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

By Edited Jun 11, 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)

Strong verbs

Weak verbs are actually irregular. However not completely which is why they aren't called irregular verbs. Therefore it's really important to learn the three cases of each strong verb so you know what's irregular in each verb.

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 lopen en doen ( to walk and to do).

Present tense

Person

Lopen

Doen

Ik

Loop

Doe

Jij

Loopt

Doet

Hij/zij/het/u

Loopt

Doet

Wij

Lopen

Doen

Jullie

Lopen

Doen

Zij

Lopen

Doen

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

Most strong 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.

This is exactly the same way as the present tense of any weak verb is formed. However, there are some verbs that are a bit different. An example is the verb doen. This verb is rather short and therefore the stam is the entire word with exception of the final n.

The past tense

The past tense of the strong verbs is rather complicated because there will occur a vowel change in case of most of the verbs. All you can do is learning those vowel changes by heart. Otherwise you won't know how the tense is going to be.

Person

Lopen

Doen

Ik

Liep

Deed

jij

Liep

Deed

Hij/zij/het/u

Liep

Deed

Wij

Liepen

Deden

Jullie

Liepen

Deden

Zij

Liepen

Deden

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. As I mentioned earlier: this is all to be learnt by heart.

The perfect participle

Like in case of the past tense, the perfect participle might have a vowel change as well. Again, this is something that should be learnt by heart in order to be able to use the verbs in the right way.

The perfect participle is always the person + the right form of the verb to have + the perfect partiple. The participle is always irregular and therefore needs to be learn by heart. In the case of the verbs lopen and doen it will bel like this:

Ik heb gelopen.

Ik had gelopen.

Ik heb gedaan.

Ik had gedaan.

I will explain in short what the difference between using gelopen and had and gelopen and heb is. In the first case: Ik heb gelopen, you are talking about something you do often. Are you telling Ik had gelopen, you say something that's isn's so usual. Besides that in both cases you say that this happening has happened in the past.

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