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Old Dutch Conjugations

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by ElAjedrezEsLaVida, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. ElAjedrezEsLaVida Senior Member

    Manchester, UK
    inglés británico
    What are the Old Dutch conjugation patterns for all of the pronouns (ik, je, u, hij/zij/het, wij, jullie, zij) similar to the Old English thou hast, he hath, we habbeð, etc.? Do they still use this for fancy literature like in English, or for reading old literature in Dutch schools?
     
  2. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Dutch has 'gij' (or 'ge') for 'thou'. In the present tense, the conjugation pattern for 'gij' is quite regular, except for:
    – gij moogt (not: gij mag)
    – gij zijt (not: gij bent)
    The past tense is more interesting:
    – gij waart (not: gij was)
    – gij gaaft (not: gij gaf)
    – gij hadt (not: gij had)
    The main pattern is to add an extra t and avoid short vowels. More details can be found here: http://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/344/

    'Jullie' also has an archaic counterpart: 'gijlieden' or 'gijlui'. Both take -t rather than -(e)n:
    Jullie zien = gijlieden ziet.

    'Jullie ziet' could be heard instead of 'jullie zien'. I don't think it's considered archaic, though. It's rather dialectal or rustic.

    Third person singular (hij/zij/het) or plural (zij) don't have any archaic counterparts that could be used fancifully. 'Hij/zij/het heeft' once was 'hij/zij/het hevet', but this conjugation is unlikely to show up in 'fancy literature'.
     
  3. ElAjedrezEsLaVida Senior Member

    Manchester, UK
    inglés británico
    That is interesting, especially "gij", which I remember learning is still used in Belgium often for "je/jij", but has at some point disappeared in modern speech in the Netherlands I suppose. I am not sure if they use it often in big cities such as Antwerp, Gent, or Oostend, though.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  4. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    English-US
    I think the use of gij is very common in Belgium. I was a student in Antwerp and Ghent. In Belgium in modern dialect useage there is the unstressed version of gij as ge, but I have a book of Dutch grammar that says that there is no unstressed ge version of gij in old Dutch or, "Biblical" Dutch. That book doesn't go into it much and only mentions that gij is in use in Belgium. When I got to Belgium I was told there is a ge version. This seems to be a modern unstressed version of gij similar to the unstressed version of jij to je. I have found websites describing gij and ge, but from the one grammar book that mentions it, it seems to not be, "correct" for Biblical or old written use, even if ge is used today. I haven't looked in that grammar book in 20 years but I think it was written by a British professor of Germanic languages. His name may be Donaldson.
     
  5. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Hitchhiker is right. You won't find any 'ge' in the Bible. It'll be 'gij' throughout. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if a 'ge' slips through in 'fancy old Dutch'.

    Below is a modern and and 'fancy old Dutch' conjugation of maken, just to give an idea.

    Modern - 'fancy old language'
    ik maak - ick maeck of ick maecke
    jij maakt - gij/ghij/gy maeckt
    hij maakt - hij/hy maeckt (less common: hij/hy maecket)
    zij maakt - zij/zy/sy maeckt (less common: of zij/zy/sy maecket)
    wij maken - wij/wy maecken
    jullie maken - gijlieden/ghijlieden/gylieden/jelui maeckt
    zij maken - zij/zy/sy maecken
     
  6. NewtonCircus Senior Member

    Singapore
    Dutch (Belgium)
    It is more complex than that.

    - Written language: Use of gij and ge in written language is more often than not just as archaic in Belgium as it is in The Netherlands. Although one may occasionally bump into old books, documents or warning/instruction signs that contain ge/gij, very few people would dare use these in reports or letters. Nevertheless, one environment where use is still very common is the internet, probably because of the perception that chat and blog language is more spoken in nature.

    - Spoken language: Use of gij and especially ge is still contemporary and I personally don't think there are any indications that this is going to change anytime soon. However, how and where use of ge and gij is "acceptable" isn't clear cut, and while ge moogt may sound OK in a certain context, gij moogt may sound stiff and archaic.

    Groetjes
     
  7. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Agree with everything. I wouldn't use "ge" and "gij" in letters, but I wouldn't use "je" and "jij" either. In letters, I use "u". In mails to people that are close enough to use "je" and "jij" (if I were from the Netherlands), I have no problem whatsoever using "ge" and "gij".
     
  8. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    English-US
    When I stayed in Belgium I did get the sense that people from the Netherlands more readily use jij and je with strangers than people in Belgium. The object pronoun of gij is u. So in Belgium the phrase, "Dank u" stays the same in the formal and the familiar forms. I didn't go to the Netherlands often but at university in Belgium there were many students from the Netherlands. This was because at the time, Belgium had to qualification requirements for university and no waiting lists. It was first come, first serve for accepting students. In the Netherlands the students had to qualify for university and were on waiting lists in order of the qualifications. The students that didn't do well in the Netherlands, went to Belgium to study as nobody was turned down. I believe the university entrance requirements have changed since then in Belgium though.

    I took the train a couple of times to Rotterdam. The ticket taker on the train, on the Netherlands side, would say, "Dank je." I had never heard this phrase in Belgium. I did meet a few wealthy Belgian students that told me they didn't use gij and ge because they, "didn't like the sound." Other Belgians would often take those that spoke very proper, as being snobbish., sometimes saying, "They must be very rich."

    Antwerp is the second largest harbor in Europe. Everyday I would hear dialect in Antwerp. Ghent is a university city and many people are from other places with different dialects. Because of this, many people would avoid using dialect in Ghent so those from other places would understand them. Belgians would say that the dialect in Ghent is, "strong" but I think by strong, they don't mean popular, but difficult or very different. The only places in Ghent I ever heard dialect was in the small shops. In Antwerp dialect is very popular and I got more familiar with it there than in Ghent.
     
  9. bibibiben

    bibibiben Senior Member

    Amsterdam
    Dutch - Netherlands
    Agreed, the Dutch are eager to say 'je' and 'jij' wherever and whenever they can. If it's somehow inappropriate to start with 'jij', a common strategy is to start with 'u' first, sneak in 'je'* after a while, and then start using 'jij'. If it turns out that 'je' doesn't sit well with the one spoken to, you go back to 'u'.

    Normally, 'je' won't cause much trouble. Just make sure to avoid 'jij' in a conversation in which it's still unclear whether 'u' can be dropped or not.

    *'Je' could easily be interpreted as 'men', so you're on safe ground most of the time.
     
  10. Conan the Librarian New Member

    Nederlands
    Here two more 'archaic' examples of 'zaagt ge' (= 'thou sawest') of not that long ago:
    "En nu zaagt ge hoe de één, om aan deze teleurstelling te ontkomen...", (Abraham Kuyper, De Gemeene Gratie, 1903).
    "Langs de Singels zaagt ge de madeliefjes reeds schuchter de kopjes uit het gras heffen." (Algemeen Handelsblad, March 1926).
     
  11. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    English-US

    It has been many years, but now that I think about it, the phrase might not have been, Dank je", but I think it was, "Alsjeblieft" that caught my ear in the Netherlands. I think in both formal and familiar usage in Belgium this would nearly always be, "Alstublieft."
     
  12. marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    I can't remember where I read it but it is perhaps interesting to share it in this thread: the plural for ''gij'' was ''gijllie''!
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  13. Syzygy Senior Member

    German
    I don't know whether it was used in Old Dutch but I remember reading hullie once for the third person plural which fits the pattern using -lie(den) for the plural too.
     
  14. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    I would actually still use this:eek:, but then again, I'm old (at least, that's is what my children say:D )In 99% of the cases, I would use the present perfect "hebt ge dat gezien" but for example: "Ge zaagt er niet goed uit gisteren" is something I would definitely say.
     
  15. ElAjedrezEsLaVida Senior Member

    Manchester, UK
    inglés británico
    Would it still be strange to say, "Alsgeblieft" or "Alsgijblieft" in Belgium? Last time I was in Antwerp and Gent, I did not hear anything such as "Hoe gaat het met gij?" or "Wat zaagt ge?!", but then of course back then my Dutch was probably inproficient (and perhaps unfortunately it may still be...).
     
  16. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    No, that's not correct. Beware, in Flemish, the DO and IO pronouns are always "u", whether it's formal or not: "ge" and "gij" can only be subject. So, it is always "alstublieft".

    PS. Perhaps a little explanation: the origin of "alstublieft" is actually: "als het u belieft", which means "if it pleases you".
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  17. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    English-US
    A bit off topic but something I've never seen in books, the Dutch phrase, "Hoe gaat het?" is usually replaced in Belgium (and especially in Antwerp, but I think most everywhere else too) with the phrase, "Hoe is het?" In dialect some letters are dropped and the words are run together which makes it even shorter. Hoe is het? seems much more common than Hoe gaat het? in Belgium but I don't think it used much, if any, in the Netherlands.
     
  18. NewtonCircus Senior Member

    Singapore
    Dutch (Belgium)
    I doubt that. Where I (used) to live most people wil say alsjeblieft, localy pronounced as "asjeblief". I always use dankjewel instead of dank u in casual conversations.

    Like I said, use of gij/ge in Belgium is unfortunately far more complex. Although not foolproof, you may consider the following guidelines.
    - Written language: Don't use gij/ge, ever (Foolproof)
    - Spoken language: Use ge, avoid gij.
    - Like Peter said, gij/ge can only be subject and gij/ge at "the end" of a sentence is usually wrong.

    This is correct, but doesn't have the suggested meaning. The current meaning is actually "Oh my, you really can nag" :) and probably ticklish when used by a non-native speaker.

    Groetjes Herman
     
  19. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    English-US
    It has been many years. My first year in Belgium was in Antwerp and I stayed near the docks. I would hear Antwerps everyday. The next three years I stayed in Ghent. The students were from different places and most knew English. I didn't get as much exposure to the language in Ghent as I did in Antwerp. I did meet some young students from wealthy families that said they didn't like to use, "gij." I'm not sure if that was age related or due to social class. I know there can be great differences in language across Belgium. I went to the coast in a Flemish city where Flemish people would speak French and have their children speak French. I was told by other Belgians that this was done to be fashionable or for style.
     

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