Using jij, wij, zijn in unstressed sentences

Dalieux

Member
Portuguese - Brazil
So far every grammar reference has explained the difference between jij/je, wij/we and zij/ze in terms of stress.
Stressed for the full form, but unstressed for the reduced. Nice and intentionally obvious examples ensue. All great!

However, by reading some actual books written in dutch I came to notice that the full forms are more often than not used in entirely neutral and unstressed contexts.

For example, after achieving his goal, the main character is praised by his family with a "Wij zijn super trots op jou". If I were to go strictly by what grammar books say, I'd have to assume THEY (and not others) are proud of HIM (and not someone else). But there is no context for all that emphasis at all. It seems to me as just a plain and simple statement.

I suspect the grammar manuals aren't telling the full story... It looks like the reduced forms are indeed only used in unstressed cases, but the full forms could be used in either.

So, what are the reasons for using the full forms in unstressed sentences in speech and writing?
Is it a stylistic choice? Maybe they sound more polite? More erudite? Perhaps more clearly articulated without necessarily emphasizing?
 
  • Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I suspect the grammar manuals aren't telling the full story... It looks like the reduced forms are indeed only used in unstressed cases, but the full forms could be used in either.
    You are absolutely right.
    So, what are the reasons for using the full forms in unstressed sentences in speech and writing?
    As far as I'm concerned, in speech we would only use the reduced form if it is unstressed.

    In writing, we (i.e. I) don't care and don't pay attention to it.:)
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Would it sound odd to you if someone spoke to you using the full forms unstressedly, then?
    Definitely not. It is perfectly fine to use the -ij forms unstressed. It only sounds unnatural if you never use the unstressed forms at all.

    Compare it with American English "you" and "ya". Some people use "ya" a lot, but no one uses it all the time. No way.

    1. Je, ge, ze and we are only used if unstressed.
    2. All other pronouns (including jij, gij, zij and wij) can be stressed or unstressed.

    In some instances, you can only use the stressed pronouns. The opposite is rarely the case: you can almost always use the -ij forms.

    Summary:
    Unstressed => use je, ge, ze, we
    Stressed => use jij/jou, gij, zij, wij
    if you are unsure => use jij/jou, gij, zij, wij

    That way you will definitely sound fine. I suppose you have already learned when something is stressed.
     
    Last edited:

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    It is perfectly fine to use the -ij forms unstressed.
    To me it's like this: you can stress them heavily), or not stress them. But: You'd have a hard time using the -ij forms without getting them at least some stress, automatically.

    It only sounds unnatural if you never use the unstressed forms at all.
    ... because of the 'deferred stress' cuased bij not using the unstressed forms....

    Compare it with American English "you" and "ya". Some people use "ya" a lot, but no one uses it all the time. No way.
    Totally incomparible.

    Je, ge, ze and we are only used if unstressed.
    Of course.


    The opposite is rarely the case: you can almost always use the -ij forms.
    Unnatural, as you said yourself before ...

    I suppose you have already learned when something is stressed.
    When you WANT to stress something, in this case?
     
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