Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Is Dutch similar to German?
Atie: And are they mutually intelligible?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Ben Lee, a college student, is shopping in a bookstore with his friend, Sam Swinkels. Ben picks up the Dutch Classic,
Atie: De Ontdekking van de Hemel,
Michael: but finds it surprisingly hard to read. He turns to his friend Sam and asks,
"Is this in Dutch?"
Ben Lee: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Sam Swinkels: Nee, het is in het Duits.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Michael: "Is this in Dutch?"
Sam Swinkels: Nee, het is in het Duits.
Michael: "No, it's in German."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, Ben Lee asks, "Is this in Dutch?"
Atie: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Michael: to which Sam responds, "No, it's in German."
Atie: Nee, het is in het Duits.
Michael: On paper, the two languages might look alike, but how similar are they really? Let's take a closer look.
Michael: Dutch shares several similarities with German, which makes it easier to learn for native speakers of German or other Germanic languages. To give you an example, in terms of lexicon, German is about as similar to Dutch as Spanish is to Italian. Of course, there are also some significant differences.
Michael: First of all, pronunciation can be quite different between the two languages. In Dutch, the "G" sound is guttural,
Atie: G,
Michael: but the "G" sound in German is softer. Spelling and phonetics between the two languages also differ greatly. Unlike German, the combination "oe," for example, is pronounced as
Atie: oo
Michael: in Dutch, as in the English word "root," and the combination "sj" in Dutch creates the sound
Atie: sh.
Michael: When it comes to noun gender, Dutch is grammatically much simpler than German. Unlike the three genders of German nouns, Dutch nouns come in only one of two forms: common and neuter, where common can refer to both masculine and feminine nouns. This also means that all common nouns take the same indefinite article,
Atie: een.
Michael: On a final positive note, plural endings are also much simpler in Dutch. German has a range of plural endings that can be difficult for beginners to recall. Dutch, however, consistently uses only two plural endings:
Atie: -en and -s.
Michael: So whether you choose to learn both languages or just one, noting the similarities between Dutch and German while also keeping in mind the important differences will be useful so as to not confuse one language for the other.
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, "Is this in Dutch?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen again and repeat. Remember to focus on your pronunciation.
Atie: Is dit in het Nederlands?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Is dit in het Nederlands?
Michael: Let's move on to the second sentence. How do you say, "No, it's in German."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Nee, het is in het Duits.
Michael: Did you get it right this time? Listen again and repeat.
Atie: Nee, het is in het Duits.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Nee, het is in het Duits.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Did you know that the Dutch language has no grammatical cases, whereas the German language has four cases (nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive)?
Michael: Another interesting fact is that around 70% of Dutch people speak at least basic German, but less than 10% of Germans speak at least basic Dutch.
Michael: Fortunately for everyone, the Dutch and German languages are somewhat mutually intelligible, so basic communication should still be possible, even if communicating in another language, like English, isn't an option.

Outro

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

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