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 'Middle Dutch' , (or 'Medieval Dutch'), which was spoken from about 1150 until 1491, ie. the year before Columbus returned from the "New" World. In particular, the Middle Dutch pronouns for 'you', both singular and plural- ('thou' and 'ye'), are added back into Modern Dutch. This is one of the reasons for the nickname, 'Double Dutch', or '2x as many pronouns' Dutch. .
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 differences between 'California Dutch' and 'Standard ABN Dutch' are: 1.Reduction of almost all pre-verb subject, object, and reflexive pronouns to one syllable,2. more widespread 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 Flemish-Dutch mirror written 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 words, pronouns and verbs 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 five 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 'Gìj' (You plural subject- with a backwards accent over the 'ì' indicating a complex initial 'g+je' sound) and 5. 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 odd corner of Flanders (near 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 'Middle 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 Oscar's and Hammerstein's 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 French pronunciation of 'Adieu'. (Note: Actually, in the musical, the word 'yieu' doesn't have a terminal dipthong 'ee-eu' sound, but just a '-eu' sound.)
In 'California Dutch' the pre-verb pronoun is written 'jìeu', (with a backwards accent over the 'ì'), and is pronounced with the same dipthong sound as the French 'Adieu'. Two other variants of the word are: 'jèu' ( post-verb-object form in normal-order constructions with just a simple, short 'f'rench ' 'eu ' sound) and 'jœu' (unstressed-possessive form with a simple, long French 'eu' sound).
The second primary change that doesn't have a background in historical Dutch, is the coining of three new monosyllable pronouns for 'you-plural-informal'. The pre-verb object pronoun is written 'dijr', and is pronounced like 'dih-jur' sound, except it is just one syllable and the 'juh' sound is barely perceptible. The reflexive form, and the post-verb, normal-sentence-order object pronoun is dìr (with a backwards accent over the 'ì', and which is pronounced like 'dijr', except faster. The emphatic form is 'dîr', which is pronounced like 'dijr', except with more emphais and a slight rise in pitch.
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 object pronous 'jìeu' and 'dijr', and the expansion of their possessive forms, after prepositions and verbs, and 4. reduced declension of the posessive pronouns 'onze' and 'uwe'-(ours' and 'yours-informal-plural' ).
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, the penultimate word in a sentence).
Note: Actually, the 'pre and post verb' distinctions are really based on whether a clause is a 'normal order' or 'reverse order' clause, but usually this can be described as being a result of words being pre- or post- verb words.
Note: This web page is meant to be used together with the web page www.zoot.co, which explains how English speakers can master 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, for beginners, to indicate a 'short i' sound, as in 'mogelijk' ('possible'- pronounced 'mow-ge-lick') at the end of a multi-syllable word, or as a long 'ee' sound at the end of a syllable, as in bijzonders (special). Otherwise, it is written without ligation, in which case it represents an 'aai' (eye) sound.
Because some computer font softwares automatically ligate 'ij's, the 'i' and the 'j' may need to be manually separated by half a point when they refer to an 'eye' sound. This can be done using the advanced font settings of PCs and Macs.
Because, with the exception of the single word 'bijzonders', all the 'ligated' vs. 'expanded' 'ij' spellings are consistent, ie. all instances of 'ij' have an 'eye' sound, except for the 'ih' sound of the suffix '-lijk' in multi-syllable words, advanced students may forego the ligated vs. non-ligated distinction.
There are two particular words that needs special clarification of the 'ij' sound. The first is 'bijzonders'-(special), where the 'ij' is pronounced as 'ee'. 'California Dutch' solves this problem by using the spelling 'bízonders' instead. The second instance is the new word 'dijr' -(you-plural-emphatic-object) which must have a ligated 'ij'.
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.
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'.
At the beginning of a word, an 'ù' (in Germanic Language words- including Dutch), is used to indicate a pure umlaut 'ü' sound in words like 'ùberhaupt' (above all). (In Romance Language and Greek loan words the same sound is rendered 'eu-'.) English speakers can learn to pronounce the 'ù/eu-' sound by saying 'eeee' and then rounding their lips as if blowing through a straw.
At the end of a word, the German 'umlaut ü' sound is rendered as '-ùe', such as in 'revùe'-(theatrical review) and 'kùe'-(pool cue). A short terminal German 'umlaut ö' sound is rendered as '-èu'.