Last night I had my 8th Dutch lesson at the Volkuniversiteit (A2 level). This lesson seemed a bit “off” — as in, it wasn’t that good. Neither the person to my right nor the person to my left did their homework and it seemed to be the same for most of the people in the class. Technically I am a few lessons ahead already, as we did 9C and 10A today, and I’ve already finished the homework through 10B.
Perhaps it is the warmer weather – it is harder to concentrate on the homework and during the class itself. I can definitely tell that it stays lighter outside longer. We didn’t turn the classroom lights on until almost 9PM due to ample light from outside.
The main grammatical thing that we learned was Er, in its simplest form. (There are many uses of Er that are a lot harder to explain. I don’t know all of them.) This version simply translates to “there”. So:
Er is een… There is a...
Er zijn… There are…
Er is geen zolder. There is no attic.
Er zijn geen winkels in de buurt. There are no shops in the neighborhood.
So it follows English pretty closely. The most surprising thing is that it didn’t appear in the textbook until now — I’ve been using it in Dutch speech for some months already, and I suspect most of my classmates have as well.
One random thing I heard the professor mutter quietly under her breath was Waarom zijn bananen krom? (Why are bananas curved?) Unfortunately I forget why she said it. I asked Marco and he said this is a rhetorical question you ask when there really isn’t an answer that can be given. She definitely seemed a bit more exasperated with the class in general this week.
One thing that was mentioned a lot in today’s chapter was the song A beetje verliefd (A little love) by Andre Hazes, a Dutch singer who passed away in 2004. It’s one of those songs that almost everyone in the country knows, even if they don’t care for it. It’s classified as a Smartlap (tearjerker). YouTube with Dutch Lyrics. Marco hates the music but wanted to tell you that that singer has an Amsterdam accent, as does 90% of the Smartlappen singers.
Another thing that was mentioned randomly was Koetjes en kalfjes (literal translation = cows and calfs, actual translation = small talk). Perhaps back in the day when there was even more farmland than there is now, small talk did refer to how the animals were doing. Maybe!