Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

#2 – Language: Cracking the Dutch Writing System
Writing System
Mies: Welcome to DutchPod101.com. All About Dutch lesson 2. Cracking the Dutch Writing System
Mies: Hey, everyone, welcome back. In this lesson Jacob and I are going to talk about something very close to Dutch hearts.
Jacob: Yes! The fantastic alphabet!
Mies: The Dutch writing system uses the Dutch Alphabet. The alphabet we use in the Netherlands is based on the Latin alphabet.
Jacob: The oldest examples of written Dutch are mostly religious books. The monks in the monasteries were the only ones who could write.
Mies: That is right, later there came people who had the job of writer and also the scientists needed to write. People like Joost van den Vondel and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.
Jacob: Between the 12Th and 14Th centuries the writing depended of the region you lived in. For example, the word “country,” in Dutch, land in Amsterdam was always written with a ‘t’ and in Utrecht with a ‘d’. The spelling was phonetic, meaning you write it like you hear it.
Mies: Yes, Nowadays the Dutch alphabet, based on the Latin alphabet, numbers 26 characters. Originally there were only 23. Any idea which ones were missing?
Jacob: To be honest I wouldn’t have a clue, I had never heard of this.
Mies; Well its true…the 3 missing letters were the j,u and w.
Jacob: Wow I wonder how they said the wrote words like “water”, “water” in English and “Utrecht”, which is a place name.
Mies: The oldest texts were written by hand. So the books in libraries were worth a fortune. In the 15Th century, the art of printing was invented
Jacob: I heard that already in the year 1000 a way of printing had been invented. One whole page was printed at the time – this is called Block print. It took a lot of time to make the print block.
Mies: Right and in the period of 1450-1500 they started to print with separated letters. It was a great success.
Jacob: I also heard that through this book printing the unity of the spelling was promoted.
Mies: Yes that is true. However the rules for spelling keep changing all the time. My mother learned to write the words “ vacation” and “ action” in Dutch with a C vacantie, en actie. I was taught to write these words with a K, vakantie and aktie.
Jacob: Yeah and nowadays I heard my brother’s children learn to write it with a C again.
Mies: Indeed the language is very dynamic.
Jacob: I think I will need a dictionary to check my spelling.
Mies: You can always use “ Dikke van Dale”
Jacob: What is that ?
Mies: It’s the most important dictionary of the modern Dutch language the “Van Dale groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal”, more commonly referred to as the Dikke van Dale ("dik" is Dutch for "fat" or "thick", “van Dale” is the name of the publisher)
Jacob: Yes, and the development and spread of the language to other countries is also amazing!
Mies: I agree, like we learned before the Dutch have itchy feet and like to travel. Take for example Japan.
Jacob: Huh are you gonna tell me now that the Japanese write in Dutch too?
Mies: I’m gonna tell you that indeed.
Jacob: You have got to be kidding me.
Mies: Not kidding. From about 1600~1850 the Dutch were the only ones who could trade with Japan. During that time about 3000 Dutch words were adopted by the Japanese. Now there are about 160 Dutch words in use in the Japanese language.
Jacob: I’m learning a lot of new things here.
Mies: Lets have a look at the use of the alphabet. There are some letter combinations you won’t find in English.
Jacob: Yes like “oe” in the word “ boek”, “book”.
Mies: sounds the same but spelled differently.
Jacob: There are more we have the combo “ij” which sounds like “y”
Mies: The Dutch language has a relatively high proportion of doubled letters, both vowels and consonants.
Jacob: like “oo” in “boom”, tree and “uu” in muur “wall” or “ee” in “veel” a lot.
Mies: want to hear another great example?
Jacob: sure bring it on.
Mies: voorraaddoos (supply box). An example of five consecutive doubled letters.
Jacob: ha ha , nice one.
Mies: Well I think we studied quite a lot today.
Jacob: Yes, and remember, the Dutch writing might be a bit hard at times, but you can always grab a Dikke van Dale.
Mies: And a lot of people really enjoy learning it. Learn the Dutch alphabet with us here at DutchPod101.com.
Jacob: Thank you for listening!
Mies: Bye!
Jacob: Doei!