https://www.duolingo.com/jjsperling

Dutch Word Order: Naturally

I'm finding it quite difficult to get used to Dutch word order. Will it become natural after lots of practise or should I seek external aid? Are there other ways I should execute this? Any and all suggestions are appreciated!

12/7/2018, 6:01:56 AM

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/cridings
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It will become more natural the more you learn, it's not something I'd worry about too much. What helped me a lot with word order was lots and lots and lots of reading.

12/7/2018, 9:56:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jjsperling

Ok that's a relief cause I am really enjoying dutch but word order has been my biggest concern. What sorts of things should I read

12/7/2018, 4:00:15 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertaSpiga

I agree that you get used to it in time, with a lot of practice. Though even after years I still find it the hardest part of the language to be honest, I still make some mistakes, but mostly it becomes natural yeah.

12/7/2018, 4:30:59 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AngloSachse

Is Dutch word order similar to German? thinking about moving on to Dutch at some point

12/7/2018, 2:46:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/baerghest
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Dutch is a verb-second language (like German, Danish and more). This mainly matters in subclauses where the verb moves up before the subject. This is easy enough to internalise. Dutch seems to have an unusual degree of freedom in how to place multiple verbs in sentences with modal verbs. Here you can either do this in the English or the German way (Hij kwam rennen rondom de hoek, hij kwam romdom de hoek rennen, both seem to be accepted). On the other hand, Dutch has some rather peculiar rules about where to place time indicators in sentences, and how to order other elements, information I still have not internalised. See http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=WordOrder.00

12/7/2018, 3:20:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/_Sas_
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IMO both of your example sentences are incorrect Dutch.

Correct: "Hij kwam de hoek om rennen." (He came running around the corner)

But with my example you can't really say: "Hij kwam rennen om de hoek." That's also wrong.

12/7/2018, 7:01:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/baerghest
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Right. Thanks.

12/7/2018, 7:05:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/TimDiggle
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As a native UK English and French speaker Dutch word order massively confused me at first (and still does sometimes!) but it gets easier with practice. To help me through the early days (weeks, actually....) I found this page and its hugely helpful diagram to be an invaluable resource and my primary source of explanation.

http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=WordOrder.02

12/7/2018, 3:57:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AngloSachse

You're native to England and France? what one did you learn first?

12/7/2018, 4:02:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/TimDiggle
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Both at the same time - French mother, English father!

12/7/2018, 4:12:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AngloSachse

That's pretty cool! did you ever wonder as a kid as to why you were learning this other language nobody else but your family spoke? or was you constantly back and forth from both countries ?

12/7/2018, 4:14:38 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/TimDiggle
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No - we actually lived in Germany at the time though we moved to France just before I went to school (where I spoke exclusively French) then back to UK after 2 or 3 years (when English took over)

12/7/2018, 4:24:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/AngloSachse

So you must know a little German too! awesome!

12/7/2018, 4:29:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jjsperling

Sorry an Invaluable resource? or valuable?

12/7/2018, 4:28:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/TimDiggle
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Invaluable. It is one of those words designed to confuse non-native speakers.

  • Valuable means worth a lot
  • Valueless means worthless
  • Invaluable means very useful or indispensable
12/7/2018, 4:44:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Siyo21
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What do you exactly mean? Could you give me an example of a word order which doesnt make sense to you. (Its easier for me as a native dutch speaker to help you out this way)

12/7/2018, 10:06:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jjsperling

Well when a sentence is like "Wanneer het koud is, draagt zij een jas." I find it difficult to sort out in my head where the verb or adjective goes. I don't want to need to sort out everything in my head before speaking. Will it eventually just come naturally to me with practice?

12/7/2018, 3:59:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Siyo21
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Okey, now I understand your problem a bit better.

Yes, it comes with practice. In the beginning you'll probably say a often: 'Wanneer het koud is, zij draagt een jas' which is understandable, but still not correct Dutch. But this comes with practice, not just reading but also speaking. You have to practice a lot of speaking in order to sort out all of your mistakes. This is the only way to make word orders come naturally to you. (I do this too with Russian)

12/8/2018, 8:56:31 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/baerghest
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That is the verb second rule. That one, you can certainly internalise: because "draagt ze en jas" is a conditional subclause (conditional on "Wanneer..."), the verb moves up in front of the subject.

12/7/2018, 7:07:44 PM
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