gerunds

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Here you can ask anything about Dutch articles ('de', 'het', 'een'), how to make plural nouns, how to make nouns small (diminutives), compound nouns, and everything else related to nouns and articles.
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Tom Rainbow
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gerunds

Post by Tom Rainbow » Wed May 27, 2015 2:56 pm

Hallo - when using the infinitive as a gerund or verbal noun, is the article always "het"?

Crecker
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Re: gerunds

Post by Crecker » Wed May 27, 2015 5:38 pm

Hello, Tom!

I am not a native speaker, but I would say yes (with some exceptions in specific contexts inherited from old Dutch).

Have a look at the following links:
http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Ot10
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Dutch/Lesson_14#Gerunds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_grammar#Gerund

Also, if your Dutch skills are quite good, there's this page:
http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerundium

Anyway, I would wait for a native speaker too, who will probably give you a more accurate answer. :)
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Re: gerunds

Post by Teodor » Wed May 27, 2015 5:57 pm

Tom Rainbow wrote:Hallo - when using the infinitive as a gerund or verbal noun, is the article always "het"?
If your question is: if there's an article, is it always 'het'? - the answer is: yes.

However, an article is not always used. One of the links Crecker showed mentioned these two examples:

- singing is healthy – zingen is gezond
- the singing finally ended – het zingen hield eindelijk op

Perhaps others have a more systematic/reasoned explanation, but I'm inclined to explain it as follows: when 'het' is used, one is referring to a specific act (in this case: a specific act of singing); without it, it refers to a general rule. Knowledge of English will probably prove to be useful in such cases.

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Re: gerunds

Post by ngonyama » Thu May 28, 2015 4:38 pm

The article can even be indefinite:

Hij zette het op een brullen - something like ~ He resorted to an awful howling

Gerunds are nouns and as all other nouns they can take definite of indefinite articles or take no article at all. But yes a Dutch gerund is always a het-word, i.e. it has neuter gender. For other nouns of action (verbal nouns) that is not true. The ones on -ing e.g. are always feminine.

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Re: gerunds

Post by Tom Rainbow » Thu May 28, 2015 5:53 pm

Thanks very much everybody - sorted!

Tom Rainbow.

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Re: gerunds

Post by Teodor » Thu May 28, 2015 7:30 pm

ngonyama wrote:The article can even be indefinite:

Hij zette het op een brullen - something like ~ He resorted to an awful howling

Gerunds are nouns and as all other nouns they can take definite of indefinite articles or take no article at all.
That's true; didn't think about that.

There is still one grammatical feature that distinguishes gerunds from normal Dutch nouns: they're always singular, never plural. (I assume that there's at least one parallel universe where plural Dutch gerunds would be possible - e.g. where one could say de zingens when referring to different acts or ways of walking or running. But alas, we're stuck in this universe!)

An exception is 'het leven': one can say 'de levens', because it has evolved into a 'real' noun in its own right. I guess there might be other examples as well, though none come to mind at the moment, except 'het wezen'.

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Re: gerunds

Post by ngonyama » Fri May 29, 2015 6:13 am

So ''het bod'' is not a 'real noun', because it does not have a plural?

A number of nouns of action don't, like de wraak, de teelt, de komst, het genot

It has always intrigued me. Many of the do, e.g het gebod - de geboden. Maybe they only develop them when the need arises?

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Re: gerunds

Post by Teodor » Fri May 29, 2015 7:01 am

ngonyama wrote:So ''het bod'' is not a 'real noun', because it does not have a plural?
I didn't say you have to have a plural in order to be a noun... I did say that normal (as in: the majority of) Dutch nouns have plurals; that doesn't imply that those who haven't, aren't nouns.

(I did use the word real later on, but there's a reason why I put the word between quotation marks...)
A number of nouns of action don't, like de wraak, de teelt, de komst, het genot
Teelt does have a plural: teelten, which results in several thousands Google hits (example) :-?

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Re: gerunds

Post by ngonyama » Fri May 29, 2015 7:49 pm

Maybe the need has arisen to create a plural?

My point is that verbal nouns seem to come to life as singular only. Probably because they refer to an abstract concept like het genot = the fact that you are enjoying something. But once you start distinguishing various kinds of enjoyment (in this case), the concept becomes countable and that easily necessitates a plural.

I was once asked by a Dutch Muslim what the plural of genot was to translate the many joys of paradise. :? I resorted to geneugte - geneugtes

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