Strange confessions

Funny stories about your learning experiences. Mondegreens, Silly mistakes, Jokes, Riddles and all kinds of fun stuff. Strange things you noticed about differences and similarities between Dutch and English (or German, French, Swahili, ..).
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EetSmakelijk
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Post by EetSmakelijk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:45 am

Hoi, Allemaal.
I have a sort of funny story to tell of my difficulties with Dutch.
You know the interjecton "hoor", right? I mean, every Dutch person uses it a lot "nee hoor! "ja hoor!" "sorry hoor!" enzovoort...
That's ok when I write  it, but when my poor twisted tongetje tries to say it??? Well, it's sort of sounds like a kind of interjectio you might use when you taste sour milk... Goor!
You see, my g sneaking into my h sort of gets me into trouble sometimes, so I end up saying some rather unintended woordjes.
Yeah, funny, but very :oops: if you are trying to use the interjection "hoor" to make people more comfortable, or whatever, it just has so many uses that I don't want it to become "goor".
That is my confession, maybe some day my tongue will get the difference between g and h and I'll stop having to say that everything is "goor".
"Gooroetjes",
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Post by BeDeKe » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:03 pm

Our local priest has the same difficulty with the g/h  (and he is Belgian).  So every time during the Mass when he is talking about the "holy ghost"="Heilige Geest" he ends up saying "Geilige Geest", which is something along the lines of "horny ghost"...
Het is toch raar dat mijn neus loopt en mijn voeten ruiken...

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Post by EetSmakelijk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:01 pm

Hoi BeDeKe,
Wow, and I thought my story was :oops: but no, there are worse mispronunciations than mine.
Thanks for that, I guess I better not try to say that.
Groetjes,
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Post by EetSmakelijk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:37 pm

I sort of have a solution to the g and h problem. It doesn't work perfectly, and I still do not pronounce words the way Dutch people do, but it would avoid some very :oops: mistakes... I sometimes leave off the h if saying a g by mistake would make the word :oops: fr example, instead of nee goor I'll now say nee oor, oor only means ear as far as I know, which isn't as bad as goor in my oppinion. :P
Again, this is not perfect, the ideal situation would be if I could just get my tongue to say h for h, and g for g, but noooooooooo. :P
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Post by Snoezig » Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:18 pm

EetSmakelijk wrote:I sort of have a solution to the g and h problem. It doesn't work perfectly, and I still do not pronounce words the way Dutch people do, but it would avoid some very :oops: mistakes... I sometimes leave off the h if saying a g by mistake would make the word :oops: fr example, instead of nee goor I'll now say nee oor, oor only means ear as far as I know, which isn't as bad as goor in my oppinion. :P
Again, this is not perfect, the ideal situation would be if I could just get my tongue to say h for h, and g for g, but noooooooooo. :P
Groetjes,
Sounds like you're in good company :-D In "Dutch: A Comprehensive Grammar", Bruce Donaldson writes, "Many Flemings drop their h's... This means that "een gele hoed" can sound like "een hele oed."

Groetjes,
snoezig  :)

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Post by BeDeKe » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:30 pm

In my opinion Mr. Donaldson is mixing some dialects.  In the west people indeed use an h for a g (which makes a game where you have to trade "hout" and "goud" rather confusing) but they seem to like this h sound a lot and don't drop it.  And if you go more to the east people will  pronounce g and h differently, and sometimes drop the h, but only if they are making the connection between words: "het-eten / met-(h)et-eten" but "met het eten" when not connecting the words.
Returning to your example there is another problem, since "hoed" is male, in dialect the adjective will end in an n giving "ne-gelen-oed" or (I'm guessing) in the west "ne helen hoed".  so I think you should stick to the official Dutch, or one dialect, but anyway, if you're consistent in your (miss-)pronunciation most people will (eventually) understand you :)
Het is toch raar dat mijn neus loopt en mijn voeten ruiken...

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Post by EetSmakelijk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:52 pm

"but anyway, if you're consistent in your (miss-)pronunciation most people will (eventually)
understand you :)"
Hahahaha, that's all I want, and not to :oops: myself with some rude word or funny sentence by mistake. :P
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Post by Snoezig » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:14 pm

BeDeKe wrote:In my opinion Mr. Donaldson is mixing some dialects.  In the west people indeed use an h for a g (which makes a game where you have to trade "hout" and "goud" rather confusing) but they seem to like this h sound a lot and don't drop it.  And if you go more to the east people will  pronounce g and h differently, and sometimes drop the h, but only if they are making the connection between words: "het-eten / met-(h)et-eten" but "met het eten" when not connecting the words.
Returning to your example there is another problem, since "hoed" is male, in dialect the adjective will end in an n giving "ne-gelen-oed" or (I'm guessing) in the west "ne helen hoed".  so I think you should stick to the official Dutch, or one dialect, but anyway, if you're consistent in your (miss-)pronunciation most people will (eventually) understand you :)
Hoi, I'm sure you are quite right -- that particular section of the book is extremely superficial, to say the least, but I assume his assumption is that those reading the book will have little if any interest in such differences. He does discuss "gij/ge" but as far as I can tell this is not a book for those of us interested in language variation.
Helaas!

Hartelijk bedankt, BeDeKe  :lol:

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Post by Dora » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:27 pm

I agree that an accent is simply a consistent mispronunciation. :-)

Any speaker should have the following priorities:

1. Use the correct sound, i.e. don't confuse your native language (or any other) with the target language.  I found it very tricky at first that 'oe' and 'oo' sounds are pretty much reversed between English and Dutch.

2. Develop a consistent mispronunciation, I mean accent.  :D If I can't pronounce 'ui' exactly right, but I can be close and consistent and not sound like some other sound, people will understand me, right?

3. Pick a target accent and move your accent closer to your target accent.  At some point, you may run into a physical limitation that you can't seem to get any better, like me and my R's or some Nederlanders with English 'th' sounds.  :)

I too sometimes have trouble with the h/g confusion.  Mostly only when trying to remember the sounds of the words.  If I'm looking at the word and reading it, I do much better (pretty much can do step 1 above).

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Post by EetSmakelijk » Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:01 am

I like your suggestions, Dora. I think the number one priority for me is overcoming fear of being misunderstood, fear of being wrong, and fear of being teased for my funny mistakes. Oh yeah, and fear of being :oops: if I say something a bit rude by mistake. :P
I know I can make the h and the g sounds if I just do it a trillion times, say goor a few more times, then finally say hoor properly when it finally gets through my head? my tongue? :P
All this means that the sounds that give me the most trouble, ij, g, h, enzo will be the ones I have to practice most, the ones I am most likely to get tongue-tied on.
I'd like to get some really hard tongue-twisting sentences with g and h and try and say them, throw in a little ij and I'm all set to make a fool of myself I mean get a cool accent. :P
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Post by EetSmakelijk » Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:05 pm

Het Tegenovergestelde van Teleurgesteld

Here are a couple words I managed to get very confused about:

teleurstellen to disappoint
teleurgesteld disappointed
stel mij niet teleur! don't disappoint me!
tegenovergesteld=opposite
So, next time you're teleurgesteld, don't say tegenovergesteld! Lucky for me I didn't actually do that but I can imagine it happening. :P
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Post by Quetzal » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:06 pm

Dora wrote: 3. Pick a target accent and move your accent closer to your target accent.  At some point, you may run into a physical limitation that you can't seem to get any better, like me and my R's or some Nederlanders with English 'th' sounds.  :)
I don't think that's a physical limitation... speaking for the Flemish, at least, they CAN pronounce the TH, if they are explicitly doing pronunciation exercises, but out of laziness they'll flatten it to "D" when speaking normally, because saying TH instead does require some effort for us.

That is in my experience, anyway. There might also be people who really just can't say it right.

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Post by Wim » Sat May 05, 2007 10:11 pm

About the th-question: I think most of the Dutch speakers don't realize that both a voiced and an unvoiced version of this sound exists. On the other hand, in time it may turn into /d/ in English as well, as it did before in most Germanic languages (for instance, Gothic thu became modern German du 'you' - compare 'thou' in English).

And Eet Smakelijk, don't be afraid of saying something coarse by mistake. Actually I can't remember any of my foreign students doing so. If something goes wrong in pronunciation, there will usually be the problem of being understood or not, not one of saying something rude. And if there's a laugh: it will be about the pronunciation, not about you as a person. However, there is a standard joke about pronunciation all teachers of Dutch know: the foreigner stating he can't pay the /hu:r/ 'whore,' meaning /hy:r/ 'rent.' It's always good for a laugh and one could hear it in class at least once a year. My standard advice: stay away from the red light district. Very respectable, don't you think?

Groetjes,
Wim

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Post by EetSmakelijk » Sat Aug 11, 2007 6:02 am

Well, I have an amusing blunder to recount. :P
I was chatting with somebody via MSN and the person all of a sudden sent me a voiceclip which startled me; I jumped about two metres in the air. ;) Not really, but I wasn't expecting to hear any sounds. :D
I typed:
"Je hebt me laten schrokken!"
I should have said:
"Je hebt me laten schrikken!"
So what I ended up saying is something like you made me gobble down my food instead of you startled me. :grin:
I really need to pay attention to the verbs schrikken and schrokken. haha
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Post by kwalijkje » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:10 pm

I have an embarrassing story. I think that anyone learning another language has one or more embarrassing stories to tell.  :P
I had been teaching myself Dutch for quite a while, but I had not got much experience listening to the sound of it, so all my pronunciation was based on the pronunciation guides in self-teach books.
I was walking down Spuistraat in A'dam, and realised I didn't have my lighter. So I thought, 'what the heck?' and decided to give my Dutch a go for the first time. I approached this lady and said 'Heb je een aansteker?'.
She looked at me with this look of sheer confusion and fear, shook her head violently and ran off. I know my pronunciation was really bad, but that can't have been what made her run off. The only thing I can think was that I mispronounced the question in to some rude statement.
I'd love to know what she thought I said. :o

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