Introduction to Dutch: Lesson 1

Dutch is the European language that is probably the most similar to English, as you will hopefully find out doing this course. Let’s begin.

Dutch for what is that? is wat is dat?.

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? If that is dat, can you take a guess what this would be (hint: it ends with a t instead of an s though):


?What is this?|Wat is dit?

Dutch for a (or an) is een.

Whenever you have c in English, you usually have k in Dutch. Use this to take a guess how you would say:

?This is a cat.|Dit is een kat.

I’m going to let you have another guess at saying:

?This is water.|Dit is water.

This is really not our thing yet but just for the fun of it I want to you guess how you would say:

?That was water.|Dat was water.

We should see how one asks yes/no questions instead... because just like in English you simply invert the word order to make the verb go first: are you here?, do you it?, etc. You do this in Dutch all the time whereas in English you could avoid this if you used the construction do you do something.

?Is this water?|Is dit water?

Here is something exotic for you:

Dutch for it is het.

?What is it?|Wat is het?

?It is a cat.|Het is een kat.

The word here is almost the same too and it’s only spelled differently:

Dutch for here is hier.

?Water is here.|Water is hier.

Now the next word is somewhat of a generalization so it is to be taken with a grain of salt but it functions for us:

Dutch for there is er.

How would you say:

?There is a cat here.|Er is een kat hier.

?There is water here.|Er is water hier.

Now for something different:

Dutch for are is zijn.

You know how to say there are already. Well, let’s learn one more rule so that we can put it to use:

If you want to make a word into plural, you add en to the end of the word in Dutch. The last letter usually doubles to make it + en a new syllable.

This is the usual case. There are some cases when just like in English you would add s but you don’t really have to worry about those now. Try:

?There are cats here.|Er zijn katten hier.

Alright, so, from familiar we have gotten to not-so-familiar but it still makes sense. We will dive into the Dutch language by learning to handle the pronouns and some verbs in the next lesson.

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