Essential Dutch 3

Dutch directional words and phrases…

In Essential Dutch 2 we added “Where is …?” questions – if you’re looking for the bathroom, a pharmacy, a bus stop, the subway or railway station, a bank, an ATM or a place to rent a bike.
Asking “Where is …?” questions in Dutch – especially if you’ve practiced your pronunciation a bit – may let your conversation partner assume that you understand Dutch quite well. The result will be an answer and a stream of words that’ll fly right by you.
So, asking the person to speak more slowly could be your first reply in such a case: “Kunt u alstublieft langzamer praten?” or “Kan je alsjeblieft langzamer praten?”
We explain the difference below.
And it would be good to also know some basic directional words and phrases in Dutch – left, right, straight ahead – as the typical answers may well include them.

The next 13 Dutch Phrases

Using “u” or “je/jij”

Note that in Dutch, there is a formal you – “u”- and a familiar you “je/jij”. There seems to be a trend in the Netherlands to use the familiar form most of the time, even with people you don’t know. This is less the case in Belgium.
In the Netherlands, the polite you – “u” – has traditionally been used for formal situations, but that seems to be somewhat in flux. For example: When talking to strangers in the street, especially if they’re clearly older than you, it’s fine to use “u”, although some people do consistently stick with “je”, no matter what. But you’ll find that in Belgium, it’s normal to use the formal “u” with people you don’t know.
“Jij” is also informal, but more emphatic.
Here are the FORMAL equivalents of the answers to your “Where is …?” questions that are listed above:

Why These phrases?

In Essential Dutch 1 and 2, we listed greetings and typical “where is…?” questions. Even if you’ve never studied Dutch before, it’ll be useful to learn and practice saying them.
In Essential Dutch 3, there are only two sentences you may want to practice saying: “Could you please speak more slowly?” and “Many thanks for your help.”
The other 11 phrases and sentences will be useful to simply understand, as they may be answers to your “where is…?” questions.
You still may want to record yourself saying them, and playing the Quizlet games. That way you can confirm what you thought you understood. You’ll also remember them better that way.
And, you’ll become familiar with Dutch words such as “straat” (street), “gracht” (canal), “plein” (square), “brug” (bridge), “geldautomaat” (ATM), etc.

Food, Drinks, Restaurants

Finding a recommended restaurant, café, or bar has been made much easier with GPS-equipped smart phones and mobile devices.
And finding a good place to eat in the Netherlands has to be part of your travel adventure.
Once you’ve arrived at the restaurant, you may have to ask for a table and the menu, then tell the waiter what you’d like, and later ask for and pay the check.
Yes, most Dutch people will know English better than you’ll ever speak their language. But just knowing a few key phrases in Dutch may still be helpful in the countryside or in a crowded restaurant
You’ll find those among the next 14 Phrases in Essential Dutch 4. (Check back in a few weeks.)

Author: Ulrike Rettig

Ulrike S. Rettig holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. After a teaching career she worked for Pimsleur Language Programs and co-founded GamesforLanguage.com in 2011. Now, with Lingo-Late.com she offers her experience and insights to language lovers before they travel.

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