This and that (Or: B2 Dutch course #7)

Last night’s lesson was a bit varied due to the various things that we worked on. First off, the teacher had us review the imperatief/gebiendende wijs (imperative in English – giving commands).

To use the imperative you generally use the stam or the ik vorm. The verb always comes first. Further, there is no subject (unless you are using the more polite u [you]). If you are using that form, than you have to conjugate the verb accordingly.

Ga zitten! Luister! Hou je mond! (Sit down! Listen! Stop talking!)
Gaat u zitten! Luistert u! Houdt uw mond! (Some of these seem a bit strange in the polite u form, of course). You can also use even and/or maar to make the command a bit more friendly. Luister even! sounds friendlier than Luister!

Due to a random exercise in the book we also briefly learned about the political parties in the Netherlands but a) I don’t know much about them b) I am definitely not into politics. Though I did find it funny that the teacher said she really didn’t discuss politics in class, and then got sucked into a discussion anyway until she broke it off again…

We also took a look at the differences in social class in The Hague. You have two different names for people who live in The Hague. The dividing line or border can be found in the Laan van Meerdervoort, which is the longest avenue in the Netherlands (and also by coincidence where I bought my wedding dress!). If you live “above” this street you live on the rich side of town and are called a Hagenaar. If you live “below” this street you live on the poor side of town and are called a Hagenees. If you believe in such a thing.

The last thing we learned was new to me – another way how to categorize things. Here is an example:

Min grootste ergernis is … (My biggest irritation is)

Mijn op een na grootste ergernis is  (My second biggest irritation is)

Mijn op twee na grootste ergernis is … (My third biggest irritation is)

I must admit it is kind of weird to use “op een na” (een = one) for something that actually translates as “second”. Hmmm.


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