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. Several of the pronoun changes also mimic pronouns used in various Flemish dialects of Dutch or in the Limburgish language 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 three genders, 2. Rolling of 'r's' 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, Use of 'gij' for 'you-singular-informal' and 'you-plural-informal'.
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 six grammatical differences between 'California Dutch' and 'Standard ABN Dutch'- (General Proper Dutch) are: 1.Reduction of almost all subject, object, possessive, and reflexive pronouns to one syllable,2. Increased contraction of post-verb subject, object, and possessive pronouns, (which is the basis for the nickname 'Sideways Dutch' and one of the reasons for the nickname 'Double 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 a second 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 post-verb 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 revlexive/eimphatic use., 4. Reintroduction of the 'Middle Dutch' pronouns 'Du' (You-singular-object-emphatic) and 5. 'Gîj' (You plural subject- with a circomflex accent over the 'ì' indicating a complex gutteral '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 might not recognize them as being "non-Flemish", and a Fleming would just think you were from some obscure border town in the South Limburg region of Holland.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 in dialects/languages such as Frisian or Limburgs, that 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 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 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 which are written 'jieu'-(with a backwards accent) and 'jìeuw'. Both contain a dipthong that begins with an 'ih' sound and morphs into a German umlaut 'ö,' or French aigu 'eu' sound- so that the dipthong sounds identical to the dipthong in the Austrian 'adieu'. The 'jìeuw' variant, (which is the primary form) ends with a hint of an 'uuw' sound.
The object pronoun also has two variants. 'jœu' is the pre-verb form and 'jèu'(with a backwards accent) is the post-verb form. Both have the same pronounciation 'j+'ö' (German) or 'j+'eu' (French), except that 'jœu' is more drawn out than 'jèu'. 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 four 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: 1. 'post-verb subject', 2.'emphatic object', 3. 'pre-verb object', 4. 'post-verb object'/ 'reflexive' forms.
The post-verb subject form is 'd'r', and is pronounced like 'dìr', except faster.The emphatic-object form pronoun is written 'dijr', (where the i and j are slightly scrunched together). It is pronounced like 'dih-jur', except it is just one long syllable..The pre-verb form is written 'dîr' (with a circomflex of the 'î' that indicates it is pronounced like 'dijr', except as a short syllable. The post-verband reflexive form is written 'dìr',-(with a backwards accent) and is pronounced with no trace of a 'ju' sound. It sounds like 'dir' would be pronounced, except the 'i' is slightly elongated.
The second change bassed on repurposing seldom-used pronouns is the introduction of three 'new' pronouns that refer to ex-female single-syllable common gender nouns that morphed into male nouns in 'Standard Dutch' prior to 1950. The 'new' pronouns are also used with historically male nouns that refer to inanimate things, but that don't have an actual, physical, gender These pronouns are also used to refer to human beings of indeterminate gender, such as a generic 'doctor'.
They are: subject- 'dêr'-with a circomflex and pronounced as a single syllable with the 'duh' followed by a 'j+r', in which there is no gutteral sound; emphatic object- 'díen'-(with a forward accent over the 'í' and object-'dèn'-with a backwards accent and pronounced like 'den', except the 'e' sound is slightly drawn out.
To facilitate these changes, the archaic word 'den'(with a lower case 'd') in Standard Dutch' (which today only occurs as the article in names like 'Den Haag' or in expressions like 'op den duur'-(in the long run) is eliminated. In names it only is used if capitalized, and in the expression 'op den duur' it is replaced by ' d'n '. ' d'n ' is pronounced like 'din', except faster.
In addition to the above changes, there are five other important stylistic feature of 'California Dutch': 2. the "sofetning" of several subject and object pronouns at the end of a sentence- or 3. in the case of possessive pronouns, as the second-to-last word in a sentence, 4. the contraction/shortening of the new object pronouns 'jèu' and 'd'r', into ' ù ' and ' u ' after prepositions and 5. contraction of the common-gender pronouns 'onze' (our-informal-plural-possesive ) and 'uwe' (yours-informal-plural-possessive) to ' ons'e ' and ' uv'e '-(pronounced 'ónz-uh' and 'úw-uh', where the first syllable is stressed and the 'uh' is pronounced very rapidly and less loudly)..
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 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. As a result of these changes, the energy a speaker needs to pronounce pronouns decreases as the sentence progresses.
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'). 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'. It is also used in the new word 'dijr' (you-singular-informal, emphatic or initial word).
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 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 'ù' at the beginning of a word has a slightly shorter, more crisp and precise, sound than a long 'u'. The only words it is used in are 'ùniek'-(unique) and ' ù '-('you-singular-informal' post-preposition object or terminal object following consonants).
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.
It is used in the "new" word (from Linburgish) 'œùr'-(your-plural-informal). Œùr is pronounced as a single-syllable dipthong 'u-eur' and is used either as the first word in a clause or for emphasis.
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 'ùe' in the middle or end of a word, as in 'manùever'- (manoeuver) or 'menùe'- (menu) indicates the same sound as 'initial ù' above.. It also occurs in the new word ' jùe '-(you-informal-singular-object), which is only used terminally when preceded by a vowel.
A shortterminal German umlaut 'ö' or French 'eu' sound is rendered as '-èu'. See #7. below for more details.