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Lesson Transcript

Michael: How do you greet someone at different times of the day?
Atie: And are there any alternatives?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following situation, Ben Lee is greeting his friend, but he hasn't noticed how late it is. Ben says, "Good morning!"
Ben Lee: Goedemorgen!
Ben Lee: Goedemorgen!
Sam Swinkels: Het is al één uur. Goedemiddag!
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Goedemorgen!
Michael: "Good morning!"
Sam Swinkels: Het is al één uur. Goedemiddag!
Michael: "It's already one o'clock. Good afternoon!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will be looking at how to greet someone at different times of the day, in Dutch. We will also check out some alternatives to these time-based greetings. Let's begin at the beginning with how to say "good morning" in Dutch:
Atie: goedemorgen
Michael: This word is composed of two others:
Atie: goede
Michael: meaning "good," and
Atie: morgen
Michael: meaning "morning."
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "Good morning?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Atie as Ben Lee: Goedemorgen!
Michael: Naturally, one uses it in the morning. But, as it turns out, it's later than that so his friend responds in the following way:
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Sam Swinkels says "It's already one o'clock. Good afternoon?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Atie as Sam Swinkels: Het is al één uur. Goedemiddag!
Michael: After midday, or noon, one can use the greeting:
Atie: goedemiddag
Michael: This is composed of the words:
Atie: goede
Michael: which, as we've already mentioned, means "good," and
Atie: middag
Michael: which means "afternoon." Combined into one word, they mean the same as the English "good afternoon." This expression is used between noon and six in the evening. As you will have guessed, the next greeting means "good evening" and it sounds like this:
Atie: goedenavond
Michael: By now, you will recognise the word meaning "good" and you will have guessed that
Atie: avond
Michael: means "evening." Dutch people use this greeting from about 6:00 p.m. onwards.
The next logical greeting to discuss is the one that means "good night," but, before we get to that, I must point out that, up to this point, all the greetings we've discussed are ways of saying "hello." When one says "good night" in English, it is invariably in the context of a farewell, a form of "goodbye." It is the same in Dutch, but one can also use it as a form of "hello" if you are greeting someone during the hours between midnight and six in the morning. For these reasons, it stands out from the other greetings I have mentioned thus far. One says "good night" in Dutch, like this:
Atie: goedenacht
Michael: The word for "night" is:
Atie: nacht
Michael: We will discuss other greetings that are used exclusively for farewells in a moment. Before we get to that, let's have a look at a time-based greeting that is less specific than those we have discussed until now. It sounds like this:
Atie: goedendag
Michael: This greeting means "good day" and is generally used between mid-morning and early evening. It would seem a little odd to use when it is already dark in the evening, or during the early hours of the morning. A similar greeting is the simple:
Atie: dag
Michael: This literally means "day" and, conveniently, it can be used as both a form of "hello" and a form of "goodbye." It is not commonly used in formal situations. Speaking of formal and informal, there are alternatives to some of the greetings we have discussed that are slightly less formal but quite commonly used. An alternative "good morning" is this one:
Atie: goeiemorgen
Michael: As you can hear, the part of the word that refers to the time has not changed, but the word meaning "good" is now:
Atie: goeie
Michael: Instead of:
Atie: goede
Michael: Similarly, another way of saying "good afternoon" is like this:
Atie: goeiemiddag
Michael: Then, there is "good evening":
Atie: goeienavond
Michael: and finally "good night":
Atie: goeienacht
Michael: As I mentioned, these are more informal than the first time-based greetings I talked about. Let's now look at some greetings that are not time-based. One of the most common of these is quite easy to remember because it is so similar to the English "hello." It sounds like this:
Atie: hallo
Michael: You can use this greeting at any time of the day, and in the same way that the English "hello" is used. Another common greeting is:
Atie: hoi
Michael: This is similar to the word "hi" in English and is quite a casual, informal greeting. Another casual greeting that you can use is the word:
Atie: hé
Michael: It is the Dutch way of saying:
Atie: hey
Michael: which is also often used instead of a time-based greeting and means the same as "hi" or "hello." That means we have now looked at four different ways to say "hello," but what about when we want to say "goodbye" to someone? As I mentioned before, one of your options is to say:
Atie: dag
Michael: and another is to say:
Atie: goedenacht
Michael: but there are other greetings which are not so time-bound. A common way to say "goodbye" in an informal setting is to say:
Atie: doei
Michael: You could, for instance, use it when saying goodbye to colleagues at the end of a day at work. Consider this example:
Atie: Doei! Heb een goede avond.
Michael: which means "Bye! Have a good evening!" If you want to be safe in both formal and informal situations, perhaps your best option for saying goodbye is:
Atie: tot ziens
Michael: This means "goodbye" but a direct translation would be "Till see," which means "Till we see each other again." If you are likely to see the person later in the same day again, you could say:
Atie: tot straks
Michael: This means "see you later." If you are going to see them soon, but you're not sure when exactly, you could say:
Atie: tot zo
Michael: This means "see you soon." This and the other greetings we have discussed thus far are used all over the Netherlands. You will have no problem using them in any region of the country.
Michael: In this lesson, we learned that there are several time-based greetings which are polite and can be used anywhere in the Netherlands. These are:
Atie: goedemorgen
Michael: meaning "good morning" and which, naturally, is used in the morning,
Atie: goedemiddag
Michael: which means "good afternoon" and,
Atie: goedenavond
Michael: meaning "good evening." The greeting:
Atie: goedenacht
Michael: is generally only used as a form of "goodbye." Two common greetings which are not time-based are:
Atie: hoi
Michael: which is similar to the English "hi" and
Atie: hallo
Michael: which is similar to the English "hello."
You can use these greetings anywhere in the Netherlands.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: We've discussed greetings that can be used anywhere in the Netherlands but some greetings are specific to certain regions. For instance, in the province of North Holland, people use the greeting:
Atie: morrie
Michael: to mean "good morning," "good afternoon," and even "hello." However, if you are travelling in Groningen and it is morning, you might hear people greeting each other with:
Atie: moi
Michael: Some greetings might seem more strange than others to a foreigner. For instance, in Brabant, you might hear people greeting each other with the word:
Atie: euuuj
Michael: The spelling of this word is so unusual that I really want to share it with you. It's spelled: E-U-U-U-J. That's definitely not the kind of spelling you see every day! It is spelled this way to make it clear that the pronunciation is very long. Here's another one that's also spelled quite strangely. You might hear it if you are in the southwest part of the Netherlands. It sounds like this:
Atie: huijj
Michael: And it is spelled: H-U-I-J-J—not as unusual as that last one, but still worth mentioning. Another rather unusual-sounding greeting is this one:
Atie: Goojendaag
Michael: It is not uncommon to hear it in the areas around Maastricht and it means "good day, hey." Let's end with a greeting that doesn't sound quite so unusual:
Atie: alo
Michael: You might be greeted with this by people using the regional dialect in the city of Tilburg.
It is good to know these regional variations so that, if you hear them, you aren't confused. But, don't worry, wherever you go in the Netherlands, you will be able to use the first few greetings we discussed and you will be understood.


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