https://www.duolingo.com/Ginyah

Untranslatable Sentence

Ginyah
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I was trying to translate a paragraph from Dutch into English, and came across this sentence: Echt ver geraakte hij niet meer.

I don't know heaps of Dutch vocabulary, so I was using an online translator to help. When I typed the sentence in, it came up with "Really far he lost no more", which wasn't much help. Typing the words individually didn't work either ( really far hit he not more).

Can someone please help me understand what "Echt ver geraakte hij niet meer." is supposed to mean?

The full paragraph is here : http://nieuws.vtm.be/moet-je-zien/161599-politieachtervolging-eindigt-oceaan

Bedankt!

3 years ago

6 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/--Charlotte--
--Charlotte--
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You're translating an item from a Belgian news site (.be) which is why you will bump into things like this. Even though Flemish and Dutch are very similar, they also have many differences.

"Echt ver geraakte hij niet meer", means "but he didn't get very far (anymore)" in this context. In Dutch we would probably say: "hij kwam echter niet ver", which Google Translate turns into: however, he did not get far.

Makes more sense than 'really far hit he not more' :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Multitaal
Multitaal
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He didn't manage to get very far.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blackleaf42
blackleaf42
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I agree with Multitaal's translation! Slightly more literally it would be "He didn't get really far anymore" (after driving into the ocean).

Would just like to add that your (and the online translator's) confusion probably comes from the verb "geraken", which isn't a very frequently used verb, to be honest. It means "to reach, to end up in/at (somewhere, a certain place or condition)". Often people will use more well known verbs like "(terecht)komen" (komen =come, terechtgekomen=end up) or "worden" (become) or "raken" (hit, reach, touch) instead of "geraken". Especially in the Netherlands, it seems that in Belgium "geraken" is used a little more frequently. Hope this helps (and doesn't confuse further ;P)!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ginyah
Ginyah
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Dank je wel everyone for your help :-) I didn't realise that it was in Flemish, which was probably part of the problem.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Multitaal
Multitaal
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I would not call this sentence and the verb "geraken" Flemish. It is just a bit bookish in Dutch.

A bigger problem in understanding Dutch is that word order in Dutch is more flexible than in English. You could rearrange the word order of the sentence to make it easier to understand for English speakers: "Hij geraakte niet echt ver meer." And not change the meaning of the sentence just take the emphasis away from "echt ver".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/blackleaf42
blackleaf42
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You are right, Multitaal (especially on the word order, which is very much a hurdle for learners). Having said that, if you are used to reading Netherlands Dutch and most of your learning material is from the Netherlands, it can be quite a challenge to suddenly come across a Flemish Dutch text. Even though vocabulary and sentence structures aren't exclusive to the one or other, the instinctive choices and preferences between speakers of the two can be quite different. And if Dutch is not your mother tongue that difference will probably seem more pronounced. So knowing whether you are dealing with Netherlands or Flemish Dutch can help you be prepared for "unusual" word usage. Even for me (from the Netherlands) Ginyah's sentence felt slightly unfamiliar. Of course, since I have the vocabulary of a native speaker, I instantly understand the meaning, but honestly my first reaction was "Huh, who would formulate it like this?" :P... Seeing that it was from a Belgian site made it immediately clear though ;).

Funny that you say "bookish Dutch" too, since as a Dutch reader reading Flemish my impression is often that it feels more literary/elegant somehow :D (or maybe that is exactly because of that slight unfamiliarity).

3 years ago
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