out yourselves… šŸ˜€ )

  2. I think I saw that but I was unsure how much of it would trip me up; how much is right and how much is wrong šŸ˜‰

    I’ll have to ask Marco how much hair gel he uses . . .

  3. Jim

    Looks like some right powerful aged kaas.

  4. Kaas! lekker! and I loved Madurodam…my fav was the massive clogs at the entry area!

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