Huisfeest (Or: Dutch lesson 2 of 14)

Last night was my second Dutch class at Volksuniversiteit in The Hague. This time I acted a bit more like Niki: I answered all of the textbook questions and workbook exercises for the lesson we would be going over — in advance. The class was for chapter 7, section B. (Normally the textbook exercises are in class.) It’s not that I have to do so – it just makes me feel a lot more prepared.

And then in the end of the class we started on chapter 7, section C. D’oh! :p

I am looking forward to the next class (in two weeks – next week is Spring vacation). During the first class she asked us to sit in the same seats for week 2, but said we would move into more of a circular format for class 3 and beyond. I never realized how much I need to see a Dutch speaker to understand what they are saying, but I do. Some people give some nice visual clues (with their hands) when they talk. But I am currently sitting in the second row and rather short, so it’s hard to see over the students in the first row…

Today’s subject was “At the doctor”. One thing we looked at was giving advice. One of the sentences constructions is with the verb zullen (which is similar to ‘shall’ in English). There’s only two forms for giving advice using zouden: the singular and the plural. ik zou translates to “If I were you…”. The other one you can use is we zouden – “If we were you…”

And then she started asking for advice. She asked what advice you could give a friend whose birthday was today. Someone said: “ik zou een huisfeest hebben!” If I were you I would have a house party.

After a few seconds the somewhat confused teacher replied quite seriously: “Huisfeest!…

… isn’t a word.” And then laughed with the rest of the class.

She said you could use thuisfeest, except that that is more for a house warming party (after you move in). So probably just use feest, a party.

Another thing we looked at was separable verbs. Some verbs have components that, well, separate from the verb if conjugated. For example:

afwassen  = to wash the dishes

Ik was de borden af. (I wash the plates.)

There’s way-y-y too many separable verbs to name. Wiktionary has a long list of separable verbs, and Dutch grammar has a short list of example separable verbs. One thing we learned in class was that if a verb was separable, the stress would be on the prefix (af-was-sen). If it was not separable, the stress would be somewhere in the verb.

Some other interesting things: the professor still has to cover the pronunciation of the alphabet a lot. Mind you, I am not saying I can quickly rattle off the spelling of a random word, but I can do it if I think about each letter. But some students don’t even know the alphabet yet. Though I do get the confusion where “e” is pronounced as the English “a” and “i” is pronounced as the English “e”…

Sadly in a few students’ cases it is because they wanted to sign up for the beginning Dutch course but the timing wasn’t just right – so Volksuniversiteit recommended that they cram for a month and join the second level. It’s obviously not working out that well for them.

Finally, it’s a long class – 7PM to 10:15PM. And of course the bus arrives at 10:17, though the teacher understands and lets students leave early if needed. Apparently some students missed the 10:17 last time and said the next bus was pretty late, so hopefully I don’t ever miss this bus. But it will happen. ;p

Until next time! (March 5)

Categories: Courses | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Huisfeest (Or: Dutch lesson 2 of 14)

  1. It’s so interesting to see your journey in learning Dutch! The way the language gets broken down in to little bits and how everything gets explained. For me as a native speaker there are so many things in my language that I could not explain why they are a certain way, I just know they are. So it’s really cool to get a look at how Dutch is approached for someone learning it as an aldult.

    Though I have to say that ‘huisfeest’ is an existing word, just not in the birthday context. 🙂 It’s when an entire student house has a big party together, I think it would be comparable to what you would call a dorm party or something like that?

    • The next thing I want to tackle (on my own) is the ‘om…te…’ construction. I still haven’t wrapped my mind around that one.

      One thing you could have as a student in America is a frat party. Those tend to draw big crowds!

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