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Double Dutch: Language in the Lowlands John Nerbonne, Director, Linguistic Research, University of Groningen Curious about the Dutch? 2002.

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Presentation on theme: "Double Dutch: Language in the Lowlands John Nerbonne, Director, Linguistic Research, University of Groningen Curious about the Dutch? 2002."— Presentation transcript:

1 Double Dutch: Language in the Lowlands John Nerbonne, Director, Linguistic Research, University of Groningen Curious about the Dutch? 2002

2 Double Dutch n Basic facts n History n Structure n Influence on English n Varieties n Color n Future

3 Basic Facts about Dutch n 21 million speakers in The Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders) –more in Suriname, Aruba, Indonesia –approx. 140,000 in US (1990 census) –approx. 30th in list of world’s most widely spoken languages n Afrikaans is related, nearly intelligible (but speakers not the counted in the 22 mill.) n “Plattdeutsch” likewise closely related (Low German spoken in Northern Germany) n Frisian also related, but less closely n First documents ca AD

4 Genealogy of Dutch

5 How Do We Know Prehistory?

6 Influences n Statenbijbel (1637) standardization n Celtic -- rijk ‘kingdom’, ijzer ‘iron’, klok ‘clock’, ambacht ‘craft’ n Latin -- keizer ‘emperor’, straat ‘street’, school ‘school’, poort ‘gateway’, pond ‘pound’, peper ‘pepper’ n Frisian -- tjalk ‘small boat’, sjokken ‘trudge’, klunen ‘walk w. skates on land’, kapen ‘capture (as a pirate)’

7 French Borrowings n enquête ‘questionaire’, bureau ‘office’, bureaucratie, administratie, officieel, procedure n avontuur ‘adventure’, blazoen ‘coat of arms’, lans ‘lance’, rivier ‘river’, kampioen, ‘champion’ n buffet, kasteel ‘castle’, matras ‘mattress’, meubel ‘furniture’, feest ‘feast’, plantsoen ‘plantation’

8 French Cuisine, Family n asperge ‘asparagus’, azijn ‘vinegar’, citroen ‘lemon’, compote ‘stewed fruit’, fazant ‘pheasant’, meloen ‘melon’, prei ‘leeks’, rijst ‘rice’, saus ‘sauce’, taart ‘cake’ n papa, mama

9 More Influences n Spanish -- cargo, tornado, commando, orkaan ‘hurricane’ n Russian -- doerak ‘fool’, mammoet ‘mammoth’, apparatsjik n Japanese -- japon ‘gown’, samoerai, sjogoen, geisha, zen, mikado

10 Yiddisch n smeris ‘cop’, gesjoemel ‘dishonest dealings’, jatten ‘steal’, stiekem ‘secretly’, bajes ‘jail’, gokken ‘gamble’ n smoes ‘dodge, excuse’ kapsones ‘insolence, rudeness’ n lef ‘guts’, ‘mazzel ‘luck’, gein ‘joke’ n mies ‘bad, poor’ tof ‘nice, fine’

11 Colonial Influences n Sranan -- bo-bo ‘big shot’ n Indonesian, Malaysian -- pakkie-an ‘task’, piekeren ‘worry’, pienter ‘smart’, nasi (goreng), bami (goreng), sambal oelek, sate, ketjap, rames

12 German Influences n Medical: arts, allergie, chromosoom, secreet, polikliniek, heilgymnastiek, homeopathie n Psychology: autisme, paranoia, waanzin, narcisme, gestaltpsychologie n General: Nachwuchs, überhaupt, Kater (meaning hangover)

13 Double Dutch n Basic facts n History n Structure n Influence on English n Varieties n Color n Future

14 Distinctive Structure n Sounds n Phrases n Meanings

15 Unusual Sounds n Diphthongs (combined vowels) hij huis hou haai hooi boei leeuw nieuwe schuwe Minimal combinations huis, schuwe, leeuw - involve front rounded vowel like German ‘ue’ or French ‘u’ Complex Combinations? i u a …groeien

16 Unusual Sounds n ‘harde g’ as in Groningen, lage landen ‘Low Lands’, rug ‘back’, acht (8) n noiser than German Bach, Russian xopo  o n combination with ‘s’ used as “test” for foreigners (and spies): Scheveningen

17 Unusual Phrase Structure n “Verb Second” –like German n vestiges in English Hans gaat morgen naar huis Hans goes tomorrow to home ‘Hans is going home tomorrow’ Morgen gaat H. naar huis Naar huis gaat H. morgen In the forest lived a woodsman. Never have I been so shocked.

18 Unusual Phrase Structure n Cross-Serial Dependence n Subject-Verb Relations Cross Hans vermoedt dat (H. suspects that) Piet Marie leert zwemmen teach to swim ‘Hans suspects that P. is teaching M. to swim’

19 Cross-Serial Dependence n Crossing Relations Iterate n Theoretically hard to process Hans vermoedt dat Jantje Piet Marie zag leren zwemmen saw teach swim ‘H. suspects that J. saw P. teach M. to swim.’

20 Unusual Meanings n ‘Negative items’ occur only with negation –English ‘ever’, ‘any’, ‘budge’, ‘give a hoot’ n Dutch has at least 100 of these –Groningen research Hoeksema, Zwarts (next rector)

21 Double Dutch n Basic facts n History n Structure n Influence on English n Varieties n Color n Future

22 Dutch Borrowings in English n Shipping and naval –boom, bow, buoy, commodore, cruise, dock, freight, keel, keelhaul, pump, skipper, sloop, yacht, smuggle n Textiles –bale, duck (cloth), nap, spool, stripe n Art –easel, etching, landscape, sketch n War –beleaguer, holster, freebooter, onslaught

23 Dutch Borrowings in English n Food and Drink –booze, brandy, coleslaw, cookie, crullers, waffle n Other –bluff, bully, boss, derrick, dollar, drill, dike, frolic, grime, hunk, kink, runt, scum, slim, snap, spook, stoop

24 ‘Dutch’ in English n ‘double Dutch’ - nonsense n ‘in Dutch with her’ - in trouble with n ‘Dutch treat’, ‘go Dutch’ - split costs (no treat) n ‘dutchman’ - cover-up for construction error n ‘Dutch courage’ - from alcohol n ‘Dutch bargain’ - deal made w. alcohol n ‘Dutch uncle’ - someone with unwanted advice n ‘Dutch disease’ - politics of consensus (W.Laqueur) n also ‘Dutch oven’, ‘Dutch doors’ -- but mostly negative

25 Double Dutch n Basic facts n History n Structure n Influence on English n Varieties n Color n Future

26 Dutch Dialects n Experts distinguish 3-5 main areas, approx. 30 areas in total (in only 40K km 2 ) n Frisian recognized as “minority language” n Lower Saxon, Limburgs recognized as “regional languages” n Lay interest enormous –clubs, songs, web sites, publications

27 Dutch Dialect Areas

28 How different are dialects from each other? n Standard Dutch n Groningen n Zeeland n Frisia n Flanders n Twente Ons oude huis is afgebrand Our old house [is] burned down

29 Dialect Differences n oude / ouwe / olle n huis / hus (ü) / hoes n afgebrand / afbraat / outband / afabraat

30 How different are dialects from each other? n Standard Dutch n Groningen n Zeeland n Frisia n Flanders n Twente De pastoor heeft goede wijn The minister has good wine

31 Dialect Differences n wijn / win n xoede / xoeje / xoje / xoeoe / hoede / goede / beste n heeft / het / ai / hat

32 Other major differences n final n ‘lopen’ –standard lope, Groningen lop’m n hard/soft g ‘laag’, ‘Goede’ –how much “noise” in the g/ch n aspirated (English-like) vs. unaspirated (French-like) p,t,k –p h aard, paard

33 Dialects vs. Standard Dutch

34 Dialect Continuum?

35 Double Dutch n Basic facts n History n Structure n Influence on English n Varieties n Color n Future

36 Color n Interest in Language n Coinages with cultural speculation n Humor n Obscenity? n Idioms, Proverbs

37 Interest in Language n Onze Taal - private foundation for language issues n Taalunie - government organization for questions of standards, technology n Algemeen Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal - 45K pages! World’s largest Dictionary. n Six regular language columns in newspapers

38 Interest in Language n Foreign languages –5 in college-prep. schools (gymnasia) n Excellent facility with English (even TV) n Foreigners trying to learn Dutch find it difficult to find Dutch who are willing (they all want to practice English) –but Dutch are critical of foreign residents “who don’t take the trouble to learn Dutch”

39 Culture & Coinage n vergadercultuur - ‘meetings culture’ n planologie - ‘urban planning’ n alle neuzen dezelfde kant op - ‘all noses in the same direction’ -- the goal of decision makers is consensus n wildplassen ‘urination outside usual facilities’ n maaiveld ‘mowing field’ - whatever pokes out above the rest is cut back –derogatory terms for show-offs, braggarts, etc - kapsones; kakkineus, elitair of dik doen; opscheppen; naast je schoenen lopen; spatjes hebben; jezelf op de borst kloppen

40 Culture and Coinage n gedoogbeleid - ‘policy of tolerance’, esp. w.r.t. soft drugs & sex, sometimes also w.r.t. zoning & safety n inspanningsverplichting - ‘responsibility to try’ n verworven rechten - ‘acquired rights’ n onthutst, verontwaardigd, verbijstert, ontgoocheld - lots of words covering indignation

41 Humor n About the Dutch - miserly –How to break up a demonstration? Pass a collection plate. –Why are Dutch nostrils so big? --The air is free. –What’s a Dutchman do if he wins the lottery? --Recounts the money. n In fact the Dutch donate generously

42 Dutch Humor n Strong “maaiveld” streak -- humor that cuts big shots down to size n “Gonzo” elements, free fantasy –Youp van ‘t Hek on Maxima even makes fun of the royal family (uncommon target)

43 Obscenity n lots of cursing, obscenity n focus on genital rather anal area n less sensitive –no “forbidden words” for radio, TV n Bond tegen het Vloeken ‘Anti-Cursing League’ campaigns in train stations

44 Idioms and Proverbs n Appreciated in speech and prose n Idioms often based on water and shipping n Water Dat zet geen zoden aan de dijk That sets no sod on the dike That doesn’t help. dode koeien uit het sloot halen Dead cows out of the trench haul Bring up painful memories van de wal in de sloot from the bank into the trench out of the frying pan, into the fire

45 Idioms and Proverbs n Idioms based on shipping, fishing tussen wal en schip vallen between shore and ship fall fall between the cracks de beste stuurlui staan aan de wal the best helmsmen stand ashore Talk is cheap Achter de net vissen behind the net fish go through the motions with little chance of success

46 Proverbs n Pieter Brueghel the Younger ( ) created a painting dedicated to Proverbs n Copied his father’s work n Many other versions -- popular topic

47

48 Dutch -- The Future n Unrest about influence of English –Minister of Education Ritzen proposed that universities switch to English (1993) –Lots of English in everyday Dutch Ik heb alle hits gedownload van de web I downloaded all the hits from the web –English “more attractive” in experiments, but not more reliable, knowledgeable n Will Dutch survive? --Unquestionably. Giftshop Marianne / Cadeauwinkel Marianne

49 A Bit of Gronings n Groningers known for laconic understatement n Het kon minder -- high praise n unlike Eng. ‘It could have been worse’ n My wish: when you summarize your stay here, you’ll want to say “Het kon minder” ‘It could have been less’


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