In this section there have been quite a few words with the translation "happy" - blij, gelukkig, tevreden and I think another. Are these words used in like degrees where one expresses feeling happier than another in some way or are they interchangeable?
Alvast bedankt! :)
It's quite difficult to explain, but yes, you're absolutely right. We have many synonyms in Dutch, that on their own mean the same thing, but vary colloquially. So while blij/gelukkig/tevreden are indeed synonyms, the degree of enthusiasm varies.
- Ik ben blij met mijn klompen - I am happy with my clogs.
- Ik ben tevreden met mijn klompen - I am satisfied with my clogs (I'm happy with them, not ecstatic, but I wouldn't say unhappy)
- Ik ben gelukkig met mijn klompen - I am happy with my clogs (more than happy, very happy, like blissful/lucky/blessed, something you might say about your marriage or your life).
It goes the other way around too. The Dutch word 'leuk' has many synonyms in English: fun, nice, cool, entertaining, funny.
Unfortunately this is something you can only truly get the hang of if you hang around Dutch people enough, and even then some words might be used more in one region than the other. I am from Amsterdam, and I would most likely say "ik ben blij met mijn (nieuwe) klompen", but someone from, say, Limburg might say "ik ben gelukkig met mijn (nieuwe) klompen", which to me might sound a bit dramatic since they're only clogs.
Hope that helped. Happy learning!
Am I right in seeing the word vrede (peace) in tevreden? I am at peace with my clogs :-)
Yes! It comes from an old Germanic word zufrieden, which means "at peace with" or "with peace". Something like that. :)