To help English speakers learn the pronunciation, grammar, and rhythm of Flemish-Dutch, Calidocious Inc. proposes a simplified way to use Flemish pronouns (words that stand for things, like the words 'it', 'he', or 'she'). and gender assignment. The modified style of Standard-Dutch is called 'California Dutch', and is also nicknamed 'Sideways Dutch' or 'Double Dutch'.
The new lingo makes use of several 'old-fashioned' pronouns from 'Medieval, or Middle, Dutch', which was spoken from about 1100 until about 1491, ie. the year just before Columbus returned from the 'New' World. In particular, the Middle Dutch pronouns for 'you', both singular and plural, (the equivalents of 'thou', 'ye' , and 'thy' in 'Middle' English), are added back into Modern Dutch. Several of the pronoun changes also mimic pronouns used in various modern-day Flemish dialects of Dutch or in the Limburgish language which is spoken in the Limburg regions of Flanders and Holland.
'California Dutch' may alternantely be described as 'Standard Dutch, spoken with a Flemish accent, and with several colloquial Flemish and Limburgish pronouns'. The Flemish variant of Dutch is characterized by 1.Use of (mostly) three genders, 2. Rolling of 'r's' (with one trill) in the French manner, 3. Softening of 'g's so they are less gutteral, 4 Softening of terminal 'tie's so they are pronounced 'sie' instead of 'tsie', and 5. extensive substitution of 'u' and 'uw' for 'jou' and 'jouw' ('you-subject/object' and 'yours', singular-informal), and 6, use of variants of the Middle Dutchl/Limburgish pronouns 'gij/ge' for 'you-plural-informal' pronouns.
Although the changes to 'Standard Dutch' may initially seem to add, rather than decrease the complexity of Standard Dutch, they allow students to make all pronoun, and almost all spelling, choices based on rules, rather than on arbitrary speaker preferences (which vary from community to community in Flanders).
The five grammatical and/or stylistic differences between 'California Dutch' and 'Standard ABN Dutch'- (General Proper Dutch) are: 1.Reduction of almost all subject, object, possessive, and reflexive pronouns to onesyllable,2. Increased use of contraction of post-verb subject, object, and possessive pronouns, (which is the basis for the nickname 'Sideways Dutch'], 3.Reduction of the use of pronoun homonyms (by increasing the overall number of pronouns), 4. Simplification of the Common Gender pronouns which refer to inanimate objects (which is the reason for the nickname 'Double Dutch'), and 5.Spelling modifications/hints to help clairify pronunciations and to help indicate the tempo of speech. Written 'California Dutch' strives to be 100% phonetic and ends up being about 99% phonetic (with the exception of capitalized proper names.
A counter-intuitive feature of the changes is that even though 'California Dutch' in general strives to shorten pronouns, prounouns are usually as long/distinctive as they can be, as long as they don't impede sentence flow. For example: the subject pronoun 'jij'-(you) is always prefered before the verb, over the condensed post-verb form 'je', as long as the more lengthy 'jij' doesn't impede the flow of a spoken sentence.
The six most noticable deviations from Standard Dutch are: 1. Elimination of the two-syllable subject, object, and posessive pronoun 'jullie' (y'all/y'all's). Restriction of the use of the 2. object pronouns 'jou' (you-singular-informal) and 3. 'jouw' (yours-singular-informal) to just emphatic, (including reflexive), and abstract use (such as: 'you never know.). 4. Reintroduction of the 'Middle Dutch' pronouns 'Du' (You-singular-object-emphatic) and 5. 'Gîj/gij' (pre-verb) and 'ge/ 'ge ' (post-verb) (You-plural subject- where the circomflex accent and apostrophe indicate a gutteral 'g+juh' sound), and 6. Elimination of all uses of 'hem' (he/it) to refer to nouns that used to be feminine in Standard Dutch and are still feminine in Standard Flemish. . All the changes are meant to be so slight that during speech a Dutch speaker from Holland might not recognize them as being "non-Flemish", and a Fleming would just think you were from some obscure community in south-eastern Holland near the border with Flanders.In writing, however, the changes are noticable. The written and spoken changes can be considered to be a hypothetical dialect of Dutch that might have evolved in the Dutch colony of 'New Netherland' (which now is roughly New York State), similarly to how Afrikaans evolved from Dutch in South Africa. . In addition to the 'jullie/jou/jouw' changes that are based on 'Middle Dutch', several of the other grammatical/spelling changes can be found in "old fashioned" Dutch books written before the mid 1900s.. A 1920 translation of the book 'Smoke Bellew' by Jack London is used as a reference, and a selection from the book is included at the end of this web page. Other modifications used in 'California Dutch' occur in modern spoken Flemish, or in dialects/languages such as Frisian or Limburgs, and aren't officially recognized in 'Standard Dutch'.
There is one change that doesn't have a background in historical Dutch. It is derived from a word in a song in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical 'The Sound of Music'. In the "So Long, Farewell" song Oscar Hammerstein coined the 2nd-person-singular-object pronoun 'yieu'-(you) to rhyme with the final dipthong of the Austrian pronunciation of the word 'Adieu'. There are five variants of 'yieu' in 'Califoria Dutch'.
The possessive pronoun (yours-singular-informal) has two variants. They are written 'jìeuw'-(with a backwards accent) and 'jœu'. 'Jìeuw' is the default common-gender form and contains a dipthong that begins with an 'ih' sound, then morphs into a German umlaut 'ö,' or French 'eu' sound, and ends with a hint of an 'wuh' sound. 'Jœu' is the neuter-gender form, plus the initial and 'accelerated' common-gender form. The 'œu' represents a sound like a long German 'ö' or long French 'eu'.
The object pronoun also has two 'yieu' variants. 'jìeu' (with a backwards accent) is the pre-verb form and 'jèu'(also with a backwards accent) is the post-verb form, except in reverse-order (verb-subject) clauses. They have similar pronunciations to their possessive pronoun counterparts except that 'jìeu' lacks the terminal 'wuh' aound of 'jìeuw', and 'jèu is shorter than 'jœu'. The final, very condensed, use of the word occurs in the words 'jùself- (yourself) and 'alsujùblief'-(please)- where 'ù' represents an accelerated variant of 'jœu/jèu'.
There are two other changes that repurpose seldom-used pronouns from colloquial Dutch. The first of them is the coining of three monosyllable pronouns for 'you-plural-informal' based on the pronoun 'd'r'-which is used to mean 'her' in some parts of Holland. They are the: 1.'emphatic object', 2. 'pre-verb object', 'terminal object' after vowels, 'post-verb object' in reverse-order constructions, plus 'reflexive' form, and 3. 'post-verb object'.
The emphatic-object form pronoun is written 'dijr', (where the 'ij' is ligated, or scrunched together, indicating the word id pronouced 'dih-jur' except fast enough so it is a single, long, syllable.). The pre-verb object form, terminal-word object form, post-verb-reverse-order object form, and reflexive form is written 'dîr' (with a circomflex over the 'î' that indicates it is pronounced like 'dih-jur', except faster. The post-verb object form is written 'd'r', and is pronounced like 'dir', with no trace of a 'juh' sound. As with 'jìeu', 'dîr' is used after the verb in inverse-order clauses.
The second change based on repurposing seldom-used pronouns is the introduction of four 'new' unisex pronouns that refer to ex-female single-syllable common gender nouns that morphed into male nouns in 'Standard Dutch' prior to 1950. The unisex pronouns are also used with historically male nouns that refer to inanimate things, but that don't have an actual, physical, gender They are further used to refer to human beings of indeterminate gender, such as a generic 'doctor'. Note: It is always o.k. to use the correct Flemish/Old Fashioned Dutch gender pronouns for inanimate things, as long as a student is sure the gender is correct,
The unisex pronouns are: 1. initial-word and emphatic-subject- 'dér'-with a forward accent, which indicates the word is slightly emphasized and has a slightly rased tone, 2. initial-word-object- 'dìen'-(with a reverse accent over the 'ì' and pronounced like 'dee-in', except so fast it almost sounds like 'dean', 3. 'pre-verb object (and ultimate word) den' (with no accent), and the 4.post-verb object-'d'n', pronounced like 'din', except faster.
In order to further decrease the chance of an ambiguous pronoun reference at the beginning of a clause, the new subject pronoun 'díe'-(with a forward accent), and the emphatic/first-word-in-a-clause object-pronoun ' dees' ' (pronounced like the 'dace-uh', except the 'uh' is so abbreviated it is barely perceptible) are introduced. 'Díe' and ' Dees' ' are used with feminine nouns and plural nouns.. (Note: The four 'initial word' pronouns 'díe', 'dér', 'dees' ', and ', 'dìen', are also used after the 'if, and, or but' words ('òf' (if), 'als' (if), 'en' (and), and 'maar' (but).
To facilitate these changes, the 'old-fashioned' word 'den'-(with a lower case 'd'), -and which today only occurs in ABN (General Standard Dutch) expressions like 'op den duur'-(in the long run) or in proper, capitalized, names, is repuropsed. In the expression 'op den duur', the gender of 'duur' is switched to be neuter, and the expression is changed to 'op het duur'.
In addition to the above changes, there are four other important stylistic feature of 'California Dutch': 1. the strenghening/shortening of several pronouns when they are the first word in a clause, 2 a. the expansion of several subject and object pronouns at the end of a clause- or 2 b. in the case of possessive pronouns, as the second-to-last word in a clause, 3. the contraction of the new object pronouns 'jèu', jouw, and 'dîr', to ' ù ', 'ùw', and 'u' after prepositions, and 4. contraction of the two-syllable common-gender possessive pronouns 'onze' and 'uwe' ('ours' and 'yours-informal-plural-post-preposition-possessive') to ' onsė ' and ' uwė ' except if they are penultimate words. ' onsė ' and ' uvė ' are pronounced like 'onz-uh' and 'uw-uh' where the 'uh' is very brief. Both are just slightly longer than a monosyllable.
To summarize, the central change of 'California Dutch' is that several pronouns change, according to where they appear in a sentence and whether they are stressed or not. These distinctions include use of the pronouns as: 1. the first word in a clause, 2. use in an emphatic way, 3, use before a verb, 4. use after a verb, 5. use after a preposition, and 6. use at the end of a clause, or, in the case of possessive pronouns, as the penultimate word in a clause. (As a result of these changes, the effort a speaker needs to pronounce pronouns decreases as the sentence progresses. This is similar to how much energy a bicycle rider's leg expends in the course of one revolution of a bicycle pedal. At the beginning of the downward stroke, maximum energy is required, and by the end of the upward stroke little energy is required.)
Note: This web page is meant to be used together with the web page www.zoot.co, which explains how English speakers can master Dutch genders ASAP. .
In Standard Dutch, subject pronouns continuously morph depending on whether they are stressed or unstressed, and depending on how much time they are required to fill. For example, the word for "we" is sometimes pronounced and written "wij" ( pronounced 'why'), and sometimes "we" (pronounced 'wuh'). It is difficult for English speakers to know when to use which option. . In 'California Dutch', however, the long, stressed, variants of subject pronouns only preceed verbs- except in exceptional cases where a post-verb pronoun needs particular emphasis. Conversely, the non-stressed variants of subject pronouns almost never precede verbs in writing, and seldom do in speech.
Note: There two major exception to this rule, namely: 1. when 'wij'-(we) or 'zij'-(they) immediately preceed multisyllable helping verbs, including passive, past-tense, and modal verbs, they are condensed to 'we' and 'ze' in order to maintain the cadence, or rhythm, of a sentence, and 2. when 'wij' or 'zij' follow the conjunction 'dat' (that), they are also condensed to 'we' or 'ze'.
'Easy Button'- Staples office products
Flemish Lingust (and mathematician) Stevin (Pronouns really can be abbreviated after verbs!)
To help clarify the pronunciation of some of the "new" modified pronouns, plus to clarify the pronunciation of some letters which represent multiple sounds, and finally, to help indicate the timing of Flemish-Dutch , 'California Dutch' introduces eight types of enhanced spelling hints to Standard Dutch.
. 1. The ligated letter 'ij': Ligiated, (or "thin"), 'ij' is used to indicate a 'short i' sound, as in 'mogelijk' ('possible'- pronounced 'mow-ge-lick'). When the 'ij' spelling represents an 'aai' (eye) sound, as in 'hij'-(he), it is written without ligation.
Ligated 'ij' also occurs in the word 'bijzonders'-(especially), which indicates the word is pronounced 'bie-zonders', and the new word 'dijr'-(you-plural-informal-object- see above).
Some computer fonts, such as the one used in this web page, sporadically and arbitrarily, ligate, 'ij's. It is o.k. if spellings representing 'aai' sounds are inadvertantly ligated. However it is important that no spellings representing 'short i' sounds are left un-ligated..
2. Backwards accent marks over vowels. In addition to the Standard Dutch use of 'è' in French loan words like 'trompèt', the backwards accent mark is also used over vowels to indicate a slightly accelerated and/or abbreviated pronunciation. It is nicknamed the 'curt' accent mark. . An 'ù' at the beginning of a word has a slightly shorter sound than a long 'u', and is always coupled, (elided), to a preceding consonant. Initial 'ù' is used in the California Dutch word: ' ù '-('you-singular-informal-post-preposition-object). The new word is always slurred together with the preceding consonant.
An 'ù' in the middle of a word indicates the 'ù' has sound as in 'pudding' (as opposed to the normal 'u' sound of 'pool'). An example is 'uitgepùt' (exhausted). Doubling the consonant after an 'u' indicates the same 'ù' sound.
'ù' is also used in the "new" word (from Linburgish) 'œùr'-(your-plural-informal). Œùr is pronounced as a single-syllable dipthong 'ù' followed by an 'er' and is used with neuter-gender nouns, or in accelerated-situations with common-gender nouns..
Old Fashioned Spelling on 'Thank You' gift to President Hoover in WWI. From the Hoover Tower Museum at Stanford.
An '-ù' at the end of a word technically has the same sound as an 'ù' in the middle of a word, however, during speech, it is usually hyphenated to a short 'uh' sound similar to the English schwa sound of 'the'. It only occurs in the new word 'dù;-(you-singular-postverb-subject).
A 'ùe' in the middle or end of a word, as in 'manùever'- (manoeuver) or 'revùe'- (theatrical dress rehersal) indicates a long, but not emphasized, 'uu' sound. It is also used in the new word 'jùe' (you-singular-informal-terminal word after a vowel).