I was hoping to post this week about the amazing garbage collection system – but I didn’t get the photos I wanted so I am sad to tell you, you will have to wait to hear about my trash. In the meantime, there are a few things about the Dutch language that I find delightful and I think you might find amusing as well.
When we arrived we did not yet have a bank account set up, so we had some trouble accessing our money. When you are starting your whole life over, finances are a bit of a necessity. Before we had our Rabobank appointment, we were able to borrow some cash from family and do some tricky transferring and gained access to a little more to get us by. I noticed right away, that in the Dutch language, the word “cash” is used as an adjective. Therefor, when referring to cash, they say “cash money”, instead of just “cash” like we would say in English. It makes me smile every time, as what I picture is my Dutch family adorned in bling and waving their cash money in the air (like they just don’t care yo!)
In fact, even now, in the hospital waiting room, I am bouncing in my seat thinking up random gangster style rap songs about cash money, and honeys, and gold hubcaps…etc. I shared this with the family and showed them appropriate images such as the following:
Ok I could keep going on forever so I digress…it’s the simple things.
I love the use of diminutives in this culture – and I think they love it too because I hear it a lot! In case you don’t know what I mean, a diminutive creates a meaning of “small”, “little”, or even just cuter version of an object. In English we might call a cat a “kitty”, a rain drop a “droplet”, or your boyfriend Matthew, “Matty”.
In Dutch you can add the diminutive “je” “tje” or “pje” (sounds like “chuh” to the end of just about anything to make it cuter, smaller, or sweeter. For example a rabbit is “konijn” – and for a little bunny you would say “konijntje”. A dog, which is “hond” would become “hondje”. The other day I was describing the lip on the new milk frother we purchased, and it was referred to as a “mondje” – or little mouth.
I think there are also some words which have sort of taken on their own meaning where it wouldn’t make sense to say them without the diminutive. The only one I know of so far is “toetje”, which means dessert or literally “a little something after” i think. I should also note that it doesn’t sound like the English pronunciation of “toe” because that is not I word a want associated with my dessert. It sounds more like “tuu” or “tuuchah”
There are grammar rules for how to do this for different types of words for anyone nerdy enough to be interested.
This is not a new one for me, or anyone familiar with the Dutch language or culture – but for the rest of you…Gezellig is a word that has no literal translation in English, and no English word really means the same thing. Pronounced “heh-sell-ick”, it is more of a feeling or an atmosphere. Imagine you are out with close friends, and you wander into a hole-in-the-wall restaurant you’ve just discovered. The food turns out to be simple and delicious, the wine menu is amazing and you are cozy and chatting, having a great time and…..yep thats it! That is gezellig. For more examples, check out DutchAmersterdam.nl.
I will leave you with some photos of mine from Portland and Europe that make me feel gezellig…