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  5. "Je bent een jongen."

"Je bent een jongen."

Translation:You are a boy.

July 16, 2014



How come "Jij bent een jongen" won't work?

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If this regards a "Type what you hear" exercise, only the best translation is accepted, i.e. the only one the voice reads. If you have doubts about whether the voice says "jij" or "je" or "zij" or "ze", etc. then it may help to play the audio slowly.

Unfortunately there's nothing else we can do about this at the moment.


I had this problem in a type what you hear exercise. I can't hear the difference between jij and je.


The difference has always been very obvious to me (native German speaker), so I think the voice is probably OK. Jij is pronounced like Yie, as in Yikes!. Je is pronounced like unstressed ye, with the vowel of unstressed the before a consonant, as in Yeti.


It's very obvious to me as well. I'm a native English speaker.


But I must add that in the meantime I have had many cases in which the quick voice actually said je where it should have said jij. The slow voice pronounces jij as yay (which is correct, though I think yie is also correct), and in the quick voice the end is cut off.


So your German. What's the difference between ß and s


ß is the Ezsett. It'd used as a double s at the end of a word.


You just have to learn the single words. In former times ß = Eszet or scharfes s was used at the end of a word instead of double s. But there was a language reform about 20 years ago and now we use the ß only after a long vocal, e. g. Fuß but Fluss, the u is short. Hope this will help you.


"jij" is almost like "yay", while "je" is more like "yuh"


For sure i can also here the difference


Respectfully, "hear the difference" not "here the difference"


Jij sounds like Jej but je sounds like Je so thats it for me!

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That's odd. It's included as an alternative. Keep us posted if this problem persists!


It still persists right now. What exactly is the difference is pronunciation between Je and Jij?

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See if this helps: http://de.forvo.com/search/jij%20je/

Just play the audio for "je" and "jij" of course.


To me, "Jij" sounds like the English word "Hey", and "Je" sounds like "you".


Yi as in the beginning of "Yikes" is probably a better example. Jijkes.


i dont understand how to use ben and bent. since im indonesian speaker.


The difference between ben and bent is as for all other verbs. Since Indonesian does not have a verb for be, I take it that that is your problem.

The Dutch verb zijn is used almost exactly like the English verb be. You must use it as a copula where Indonesian uses the zero copula:

  • I am Dutch. - Ik ben nederlands.

Therefore "I Dutch" or "Ik nederlands" is wrong. The other problem is that Dutch (like English) uses tenses/aspects of the verb instead of words such as sedang. For some tenses/aspects, Dutch (like English) uses the verb zijn (be) instead of another verb and adds a special form (participle) instead of the other verb:

  • I am speaking Dutch. - Ik ben nederlands aan het spreken.

If you still have problems with this in English, you can do the English course for Indonesian speakers first. But if you understand it in English, you already understand it in Dutch.


thanks, I'm an Indonesian as well. wow, are you a native in both Dutch and English? since you're a Germany.


Can someone please tell me the difference between jij and je and u?


There are long discussions on the subtle difference between jij and je already on this page and elsewhere. In short, je is an unstressed version of jij that started as a simpler pronunciation of jij but has become a separate word to some extent and is used very frequently.

U is the polite version of jij/je. It's hard to explain how to choose between jij and u. Clear cases are that you always address friends, family and children with jij, and that a young person addressing an unknown elderly lady or gentleman in the street should probably use u at least in the first sentence.


Here on comments page the sound is different whilst on the test page man clearly says "de" instead of "een"


I typed in "Je ben de jongen" and it kept telling me that I was typing in English not in Dutch...


Jij zijn een jongen


Je bent een jongen


I had this exercise hard and super.I cant hear voice


All of these insights are very helpful! Thank you. I thought I noticed a pattern before, but this question seems to contradict it. Does the use of "Jij" instead of "Je" have to do with the use of "bent" in a sentence? Up until now, it seemed like the use of "Jij" corresponded with the use of a "to be" verb, primarily "bent". Is there any relationship here, or was that just a coincidence?


There is a pattern, but it's a bit weird because for the second person singular it depends on word order:

  • Ben ik? Ja, ik ben.
  • Ben[!] je? Ja, je bent[!].
  • Is hij? Ja, hij is.


You are right about the second person singular, but the third person singular is "hij is" not "hij bent".


Oops! Thanks, I just corrected it. This shows that even being a native speaker of German doesn't immunise one from the most stupid blunders in learning Dutch! Use of bent for the second person is so strange to me that I automatically generalised it to the third person. But at least I am not tempted to do that in normal situations...


No. Jong is the Dutch cognate of young, and both still have the same meaning. Consequently jongen is a cognate of youth. But its meaning is now so far specialised to boys that it doesn't really make sense to translate the singular as youth any more. Nevertheless, the plural jongens can actually be used this way, though I guess it's a bit unfair to the girls.

English has a very similar situation with the word cow. You can use this word generically for both sexes of the species, but only unless/until the sex is obviously male.


Interesting. Although even in English "a youth" primarily refers to a male. Dictionary.com provides a definition that concurs: "a young person, especially a young man or male adolescent." This usage is probably considered a bit old-fashioned now, but I definitely still encounter it quite a bit in literary works.


Oh, I see. I had missed that particular meaning of youth in English. In my defence, that actually translates to Dutch as jongeling or jongeman. And there is also another issue: A prototypical youth (or jongeling) is a lot older than a prototypical boy / jongen.


Very helpful. Thanks!


I typed "je bent de jongen" twice and "you typed in english, not dutch" also showed up twice thia only happened to me once but its worth mentioning anyway


I guess " je" is for pointing out a young person and "jij" is for older people


No, not at all. I don't think any European language distinguishes young and old grammatically. Some European languages have a special 'polite' form of address such as Dutch u that is used in certain social situations. But in general it marks distance, in a symmetric way. Asymmetric markers such as English your hono(u)r or your majesty have survived in certain specialised contexts, but they generally have a very outdated feel to them.

It is best to think of je as a simplified/abbreviated/casual form of the full forms jij and jou(w). It is used very much like contractions are used in English. In many other languages one would always write jij or jou(w) and just pronounce them je in most cases. But Dutch is a very phonetic language whose orthography is quickly updated to follow such details of pronunciation. If you are confused what to use: you must use jij or jou(w) when they are stressed; when they are unstressed, it is usually more natural to replace them by je.


Difference between Jij, Je and U?


See @johaquila 's response above.


I touch the jongen the not goin


Is it "je" because the sentence refers to a boy and not a man?


No. That's like asking the similar question about the following English sentences:

"He is a man."

"He's a boy."

Je is just a sloppy, unstressed variant of jij.


I don't agree about the sloppyness you mention. Je is the most common form. But indeed it's the unstressed form. It's best only to use jij when you want to stress it, when in English you would say: "YOU are a boy." and when you want to sound formal/official (although often the polite form u is usually better in that case). Use je in all other cases.


It's always problematic for a learner to contradict a native speaker, but what you say doesn't quite agree with what linguists are writing about the matter and it doesn't agree with the results of my searches in Google Books.

When I described je as sloppy I didn't mean to imply that it's somehow not fully acceptable. When I described it as just a variant of jij, I didn't mean to imply that it's rarer than jij. Sorry if these two points weren't clear. I simply didn't know suitable terminology for what I wanted to express.

In the meantime I have found some linguistic sources, so I think I can express myself better now. Jij is an example of what is called a full, major or tonic pronoun. It is always correct, especially in writing, though of course in many situations native speakers will say je instead. Je is an example of a reduced or minor pronoun. It is 'reduced' in a phonetical sense - what I referred to as sloppy -, but also in the sense that in many grammatical positions it can't be used. For instance, a descriptive phrase applied to the pronoun (such as "met je eeuwige gezeur") can follow jij but not je. Also, and this is obviously related though neither strictly implies the other, je can't receive emphasis. Jij can be stressed, but if you don't stress it it isn't stressed.

I don't know Dutch well enough to know if that's a fair comparison, but your advice "It's best only to use jij when you want to stress it" reminds me of some of the English prescriptive literature that simply makes up arbitrary rules such as the following one: Since who can only be applied to persons, that must only be applied to non-persons. This is not a rule of actual English but the result of someone's attempt to make English conform to their theory of what the language should be like.


Ok then I just misunderstood, no problem. To me sloppy means lazy, untidy, less good not alternative, different way, something derived from

Your explanation is clear now.

Regarding my advice I am not trying to make any arbitrary rule (or any rule for that matter), but I am just giving some advice for people learning the language. Because I assume the vast majority here wants to learn Dutch so they can use it in common speech and casual writing (holidays, meeting Dutch people, etc.), not for language studies or writing official documents, therefore my advice is do as the locals do :) And what we locals do is use je a lot and use jij only to emphasise. Maybe I should have weakened down It's best in my advice a bit more, but at least that was written to be less strict than You should.

Back to the more linguistic part you are referring to. Indeed jij used to be the only one and je is the new kid on the block (makes sense becaue it's most used colloquially). And indeed jij should be the 'always correct' version. But languages change and if you use jij a lot it will be perceived as a weird/archaic use of the language, because of what I said earlier: in every day use it's less common than je. And because it's the familiar form anyway, the change probably goes quite fast. More official writing, which tends to be more static, will contain the polite form anyway, so je vs. jij in practice will be determined by the man in the street. To make a long story short, I feel it has already shifted more than you explain in your post.

A really nice example you found BTW, although the jij before met je eeuwige gezeur is emphasised, it would be nice if similar examples still exist with a jij without emphasis that cannot be replaced by a je..

Note: for the ones reading that are not very proficient in Dutch yet, the je in je eeuwige gezeur has nothing to do with this whole discussion, because it's a possesive je, it's not a pronoun. Jij met je eeuwige gezeur means You with your eternal whining/nagging. This apparently is a very common phrase amongst married couples. ;)


The gezeur example was shamelessly stolen from Frank van Eynde, Major and minor pronouns in Dutch, where it was used to illustrate much the same point. I agree that an example with less emphasis on the pronoun would be better. This may not exist, and that's probably the reason for this phenomenon. Though one can of course read the phrase with a strong emphasis on eeuwige gezeur that leaves jij essentially unstressed. (But I have a hunch that in that case je would be somewhat acceptable!)

Your point about the special case of informal jij makes perfect sense. The situation with wij is quite different. On Google Books, wij zijn is almost twice as frequent as we zijn, and in old books it seems to dominate by far.

I am actually not too concerned about hitting a bit too early in the evolution of the language. If a slightly older stage is easier to understand, then it should be quite easy to follow the natural progress of the language.


Re my last paragraph (hitting a bit too early). What I mean is that I don't mind if aspects of the Dutch I am learning are from around 1900 or so. If that's easier to learn than modern Dutch because some things are in a transitory chaotic state right now (it almost looks to me as if this might be the case), then that's still a good foundation. The necessary updates will come automatically just through using the language.


In Dutch we say "Beter goed gejat dan slecht verzonnen" (Beter stolen well, then made up badly). So the compliment is all yours, and don't you dare passing it on to some Frank I've never heard of. ;)

You're right, you can indeed put heavy emphasis on eeuwige gezeur in that case it still is not possible to change jij to je so the transition is still in progress. :)

What do you mean by your last paragraph about hitting too early?


Ok clear. Be careful (especially with reading/writing) going back too far in time, there are lots of spelling revisions in Dutch. Since I was in primary school in the late 80's there must have been at least 4, I don't know exactly because I don't bother with them anymore, I'll just stick to the spelling revision I learned in secondary school, I know that one best and I don't need to worry about school tests anymore anyway. :)

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