A question of pronunciation (Or: Dutch class 21 by ROC Mondriaan)

In every language it seems you have a word that must be pronounced perfectly, lest the native speakers laugh at you mercilessly for saying a much, much different word.

Somehow we randomly got on this example last night – a student said she had trouble pronouncing huur, or rent in English. (This is understandable as the double uu sound is not a natural sound in English, though it is similar to pronouncing tu in Spanish or French.) She mentioned that her coworkers laugh good naturedly when she tries. And why is that?

huur = rent

hoer = a woman who earns her money in bed. ;p ‘Whore’ in English. The w is silent. But oe in Dutch is much easier to pronounce and what usually comes out when you are trying to pronounce uu.

Ik moet de hoer betalan. I must pay the… whore? Hmm.

The same issues exist with the words buur (neighbor) and boer (farmer). Usually when trying to pronounce buur it comes out as boer partially due to not knowing the pronunciation and partially due to your mouth not being able to do the uu sound well.

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During the class we mainly finished off chapter 7 and looked again at the time words mentioned in my last blog post (toen, als, wanneer, sinds, and similar).

One thing I did (randomly) learn was that you can mix some verb tenses. The rule for complicated sentences (with a main clause and additional sub clauses) is that the tense always stays the same in past or present.

Toen ik naar de dokter ging, zag ik haar. When I went to the doctor, I saw her. Both in the past tense (required).

Wanneer ik naar de dokter ga, zie ik haar. When I go to the doctor, I see her. Both in the present tense (required).

But you can use the present perfect (Ik heb gezien  / I have seen) and mix it with past or present tenses.

Soms wanneer ik naar de dokter ga, heb ik haar gezien. Sometimes when I go to the doctor, I have seen her. Though it does sound a bit better to add the ‘soms’, or some other element, to the sentence when using the present perfect.

 

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