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Dutch swearing

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, ..).

Dutch swearing

Postby RensWilders » December 24th, 2006, 12:26 pm

Hi everybody, I'm new here. Really nice to read everything on this forum.
What do you think about the way Dutch people swear? It's very special, they don't swear with shit or fuck (don't even know how to say that in dutch!) but with religion and especially with diseases like cancer! I have to say: I was a bit shocked when I heard it the first time! What do you think?
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Dutch swearing

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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Quetzal » December 24th, 2006, 2:34 pm

RensWilders wrote:Hi everybody, I'm new here. Really nice to read everything on this forum.
What do you think about the way Dutch people swear? It's very special, they don't swear with shit or fuck (don't even know how to say that in dutch!) but with religion and especially with diseases like cancer! I have to say: I was a bit shocked when I heard it the first time! What do you think?


Religion is fairly normal in any language, "goddamnit" is normal enough in English too. The diseases... yeah. I'm Flemish, and I agree that the Dutch obsession with cancer is fairly disturbing. :p
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Postby Bieneke » December 24th, 2006, 3:33 pm

Hoi Rens,

Here is an interesting article about the use of diseases in Dutch swearing:
http://home.bluemarble.net/~langmin/miniatures/dutch.htm

From this article:

A century and a half or so ago when all these dreaded diseases were common in Europe, wishing them on someone was everywhere one of the most brutally direct forms of cursing. Nowadays when all but one or two have pretty much vanished from daily life, the words themselves have receded to a few isolated examples. In English you probably won't find diseases to wish on people beyond pox and plague, and even these two sound distinctly harmless and quaint.

The Dutch are unique in Europe in retaining this relic from the past. But in the Netherlands it is anything but a museum 'relic'. It is a living form of expression that is being continually embroidered on and added to. Only in the last few years has it been possible to hear someone called an aidslijer. Just as everywhere else in the vocabulary of a language, its speakers are continuously updating and expanding their linguistic resources to meet their current needs.
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Postby EetSmakelijk » December 24th, 2006, 4:06 pm

Hahaha, I have to say I was also shocked when I learned that the Dutch often swore with diseases...
So Quetzal, how do Flemish people swear, is it only religion? :P
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Postby Quetzal » December 24th, 2006, 4:41 pm

EetSmakelijk wrote:Hahaha, I have to say I was also shocked when I learned that the Dutch often swore with diseases...
So Quetzal, how do Flemish people swear, is it only religion? :P
Groetjes,


Nah, not just religion... although most are religion-related. Sometimes derived from French, like "nondedju" from "nom de dieu" and the like. As for the rest, like in English, I guess... although we don't always translate. "Shit" is common enough, as are the French and occasionally even German translations ("merde" and "scheisse"), but oddly enough the Dutch translations are very rare and only used by people who want to make a point.

Of course, that's in here... don't ask me what people in Limburg or in West-Flanders, or even in Ghent, use to swear.
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby ''' » October 17th, 2008, 4:52 am

There was a thread on this in unilang. I know you can just put kut- before pretty much any word to make them negative.
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby NikkiK » October 17th, 2008, 9:41 pm

He there, have I just been unlucky ?

The last 2 people I spoke to in chatrooms swore like troopers. It was awful, and I haven't been back !! :(

The 'F' word was used frequently and I was beginning to wonder if this was normal and the obscenity rating was different from here in England ?!!

Any feedback would be welcome from you guys and gals from the NL and Belgium.

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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby BrutallyFrank » October 18th, 2008, 12:08 am

I guess that a lot depends on the kind of chatroom you're in. It may have to do with the subjects that they chat about, but also the age is a big part of that problem. And also: where do these people come from (urban?). What language is used?

I think that a good Mod should warn people when they use foul language, but it all depends!
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PostThis post was deleted by NikkiK on October 21st, 2008, 9:32 pm.
Reason: Repeating question from before.

Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Wim » November 16th, 2008, 12:37 pm

If you want to know the latest facts on Dutch invectives, see

Piet van Sterkenburg: Krachttermen, Scheldwoorden, vervloekingen, verwensingen, beledigingen, smeekbeden en bezweringen. S.l. [= Leiden?]: Scriptum, s.a. [= 2008]. ISBN 978 90 5594 609 0.

Price: € 16,00 (http://www.scriptum.nl)

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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby AppelstroopIsLekker » November 16th, 2008, 3:39 pm

RensWilders wrote:Hi everybody, I'm new here. Really nice to read everything on this forum.
What do you think about the way Dutch people swear? It's very special, they don't swear with shit or fuck (don't even know how to say that in dutch!) but with religion and especially with diseases like cancer! I have to say: I was a bit shocked when I heard it the first time! What do you think?


I've heard both shit (sjit) and fuck. And fuck is so great in the mouth of a Dutchman because they still say it with the short Dutch u, which makes it surprisingly charming.
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Leen » December 30th, 2008, 3:51 pm

NikkiK wrote:He there, have I just been unlucky ?

The last 2 people I spoke to in chatrooms swore like troopers. It was awful, and I haven't been back !! :(

The 'F' word was used frequently and I was beginning to wonder if this was normal and the obscenity rating was different from here in England ?!!

Any feedback would be welcome from you guys and gals from the NL and Belgium.


I seem to be reviving an old topic here, but hey, I thought it was interesting!

Saying the F-word isn't that uncommon (at least not in the places I have been/lived in Belgium), but it doesn't sound at all as obscene to Belgians/Dutchmen as it does to you, just because it isn't a Dutch word. If someone went around and said 'neuk' the whole time, I would be shocked too. :-D
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Jae » December 30th, 2008, 4:00 pm

Leen wrote:Saying the F-word isn't that uncommon (at least not in the places I have been/lived in Belgium), but it doesn't sound at all as obscene to Belgians/Dutchmen as it does to you, just because it isn't a Dutch word. If someone went around and said 'neuk' the whole time, I would be shocked too. :-D


I've also seen 'fok' used as a swear word (presumably by analogy with 'fuck'). I'm curious--does that have a somewhat weaker profanity connotation than the borrowed 'fuck', or are they exactly synonymous?

And one more question: you can't actually use 'neuken' as a swear word, right? It only has a literal (although vulgar) meaning?
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Leen » December 30th, 2008, 4:13 pm

No, you can't :) Well, I've heard someone say 'wa ne neuktekst' ('wat een neuktekst') once, but it certainly isn't a normal thing to say.
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Re: Dutch swearing

Postby Leen » December 30th, 2008, 4:18 pm

I forgot to answer your first question: I think they are synonymous (fok is perhaps a tad less profane) What do other people think around here? :)
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