Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Is Belgian Dutch different from Netherlands Dutch?
Atie: And what are the differences?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Ben Lee and Inge Iedema are friends and they are together in a restaurant in Brussels. Ben sees an unfamiliar item on the menu, so he looks to Inge and asks,
"What is a 'croque monsieur'?"
Ben Lee: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Inge Iedema: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Michael: "What is a 'croque monsieur'?"
Inge Iedema: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
Michael: "It's a grilled cheese sandwich in Flemish."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, Ben Lee asks the question, "What is a 'croque monsieur'?"
Atie: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Michael: to which Inge responds, "It's a grilled cheese sandwich in Flemish."
Atie: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
Michael: Now that you know that Dutch is spoken in many different countries, you may be interested to learn how the language varies in each region that it's spoken. In this lesson, we will focus on the similarities and differences between Belgian Dutch and Netherlands Dutch.
Michael: To begin, let's cover a little background information on the Dutch language. Like English, Dutch has its roots in the West Germanic languages. Despite this, however, Dutch is in many ways closer to the Scandinavian languages than it is to English. Among the approximately 23 million Dutch speakers worldwide, most of the native speakers in Europe live in either the Netherlands or Belgium. The variety of Dutch predominantly spoken in the northern region of Belgium, known as Flanders, is referred to as Flemish.
Michael: So what exactly are the differences between Dutch, as spoken in the Netherlands, and Belgium Dutch, or Flemish? One of the most obvious differences between Flemish and Dutch is pronunciation. For example, the letter "g" has a strong guttural sound. in the Netherlands,
Atie: g (Dutch),
Michael: but a much softer sound in Flemish,
Atie: g (Flemish),
Michael: The more you travel south in the Netherlands, the softer the letter "g" will sound. In Dutch, the "soft g" is called
Atie: "zachte g"
Michael: and the "hard g" is called
Atie: "harde g."
Michael: Similarly, the "v" sound in Flemish is much softer, and closer to an "f" sound, than it is in standard Dutch. As an example, listen now to a phrase meaning "Let me see," first in a Dutch accent and then in a Flemish accent:
Atie: even kijken
Atie: even kijken
Michael: In addition to pronunciation, intonation also differs greatly between the Dutch dialects. In general, Flemish tends to be softer and rounder, with a more melodic intonation than standard Dutch.
Michael: Yet another difference can be seen in the formal and informal use of the word for "you." In the Netherlands, use of the formal
Atie: U
Michael: has become virtually obsolete. Dutch speakers in the Netherlands will use the informal "you," or
Atie: je,
Michael: when speaking with friends and family, and only use the formal
Atie: U
Michael: when speaking with strangers, in formal settings, or when speaking with a person who is considerably older. In Belgium, however, it is still common to use the formal "you," even when speaking with friends and family.
Michael: The final area that we will touch upon in which the two dialects differ is in vocabulary. Because Flemish speakers are exposed to Belgium's other official language, French, Flemish has, as a result, been influenced by French in many ways. Take the Flemish word for "a grilled cheese sandwich":
Atie: een croque monsieur.
Michael: This Flemish word was based on a French word, "croque monsieur."
Michael: As another example, consider the word for "garage door": Flemish speakers would say
Atie: garagepoort,
Michael: which is similar to the word for "door" in French, whereas Dutch speakers would say
Atie: garagedeur.
Michael: As a Dutch language learner, you may first want to focus your attention on just one Dutch-speaking country. However, once you start becoming more confident with your language skills, we believe it is a good idea to study and experiment a bit with the other varieties of Dutch.
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review the sample conversation: Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud, and then listen carefully as Atie models the correct answer. Repeat after her, with the focus on your pronunciation. Are you ready?
How do you say, "What is a 'croque monsieur'?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen again and repeat. Remember to focus on your pronunciation.
Atie: Wat is een croque monsieur?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Wat is een croque monsieur?
Michael: Let's move on to the second sentence. How do you say, "It's a grilled cheese sandwich in Flemish."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
Michael: Did you get it right this time? Listen again and repeat.
Atie: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Dat is een tosti in het Vlaams.
Cultural Insight/Expansion>
Michael: Using the informal Dutch word for "you,"
Atie: je,
Michael: is called
Atie: "tutoyeren"
Michael: in Dutch. Deciding whether to address a person in a formal or informal way is a personal choice. The important thing to remember is to be consistent when it comes to using formal or informal language.

Outro

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

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