How to Learn Key Phrases in Dutch

Dutch is a pretty hard language if you don't know anything about it. Here are some regular phrases.

Steps

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    Note that the A is either pronounced as the u in "hut", or as the a in "vase". The E is pronounced either as a mute e (the 'uh' sound sometimes used in buttER), as the e in "set" or as the ay in "may". The letters are pronounced differently depending on where in a word they lie - something important to realise is that if a word ends in a single e, that e will be mute (like in buttER). Note that the J is always pronounced as the Y in "Yankees"
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    Start a conversation with "Hallo" (Ha(w)llo). More casual is "Hoi","Hai" or "Hey". In the Achterhoek they say "MĂ´gge"
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    If you want to introduce yourself, say "Ik heet" (iK hate) followed by your name. Note that the "i" in "ik" is pronounced as the "i" in "bin".
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    Yes becomes "Ja". (Ya(w))
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    No becomes "Nee" (Nay)
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    "Thank you" is "Dank je". (Da(w)nk Yuh). "wel" can be added to the end of this expression to convey the English phrase "very much".
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    "Please" is "Alstublieft" (A(w)l-stew-bleeft).
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    If you want to order something in a restaurant, start with "Kan ik" (Ca(w)n iK) [insert order] "Bestellen" (Buhs-tel-luhn). (NOTE: Politer is "Mag ik" but you'll probably starve before you can pronounce the dutch "G".)
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    If you can't find a museum, just ask "Waar is het museum." (wAAr is hat muu-zay-uhm). Note that the AA is pronounced as a German A, for example in "mAchen".
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    Looking for a place to drink? Simply say "Waar kan je iets drinken?" (wAAr Cawn Yuh EEts drink-uhn)
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    Now isn't Dutch a beautiful language? If you feel all icky-and-chilly-and-scared, just learn this one sentence; "Spreekt u Engels?" (Spraked ew Ang-uhls). If you can't even remember this, just ask "Do you speak English?". Because 90% of the population does. Just don't let the accent scare you away.

Common Phrases

English Dutch
How are you? Hoe gaat het?
I like you! Ik vind je leuk!
What time is it? Hoe laat is het?
I'm going home. Ik ga naar huis.
Thank you. Dankuwel.
Yes, I would love to! Ja, graag!
See you later! Zie je later!
I love you. Ik hou van jou.
Are you hungry? Heb je honger?
Can I borrow some money? Kan ik wat geld lenen?
See you tomorrow! Tot morgen!

Tips

  • Don't underestimate the power of body language. Pointing, drawing, gesturing and pantomiming will all help you get your point across language travel books; very okay. Find them at the national airport Schiphol (or as you say; Skiphole) for example.
  • If you carry around a small phrase book or dictionary, you can look up words you don't know - and even point to them if you can't pronounce them.
  • The pronunciation can be confusing, but the Dutch will be happy to help you out, so never be afraid to ask.
  • The phonetic spellings above are only approximations of the French pronunciations. If you pronounce these words while pretending to be Pepe Le Pew, you'll probably be pretty close.
  • Again: You can always ask people in the Netherlands or Flanders whether they speak English. The responses will amaze you!

Article Info

Categories: Dutch