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"Ik heb niemand om van te houden!"

Translation:I have nobody to love!

September 1, 2017

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnkelD
  • 1552

Just a "related" question for a mod. I became fascinated with Dutch, and the Dutch culture since having seen (with subtitles of course) Ciske de Rat. I also really liked the song: "Ik voel me zo verdomd alleen". I have tried to get full translations (in English) but knowing what I do of Dutch, I find most of them VERY lacking... (e.g. for the title they say "I feel so terribly alone" when I am fairly certain the title is "I feel so damned alone"...But I digress. When the boy reaches the verse. "Had ik maar iemand om van te houden" I read, "If I only had someone to love" --but in listening to the lyrics, the kid (well he was back around 82 or 3 I guess) sounded like he was singing: "Had ik maar iemand om van te HOWEN" the "d" was truly NOT pronounced. Someone once told me this has something to do with an "Amsterdam" dialect as opposed to the more common "Dutch" dialect??? I'm just wondering if someone can explain that... do the folks in Amsterdam pronounce "houden" without sounding the "d"... ? Don't mean to side-track but that song and movie have always held an interest for me.

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xMerrie

Yeah, some Amsterdammers don't pronounce the 'd' in 'houden' or 'rijden' (e.g.). It sounds more like: "houwe" and "rije". The Amsterdam dialect is part of the "Holland dialects", with most similarities to the "South Holland dialects". There are also a lot of Yiddish words (because there are (and were) many Jews in Amsterdam) - but I'm getting sidetracked. ;)

Here is the wiki page for the Amsterdam dialect: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdams_(dialect)
(Unfortunately, it is not available in English)

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dutchesse722

Dit is een top site als je je eigen dialect eens wilt opzoeken: http://www.mijnwoordenboek.nl/dialecten/index.php?provincie=alle.

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/xMerrie

Nice! Alleen, ik woon in een van de weinige gebieden in Nederland die zijn dialect verloren heeft... Mijn dialect staat er helaas niet tussen. :')
Volgens wiki is het de overgangsgroep van Nedersaksisch naar Hollands.

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dutchesse722

Dat is jammer!

September 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OnkelD
  • 1552

Bedankt, ik kan het nog steeds gebruiken!

September 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NVed4

Nog steeds... nog steeds... nog steeds... Damn! I don't remember.

December 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamDurden

Why could this not just be "Ik heb niemand te houden"?

May 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El2theK

Because to love = houden van.

May 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inday_

So om could be omitted? What's the use of it?

May 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

If I understand correctly, it depends on whether the referent word (here ‘niemand’) is the direct object of the infinitive clause or not, i.e. whether you need a preposition. For example, with the transitive verb ‘drinken’ you can say ‘ik heb niets te drinken’, no ‘om’ required because ‘iets’ would be the direct object of ‘drinken’. With a preposition instead: ‘ik heb een huis om in te wonen’ (‘I have a house to live in’), ‘er is geen vork om met te eten’ (‘there is no fork to eat with’).

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NCThom

I'm not sure that works. I think that in 'Ik heb niets te drinken', "niets" is the direct object of "hebben." Wat heb je? Niets (te drinken).

I believe om ... te comes into play when the entire phrase serves a single purpose in the sentence, somewhat like a subordinate clause.

  • Ik probeer om niets te drinken.
    What are you trying to do? To drink nothing. "Drinking nothing" is a single unit in the sentence, serving to indicate what I am trying.

  • Ik vind leuk om Nederlands te leren.
    What do you find nice? Learning Dutch.

  • Het is gevaarlijk om in dat meer te zwemmen.
    What is dangerous? Swimming in that lake.

  • Ik heb niemand om van te houden!
    What kind of nobody do you have? To keep of (to love). This one's trickier because the "houden van" construction is a little opaque from the perspective of this English speaker. But

  • Ik heb niemand om voor te zingen.
    What kind of nobody do you have? To sing for. And

  • Ik heb een berg nodig om omhoog te gaan.
    What kind of mountain do you need? To go up.

  • Ik heb niets om uit te drinken.
    I have nothing. What kind of nothing? Nothing to drink out of. Ik heb een beker of een glas nodig.

I also think that "om" sometimes is omitted not as a matter of strict grammatical rule, but because omission is permitted and its presence implicit, much like we in English sometimes omit "that" (e.g., "That is the book [that] I want.").

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

My phrasing wasn't very felicitous, I'll admit. I'm afraid I've favoured shortness over accuracy. What I meant was that ‘om’ is not be used when the relative pronoun you would use (were the sentence to be reworded as to include a relative clause) would be the direct object; for example: ‘ik heb niets te drinken’ = ‘ik heb niets, wat men kan drinken’. In the same type of infinitive clause, were the relative pronoun to be necessarily introduced by a preposition, then ‘om’ is necessary; for example: ‘ik heb niemand om voor te zingen’ = ‘ik heb niemand, voor wie ik kan zingen’.

I think, in your analysis, you're confusing the latter structure (which is basically a non-finite relative clause, with an analogous construction in English) with the non-finite final/causal clause proper introduced by ‘om’. The latter we find, for example, in your sentence: ‘ik heb een berg nodig om omhoog te gaan’. Here ‘om omhoog te gaan’ is simply the reason why you need a mountain, the berg itself is nowhere implied in the infinitive clause as it is in the other examples. In fact, you could construct the sentence using a finite final clause without repeating berg (which you couldn't do in the previous sentences), e.g. ‘ik heb een berg nodig, zodat ik omhoog kan gaan’. This is easy to spot because in these cases (again, as opposed to the other examples) you can use the phrase ‘in order to’ in English to translate it.

In your examples, you seem to have dredged up yet another ‘om te’ construction that I hadn't even considered: the infinitive nominal clause, which becomes the subject or object of the main clause (basically the non-finite equivalent of ‘dat’ as a conjunction). Here, English has the option of employing a gerund, and this is also a useful test for this kind of clause: ‘het is gevaarlijk om in dat meer te zwemmen’ = ‘it is dangerous to swim in that lake’ = ‘swimming in that lake is dangerous’.

Ultimately, the ‘rule’ I was talking about applies only to the attributive infinitive phrase (the first kind we've talked about), I think considerations on the others should be made separately. Note, however, that I'm not a native speaker, and that I couldn't find a clear and rigorous explanation of infinitive clauses in Dutch anywhere—much less about the specific type I wanted to talk about—and this is only a rule I subsumed from what little Dutch I have read around and here on Duolingo. Your comment, however, seems to confirm my hypothesis: the attributive infinitive clause only needs ‘om’ when the modified noun would need to be introduced by a preposition in the subordinate clause.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NCThom

I have no problem with the long comments. I composed a long one, myself, but it needed editing. And then there was my day job sitting here looking at me.

One big problem I'm having is with "om." Based on this page at the dutchgrammar.com site and this one I found earlier this afternoon, I'm beginning to think I've been unduly distracted by "om" because it is a strange and unusual creature from the perspective of an English speaker (or this one, anyway). So much of my thinking likely is off, having been distracted by "om" at the expense of the [preposition] ... te ... construction.

(Almost all Dutch prepositions have a pretty close correspondent in English, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around "om." It's like naming the colors on a spectrum: zonder and for and sans are close enough so that I can use zonder with at least some practical comfort, even though they theoretically could point to close but not exactly the same places on the spectrum. "Om" is like a color I can see, but I'm not sure what it is, and I have no word for it.)

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar
(In response to your later comment)

I personally also have somewhat of a quarrel with ‘om’. On its own, it means ‘around’—pretty straightforward, English also had the cognate ‘umbe’ before the Norman ‘around’ took over—, but, when combined with the te-infinitive, it takes on this weird final meaning. That would even be ok: it's pretty close to the English ‘in order to’ or ‘for ... -ing’, plus, I've got used to it pretty quickly in German (where the construction is ‘um ... zu’); but then Dutch throws at me these other constructions where a preposition would make absolutely no sense and I'm lost again (German, on the contrary, is very strict on allowing ‘um’ only when a final clause is introduced and then it never allows to omit it: either you must use it or you must not). I guess at some point in the history of the Dutch language the ‘om te’ construction got more and more equated with the plain te-infinitive, up to the point where, in modern Dutch, its presence (or absence) is, when not optional, completely arbitrary.

All of this shouldn't bother me too much—in the end, it perfectly parallels the development of the to-infinitive in Germanic languages anyways: first intended as a final clause (using ‘to’ with the meaning of ‘towards, for the purpose of’), it was then generalised to an indefinite general infinitive—, however, the fact that the ‘om ... te’ nominal infinitive exists alongside the ‘simple’ te-infinitive (used for example, as you say, after prepositions) peeves me for some reason. The redundancy of it makes it hard for me to accept, but I'm sure with time I'll see its beauty.

On the other hand, the use of prepositions in general in front of the te-infinitive doesn’t baffle me that much, maybe because my Romance native language (Italian) has accustomed me to the use of infinitives as nouns.

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ly_Mar

I would like to add two short things:

  1. Sorry for the very long answer, but I felt like a shorter one wouldn't have been able to address the different points that I feel are crucial to this discussion.

  2. In multiple places I have used the terms ‘explicit’ and ‘implicit’ in reference to clauses—normal usage in my mother tongue—where English would apparently have ‘finite’ and ‘non-finite’. I could try to change them all, but some would definitely slip.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarimerP

Suggestion!! Moderator Help! I feel we need this unit broken down into at least two units. I’m a very disciplined and patient learner, but this unit is bombarding me with too many possibilities at once.

August 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Simius

Noted! Thanks for the feedback.

August 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarimerP

Thank you for replying.

August 27, 2019
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