Words of the day (colours)

Colours-1

rood: red, e.g. De appel is rood. (The apple is red.)

oranje: orange, e.g. De jongen draagt een organje hoed. (The boy wears an orange hat.)

geel: yellow, e.g. De onderzeeër is geel. (The submarine is yellow.)

groen: green, e.g. In het voorjaar de bladeren zijn groen. (In spring the leaves are green)

blauw: blue, e.g. De Caribische zee is prachtig blauw. (The Caribbean sea is beautifully blue)

purper: purple, e.g. De bloemen zijn purper (The flowers are purple)c

Conjugating Verbs: Present Tense (2)

Present tense verbs are normally conjugated by taking the stem of the verb then applying the appropriate ending to it depending on the subject of the sentence. However, there are some spelling rules to observe in certain situations.

Long vowels

Screenshot from Duolingo
Screenshot from Duolingo
Screen shot from Duolingo
Screen shot from Duolingo

The verb spreken (to speak), and some others like it, needs some additional adjustment.

Spreken consists of two syllables, an open syllable and a closed syllable (spre~ken). However in the singular forms the verb changes (Ik spreekJij spreekt). This is because the stem on its own is a single closed syllable. This means that the long vowel must double up, hence the “e” becomes “ee”.

Short vowels

 

Screen shot from Duolingo
Screen shot from Duolingo
Screen shot from Duolingo
Screen shot from Duolingo

The verb kennen (to know) consists of two closed syllables (ken~nen). Because the vowels are not doubled up they are short vowels. When the verb is reduced to its stem it becomes simply ken. In the singular persons the conjugations are ik ken, and jij/hij/zij kent.

Consonant shifts

Some verbs change the last consonant of the stem when the ending changes. The z and s interchange, and v and f interchange.

For example, the z in lezen (to read) becomes an s in the following forms: ik lees, and jij leest, but wij lezen stays the same as the infinitive.

Another example is that the v in schrijven (to write) becomes an f in the following forms: ik schrijf, and jij schrijft, but wij schrijven stays the sam

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Spelling rules

Vertaalwoordenboek Nederlands Engels
Vertaalwoordenboek Nederlands Engels
Bilingual Dictionary Dutch English

There are some spelling rules that have to be observed in Dutch. They become especially important when modifying words into different forms as the spelling can change.

The first two rules rely two different types of syllable. They are:

  • Open syllable: A syllable that ends in a vowel
  • Closed syllable: A syllable that ends in a consonant.

Short vowels are always in a closed syllable. So, for example man (man, husband) is a single closed syllable, but in its plural form it is mannen (men, husbands). The extra “n” is needed to close the first syllable so the two syllables are man~nen.

Long vowels end an open syllable, but must be doubled up in a closed syllable. So, for example kool (coal) is a single closed syllable with a long vowel, it becomes kolen (coals) in the plural, the syllables are ko~len.

Words that end in the letter “f” changes to “v” and words that end in the letter “s” changes to “z” if the additional ending starts with a vowel. For example, huis (house) becomes huizen (houses), and wolf (wolf) becomes wolven (wolves).

Conjugating verbs: Present Tense

There are likely going to be many posts about verbs. However, to start with here’s how to conjugate the regular form of the present tense.

De man springt op de trampoline.
De man springt op de trampoline.

Using the verb “to jump” (springen) as an example:

First take the “en” ending off the verb to get the stem. So in this example, “springen” becomes “spring”. Then use the following table to conjugate it into the form needed depending on the subject (I, you, he, she, we, they, etc.) of the sentence.

Subject Example Ending Translation & Notes
ik spring I jump
jij springt t You (informal singular) jump
u springt t You (formal singular) jump
hij springt t He jumps
zij springt t She jumps
het springt t It jumps
wij springen en We jump
jullie springen en You (informal plural) jump
u springen en You (formal plural) jump
zij springen en They jump

There are some spelling rules that come in to play in certain cases, but that will be covered later. The above is the basics of conjugating a regular verb in the present tense.

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