English pronunciation (Or: Dutch class 14 by ROC Mondriaan)

NOTE: Next week is herfstvakantie (fall vacation), so there will be no class related blog posts.

Like all languages, Dutch steals from other languages. Sometimes they prefer to use English words in place of Dutch words, especially with newer technology (internet, websites, and etc). They tend to pronounce these words with an English pronunciation. I should be happy right? English is my native language – sounds easy for me!

Except that it’s not that easy. I find it quite difficult to switch pronunciations mid-sentence. Things like journalist do not take the usual Dutch pronunciation for the (making it sound more like yer-na-list) but rather keep the English j. We had the word journalist as one of our vocabulary words in Wednesday’s class. Case in point: today is Friday so when I went to the Albert Heijn I told the cashier Fijne weekend! (happy weekend) however I said weekend with a Dutch accent and then corrected myself. We had a good laugh.

In Dutch the work week is spelled the same but pronunciation is closer to the English word ‘wake’, just with a bit more English ‘v’ than ‘w’. (Plural: weken, pronounced like vay-ken). But for some bizarre reason the Dutch like to pronounce weekend as … the English word ‘weekend’. Hmm.

Other things we discussed in class: ooit / nooit. Ever / never. The two usual uses:

Ik wil nooit een konijn hebben. (I never want to have a rabbit.)
Heb je ooit chinees gegeten? (Have you ever eaten Chinese?)

Not too unexpected there. In this case ooit translates to ‘ever’. But it can also translate to ‘once’ (although you can generally use other Dutch words like vroeger.)

Deze deur was ooit blauw. (This door was once blue.)
Deze deur was vroeger blauw. (This door was earlier blue.)

Finally, you can also use ooit a third way, which I learned in class. The Dutch also use ooit to point to the future – though the point is not known.

Ooit zal ik naar Duitsland gaan. (‘Sometime in the future’ I will go to Germany.)

Or the slightly more depressing Ooit zal ik je weer zien, which is apparently a Dutch song. Sometime I will see you again.

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