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Lesson Transcript

Hallo allemaal! Ik ben Gabriella. Hi everybody! I’m Gabriella.
Welcome to DutchPod101.com’s “Nederlands in 3 minuten”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Dutch.
In the last lesson, we learned how to use the verb komen.
We will now jump into our lessons dedicated to question words in Dutch. The first is one of the most commonly used question words, and it is "What." You’ll see that it in Dutch, it’s actually very similar to English, wat.
So imagine you want to ask your friend "What are you doing?" How will you do it?
You will ask Wat ben je aan het doen?
[slowly] Wat ben je aan het doen?
So let’s break down this question.
Wat is "What" in Dutch.
Ben je means “are you”. Ben is a conjugation of the verb zijn, “to be”.
Aan het can be literally translated as “on it” in English. This might puzzle you a little, but aan het is a crucial part of this Dutch expression. Finally, doen is the verb “to do”. So, altogether it is Wat ben je aan het doen?
“What are you doing?”
As you may have noticed, we already learned a similar question a few lessons ago, but it was slightly different. Wat ga je doen? which means “What are you going to do?” In fact, there are several other ways to pose the same question, but the most important thing is that all of them start with wat.
The rule is simple - in Dutch, wat will always be the first word in the sentence when asking a “what” question.
If you want to ask someone’s name, you could ask Hoe heet jij? Which literally means “How are you called?” But you could also say-
Wat is jouw naam?
[slowly] Wat is jouw naam?
Here, wat is the first word, followed by "is" which is the same as the English “is”.
And finally comes je naam, which means “your name”.
Asking “what is this?”, or “what is that?” is as easy as in English. Just say
Wat is dit? Or Wat is dat?
[slowly] Wat is dit? Wat is dat?
Also, we can use wat when we ask about peoples’ preferences.
Wat is je favoriete eten?
[slowly] Wat is je favoriete eten?
It means “What is your favorite food?”
I bet you already know how to answer this! You can use the phrase that we’ve already learned before - Ik hou van... “I like…”
Now it’s time for Gabriella's Insights.
On its own, wat is a heavily used expression in Dutch. Wat? Like the English equivalent “What?”, this is used when you’re really surprised. But you can also use it when you didn’t understand what somebody just said: Wat? Be careful though; wat? is informal language, so you cannot use it by itself in formal situations. It’s an incredibly practical expression to have, though, when you’re around Dutch people.
Before ending this lesson, let’s look at one more use for wat, a question you will likely hear quite often in the Netherlands. “What do you want?” Wat wil je hebben?
[slowly] Wat wil je hebben?
You will undoubtedly hear it when people are serving you food, in restaurants, cafés, and so on. So remember it in case someone asks.
In this lesson, we learned the Dutch word for “what”. It’s a simple word, yet its usage is wide and you might have a hard time remembering all the different questions you can ask, but don’t worry, you just need practice!
In the next lesson, we’ll talk about the question word "Where".
Do you know it already? I can promise it’s just as easy as "what"!
I’ll be waiting for you in the next Nederlands in 3 minuten lesson.
Tot ziens!