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The Dutch language, it's origin and explanation on the mixed verbs

By Edited Jan 16, 2016 0 0

Dutch is a language that is spoken by about 27 million people, most of whom are living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Other countries where the language exist are Belgium, Suriname and the other former colonies of the Netherlands. It is a West Germanic language and therefore has many things in common with languages such as German. Another language that's very similar to Dutch is Afrikaans, one of the official languages spoken in South-Africa. This is caused by the Dutch invasion of South-Africa centuries ago. Even though the Netherlands is a small country, the language isn't as infamous as one would think. I, being a native speaker of Dutch, know this.

Dutch, the language and it's origin

Dutch, or Nederlands as the language is called in Dutch, has a long history, going back to the time of the Francs who lived in Europa around 450-500 AD. From this moment on the language started to develop and as with all Germanic languages, the language went through three phases.

  • Old Dutch ( 450-1150)
  • Middle Dutch ( 1150-1500)
  • Modern Dutch ( 1500 - present)

Even though it seems as if the language hasn't changed much since the year 1500 when looking at the fact that nowadays the language is still called Modern Dutch, this is not true. Native speakers of Dutch will hardly understand, or won't understand at all, the Dutch that was written around 1500.

Nowadays there is a standard kind of Dutch called ABN ( Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands), this doesn't mean however, that there are no dialects. The most famous dialect of Dutch is Flemish, which is spoken in Belgium.

The language

The language isn't the easiest one to learn, although it doesn't look to complicated for example those who are known the English language. However, the pronunciation is really tricky and the grammar and spelling of the language aren't as easy as they seem at the first glance. In this article I will spend time explaining something about weak verbs in Dutch.

Verbs

There exist four kinds of verbs in Dutch:

1. Weak verbs

2. Strong verbs

3. Mixed verbs

4. Irregular verbs

The persons are as follows:

Ik I

Jij you

Hij/zij/het/u he/she/it/you(formal)

Wij we

Jullie you

Zij/u they/you(formal)

Mixed verbs

Mixed verbs are actually a mix between strong and weak verbs as two of the tenses are regular and one is irregular. Because there is no rule which explains which tense is irregular, it's important to learn the three cases of each mixed verb by heart.

The three cases are: the infinitive, the preterite and the past participle. There are many verbs that are called strong, which might be kind of complicated for people who are new to the language.

The example verbs I will use this time are lachen ( to laugh)

Present tense

Person

Lachen

Ik

Lach

Jij

Lacht

Hij/zij/het/u

Lacht

Wij

Lachen

Jullie

Lachen

Zij

Lachen

When watching the present tense carefully you will notice how easy this tense really is in case of a mixed verb. I will explain why:

Most mixed verbs in Dutch and with: -en. The rest of the verb is called the 'stam'. You simply take the 'stam' and add the endings that are needed to it. This are the letters in black. Notice that the plural forms are always equal to the verb and that the second and third person singular are the same. Furthermore the first person singular doesn't get anything.

This is easy, however, be aware of one thing. If the 'stam' of a verb ends with consonant,vowel,consonant, as is the case with the verb leren, you need to duplicate the vowel in the singular cases of the verb.

The past tense

The past tense of the mixed verbs can be rather complicated as you don't know beforehand whether the tense is going to be regular or not.

Person

Lachen

Ik

Lachte

jij

Lachte

Hij/zij/het/u

Lachte

Wij

Lachten

Jullie

Lachten

Zij

Lachten

As you can see in case of our first example, the past tense is regular. This means you simply take the stam of the verb and add -te(n) or -de(n). Whether you choose a -te or -de depends on whether the stam ends with a -k,-f,-s,-ch,-p. If this is the case, you will choose the -te. Otherwise you opt for the -de.

The only difference between the singular and plural forms is that you simply need to add -en to create a plural form of the past tense of these verbs..

It's also possible that the verb is irregular in this tense. You will need to learn the irregularity by heart in order to be able to use the verb correctly.

The perfect participle

If the past tense of the verb was irregular, you know now that the tense will be regular. And the other way round. The verb lachen is irregular in the perfect participle:

Person

Lachen

Ik

Gelachen

jij

Gelachen

Hij/zij/het/u

Gelachen

Wij

Gelachen

Jullie

Gelachen

Zij

Gelachen

However, it is not possible to say: ik gelachen. This combination of person and verb has no meaning, because one sufficient part is missing. You need to either the present or past tense of the verb to have = hebben. This verb is irregular:

Ik heb

Jij hebt

Hij heeft

Wij hebben

Jullie hebben

Zij hebben

It's also possible to use the past tense of to have in combination with the perfect participle. In this case the verb is as follows:

Ik had

Jij had

Hij had

Wij hadden

Jullie hadden

Zij hadden

When saying: Ik heb gelachen, you say you have laughed in the past, which is something you do often. In case you say: ik had gelachen, you actually say this is something that doesn't happen that often. In both cases you have finished doing so.

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