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 Dutch', which was spoken from about 1150 until about 1491, ie. the year 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 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, Use of variants of the medieval/Limburgish pronouns 'gij/geer' 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 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 one syllable,2. Increased 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 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.
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 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), 2. Restriction of the use of the object pronoun 'jou', and the 3. possessive pronoun 'jouw' to just reflexive or emphatic use., 4. Reintroduction of the 'Middle Dutch' pronouns 'Du' (You-singular-object-emphatic) and 5. 'Gîj' (You-singular and you-plural subject- with a circomflex accent over the 'ì' indicating a gutteral 'g+je' sound for the plural form), 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 Belgian province of 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 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 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. 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 five 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. 'post-verb subject', 2.'emphatic object', 3. 'pre-verb object' (plus terminal object), 4. 'post-verb object', and 5. '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), and is pronounced like 'dih-jur', except it is just one long syllable..The pre-verb object form, and terminal-word form, is written 'dîr' (with a circomflex over the 'î' that indicates it is pronounced like 'dijr', except as a short syllable. The post-verb object form is simply 'dir'- with no accent mark, and is pronounced with no trace of a 'juh' sound The reflexive form is written 'dìr',-(with a backwards accent) and is pronounced more quickly than 'dir' , again with no trace of a 'juh' sound.
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 of their genders,
The unisex pronouns are: 1. initial-word and emphatic-subject- 'dèèr'-with two reverse accents, which indicate the word is pronounced like 'bear' but quite quickly 2. initial-word-object- 'dìen'-(with a reverse accent over the 'ì' and pronounced like 'dee-en', 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-'dèn'-with a backwards accent indicating the word is pronounced like 'den', 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 'daïe' (pronounced like the English 'die' but with the dipthong slightly more drawn out}, are used with plural nouns and with multisyllable nouns that have a feminine ending.. (Note: The four 'initial word' pronouns 'díe', 'dèèr', 'daïe', and ', 'díen', 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 names, is eliminated, except in capitalized proper names. In the expression 'op den duur', 'den' is replaced by ' d'n '. ' d'n ' is pronounced like 'din', except faster.
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' and 'dir', into ' ù ' 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 ' ons' and ' uw' '. ' ons' is pronounced like 'on-suh' where the 'suh' is very brief), and ' uw' ' is pronounced like 'u-wuh' where the 'wuh' 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 energy a speaker needs to pronounce pronouns decreases as the sentence progresses, or "goes sideways".)
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 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..)
'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 nine 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 is 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. The Standard Dutch use of 'è' in French loan words like 'carrière'-(career), or 'trompèt' (trumpet) is discontinued (and an 'ė' with a single dot over it is used instead). The backwards accent mark is then repurposed to indicate a slightly accelerated and/or abbreviated pronunciation, and is used with all the vowels. . An 'ù' at the beginning of a word has a slightly shorter sound than a long 'u'. The only Standard Dutch word it is used in is 'ùniek'-(unique), in which case ithe 'ù' indicates a shift of emphasis to the second syllabe.. It is also used in the California Dutch words: ' ù '-('you-singular-informal-post-preposition-object) and ' ùw '-(you-singular-informal-post-preposition-possessive, for both neuter and common gender nouns). The two new words are always proceded by a consonant and the 'ù's are 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.
It is 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 in stressed situations involving neuter-gender nouns and in accelerated-situations involving 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, pure, 'u' sound, which is the same as the sound in words beginning with 'eu' like 'Europa'. The 'ùe' sound is closer to the French 'ue' sound than it is to the German 'ü' sound, ie. it it is a 'borderline umlaut'.
A shortterminal German umlaut 'ö' or French 'eu' sound is rendered as '-èu'. See #7. below for pronunciation details.