To help English speakers learn the pronunciation, grammar, and rhythm of Flemish-Dutch, Calidocious Inc. proposes a simplified way to use Flemish pronouns and genders. 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" features from 'Medieval Dutch', which was spoken from about 1150 until about 1491, ie. the years just before Columbus returned from the "New" World. In particular, the Medieval Dutch pronouns for 'you', both singular and plural, (the equivalents of 'thou' and 'ye'in English), are added back into Modern Dutch. This is one of the reasons for the nickname, 'Double Dutch', or '2x as many pronouns' Dutch.
Several of the pronoun changes also mimic pronouns used in the Limburgish language spoken in the Limburg region of Flanders and the South Limburg region of Holland. 'California Dutch' may alternantely be described as a 'Flemish variant of Dutch, spoken with a Flemish accent, and with Limburgish 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. and Holland.).
The five grammatical differences between 'California Dutch' and 'Standard ABN Dutch' are: 1.Reduction of almost all pre-verb subject, object, possessive, and reflexive pronouns to one syllable,2. Increeased contraction of post-verb subject 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 Neuter and Common Noun Gender pronouns, (which is the other reason for the nickname 'Double Dutch') and 5. Spelling modifications to help clairify pronunciations and to help indicate the tempo of speach. Written 'California Dutch' strives to be 100% phonetic and ends up being about 99% phonetic.
The changes are also intended to make spoken California-Dutch mirror written California-Dutch, ie. "what you read is what you say". 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 version 'je', as long as the long-sounding 'jij' doesn't impede the flow of a spoken sentence.
The six most noticable deviations from Standard Dutch are: 1. Elimination of the pronoun 'jullie' (y'all/y'all's), 2. Restriction of the use of the object pronoun 'jou', and the 3. possessive pronoun 'jouw' to just emphatic use., 4. Reintroduction of the 'Middle Dutch' pronouns 'Du' (You-singular-object-emphatic) and 5. 'Gìj' (You plural subject- with a backwards accent over the 'ì' indicating a complex initial 'g+je' 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 wouldn't recognize them as being "non-Flemish", and a Fleming would just think you were from some obscure border town of Southern Holland (near South Limburg).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 in South Africa. . In addition to the 'jullie/jou/jouw' changes that are based on 'Medieval Dutch', several of the other grammatical/spelling changes can be found in "modern" Dutch books written before the early 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 of 'California Dutch' occur in modern spoken Flemish, or dialects/languages such as Frisian or Limburgs, but aren't officially recognized in 'Standard Dutch'.
There are two changes that don't have a background in historical Dutch. The first is derived from a word in a song in the Oscar and Hammerstein musical 'The Sound of Music'. In the "So Long, Farewell" song Oscar and Hammerstein coined the 2nd-person-singular-object pronoun 'yieu'-(you) to rhyme with the final half-dipthong of the Austrian pronunciation of the word 'Adieu'.
In 'California Dutch' the pre-verb variant of the object pronoun (you-singular-informal) is written 'jœu', and is pronounced with the same pure vowel sound as an 'umlaut' (German) 'õ', or an 'aigu' (French) 'eu'. Two other variants of the word are: 'jèu' ( post-verb-you-singular-object) form- which has a short version of the 'œu' sound), and 'jìeu' (unstressed-possessive) form, which has a dipthong that begins with an 'ih' sound and morphs into an 'ö/ue' sound- so that the dipthong sounds identical to the dipthong in the Austrian 'adieu'.
The second primary change that doesn't have a background in historical Dutch, is the coining of several monosyllable pronouns for 'you-plural-informal'. The pre-verbobject pronoun is written 'dijr', and is pronounced like 'dih-jur', except it is just one long syllable and the 'juh' sound is barely perceptible. The post-verbobject pronoun is 'dîr', with a circomflex over the 'î' and pronounced like 'dijr', except faster. The post-verbsubject form is written 'd'r', and is pronounced like 'dir', except faster. The reflexive form is written 'dìr', with a reverse accent, that indicates the 'j' sound is imperceptible, except that it causes a slight lengthening of the word.
In addition to the contraction of most subject pronouns and several object pronouns after verbs, there are four other important stylistic feature of 'California Dutch': 1. the lengthening, or expanding, of most personal pronouns at the end of a sentence- (in the case of possessive pronouns, as the second-to-last word in a sentence), 2. the simplification/contraction' of several object and possessive pronouns when they are the first word in a sentence, 3. the contraction of the pronous 'jœu', 'dijr', and 'jìeu, to 'ù', 'u', and 'ùw', after prepositions, and 4. contraction of the posessive pronouns 'onze' and 'uwe'-(ours' and 'yours-informal-plural' ) except if they are used as nouns are the penultimate words in a sentence and precede monosyllable nouns..
To put it another way, the central change of 'California Dutch' is that the pronouns 'you'(singular), and 'you'(plural) 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 sentence, 2. use in a 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 sentence, (or, in the case of possessive pronouns, as the penultimate word in a sentence).
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 trailing pronoun needs particular emphasis. Conversely, the non-stressed variants of subject pronouns almost never precede verbs in writing, and seldom do in speech. (There is one major exception to this rule: namely, when 'wij'-(we) or 'zij'-(they) immediately preceed 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..)
'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 seven 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'). Alternately, when the 'ij' spelling represents an 'aai' (eye) sound, as in 'hij'-(he), it is written without ligation.
Ligated 'ij' is used in the new word 'dijr'-(you-plurl-informal-preverb), which is pronounced like 'duh-year', except it is condensed into one long syllable, with the 'j' and 'r' sounds sandwiched together.
Some computer fonts such as the one used in this web page arbitrarily ligate, or sporadically ligate, 'ij's. It is o.k. if spellings representing 'aai' sounds are inadvertantly ligated. However it is important that all spellings representing 'short i' sounds are ligated.
2. Backwards accent marks over vowels. In addition to the use of 'è' in French loan words like 'carrière'-(career), or 'hotèl'-(hotel), backwards accent marks are used over vowels to indicate slightly altered-phonetic pronunciations. . An accent over an 'ù' in the middle of a word indicates the 'ù' has a 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.
An 'ù' at the beginning of a word has a sharp sound similar to the German 'ü' (or French 'ue')- however it a bit less sharp than the German sound. An example is 'ùberhaupt'- (above all). The same sound is rendered 'ùe' in the middle or end of a word, as in 'manùever'- (manoeuver) or 'kùe'- (pool que). English speakers can learn to pronounce the 'ù' sound by saying 'eeee' and then rounding their lips as if blowing through a straw.
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'.
A shortterminal German umlaut 'ö' or French 'eu' sound is rendered as '-èu'. See #7. below for more details.