Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

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

Michael: What are interjections?
Atie: And are they commonly used in Dutch?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Ben Lee is calling his friend to tell them he is late. He says, "Unfortunately, I missed the bus and now it's starting to rain as well, yuck."
Ben Lee: Helaas, ik heb de bus gemist en nu begint het ook nog te regenen, bah.
Ben Lee: Helaas, ik heb de bus gemist en nu begint het ook nog te regenen, bah.
Stefanie Swinkels: Nee toch!
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Helaas, ik heb de bus gemist en nu begint het ook nog te regenen, bah.
Michael: "Unfortunately, I missed the bus and now it's starting to rain as well, yuck."
Stefanie Swinkels: Nee toch!
Michael: "Oh no! "

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will be looking at the topic of interjections and discussing their usage in Dutch.
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue. Do you remember how Ben Lee says "Unfortunately, I missed the bus and now it's starting to rain as well, yuck."
(pause 4 seconds)
Atie as Ben Lee: Helaas, ik heb de bus gemist en nu begint het ook nog te regenen, bah.
Michael: In this sentence, Ben Lee uses the interjection,
Atie: Bah!
Michael: This word in English carries the same meaning as it does in Dutch—one uses it when one wants to express frustration or dislike or a combination of both.
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence. Do you remember how Stefanie Swinkels says "Oh no?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Atie as Stefanie Swinkels: Nee toch!
Michael: Here, Stefanie is saying, "Oh no!." This simple example is the exclamation, "Oh no!" This is an interjection because, as is suggested by the name "interjection," it is an expression that is inserted or "injected" into speech. The prefix "inter" means "between" or "among" and this is also apt because interjections are often inserted between or among other words or phrases. For instance, I could say, "Oh no, I've burnt the toast!" In Dutch, this same expression would be:
Atie: [NORMAL] Nee toch! Ik heb de toast verbrand. [SLOWLY] Nee toch! Ik heb de toast verbrand.
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Interjections can also stand on their own. If someone tells me they've burnt the toast, I could reply with a simple, "Oh no!" or, in Dutch,
Atie: Nee toch!
Michael: Another useful way to understand what interjections are is to compare them to emojis, such as the ones many people use while sending text messages on their phones. Interjections are really the verbal equivalent of emojis because they also express a feeling or a spontaneous reaction to something in a very economical way.
Interjections are very common in Dutch, but most people who study Dutch will find that interjections are only dealt with in passing, if at all. The reason for this is that interjections are seen to be separate from the usual grammar of a sentence. In other words they don't follow the usual grammatical rules for sentence structure. While there may be some truth to this, we at DutchPod101.com feel that to neglect the study of interjections is to ignore a vital part of the language.
Interjections often contribute to the character of a language and add color to it. For instance, when you have a feeling that you want to express spontaneously, it is often much more appropriate and expressive to use an interjection instead of a sentence. Imagine if I responded to someone burning the toast by saying, "That is a very unfortunate occurrence,"
Atie: Dat is een zeer ongelukkig voorval,
Michael: as opposed to saying, "Oh no!."
Atie: Nee toch!
Michael: With interjections, you can actually say more by saying less!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Now, let's look at other interjections, and these are divided into those that express emotional content and those that don't. Interjections that express a lot of emotion are swear words, for instance, but we won't discuss those here. Instead, here is an example of an interjection that conveys emotion:
Atie: [NORMAL] au [SLOWLY] au
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: This one means "ouch." You might usually exclaim this when you get hurt, or are feeling sorry for yourself in response to getting hurt. If you are feeling sorry for someone else you could say, "Oh poor him!"
Atie: [NORMAL] Och arme! [SLOWLY] Och arme!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Interjections that don't convey as much emotion are ones like
Atie: [NORMAL] Foei! [SLOWLY] Foei!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: and
Atie: [NORMAL] Ja! [SLOWLY] Ja!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: meaning "Shame on you!" and "Yes!" respectively. These are classified as announcements, meaning that they do not prompt for a response of any sort, be it verbal or in terms of action. They are rhetorical. Some of the non-emotional interjections are also classified as orders. An example of an order would be the Dutch interjection meaning "Stop!."
Atie: [NORMAL] Ho! [SLOWLY] Ho!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Then there are the interjections that are classified as questions, such as the one meaning "Not so?" or "Isn't it?" It sounds like this:
Atie: [NORMAL] Nietwaar? [SLOWLY] Nietwaar?
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Greetings such as "good morning" fit into the class of "social formulas." These are interjections that we use on a regular basis in social contexts. In Dutch, one says "Good morning!" like this:
Atie: [NORMAL] Goedemorgen! [SLOWLY] Goedemorgen!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: Another interjection that is classified as a social formula is the word
Atie: [NORMAL] Proost! [SLOWLY] Proost!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: This is the interjection one uses to toast, when drinking alcohol, and it is derived from Latin, which roughly means "may it be well." If you are familiar with the German word "Gesundheit!," you might recognise this next Dutch interjection, which is also classified as a social formula:
Atie: [NORMAL] Gezondheid! [SLOWLY] Gezondheid!
[Pause 3 seconds.]
Michael: This word, translated directly into English, means "health" but, as an interjection, it is used in the same way the English interjection "Bless you!" is used after someone sneezes.
We have now discussed a number of interjections in Dutch. I encourage you to learn as many as you can because, as I said earlier, knowing the interjections will add colour and expressiveness to your communications in Dutch. They will also help you to sound just that much more like a native speaker!
Michael: In this lesson, we talked about Dutch interjections. There are three major classifications of Dutch interjections. One classification consists of interjections that are onomatopoeic, meaning they resemble sounds. Then, there are interjections that convey meaning. This class consists of those that convey emotion and those that don't.
It's a good idea to learn as many interjections as you can so that you can express yourself more fully and effectively in Dutch.
Michael: Until now, we have talked about interjections that can be placed at the end of a sentence, but we haven't yet mentioned any that can be used in the middle of a sentence. It is in compound sentences, for the most part, that one is likely to find an interjection of this type. An example is the word
Atie: hoor
Michael: which translates, roughly, to "you know." It can be used in a compound sentence such as this one:
Atie: Ik kom niet, hoor, want ik heb het erg druk.
Michael: This means, "I'm not coming, you know, because I'm very busy." It is used in this sentence as a way to confirm information that is being provided. Of course, just because it can be used in the middle of a compound sentence doesn't mean it can't also be used at the end of a sentence. Here's the same sentence but with the interjection at the end.
Atie: Ik kom niet, want ik heb het erg druk, hoor.
Michael: This translates to, "I'm not coming, because I'm very busy, you know."
And now you know another way to use interjections.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Atie: Doei!
Michael: See you soon!