https://www.duolingo.com/davidvdb

Jij or u?

davidvdb
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I've seen some questions about the difference between jij/je and u.

4 years ago

22 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Thanks for the informative (and amusing) post. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PopTartTastic

Is it similar to the "vous/tu" "você/tu" "usted/tú" situation?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JudithL1
JudithL1
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Probably, although it seems to me that in different countries the strictness varies a bit

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist
Lenkvist
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I recognise this picture from some time ago. It was originally used to explain the difference between "tu" and "vous" in French. I don't think it perfectly translates to Dutch. Some people address senior family members like grandparents with "u". It is also strange to see "jij" with "Someone you don't formally know" as you would use "u" with strangers (and probably also with God).

For teachers, it's probably "jij" in elementary school, "u" in middle school, and "jij" or "u" in higher education.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/saschambaer
saschambaer
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Now here we have some cultural differences. In Switzerland, it would be quite a big offence to use "du" (jij) with a teacher on any level. Like, after Kindergarten, that's a no-go.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lavmarx
Lavmarx
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Where I'm from teachers aren't bothered if you call the "tu" (Spanish) when you're more familiarized with them. Some even tell you to call them by their first name.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/saschambaer
saschambaer
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Yeah, this would be impossible here. Kindergarten sometimes (I was on a first name basis with my “teacher” back then), but after that? Before asking a question we would always have to say “Sie, Herr/Frau surname” (You (formal), mr/ms surname)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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You're right saschambaer, cultural differences make quite a difference. Dutch are a lot less strict than Germans and Belgians for instance (and Swiss what I get from your post).

For instance in most companies it's standard to address your boss with jij (indeed this is a no-go in a lot of countries!). At school up to primary school (4-12 years old) it's all jij, in secondary school (12-16/18 years old) it depend on the teacher u is the norm, but quite a lot of teachers prefer to be addressed with their first name and with jij. In university, same thing, except that especially for bigger courses/earlier years, teachers and students are actually strangers, so it's all u.

There may be some people that still call their grandparents u in the Netherlands, but for all family members jij is the norm. (Even the brothers/sisters of my grandparents, which I see once/twice a year max, are jij, but this is about as far as jij gets, and probably is not standard everywhere.)

People working in stores will most likely say jij to people of the same age or younger up to, let's say 25. If customers are above that age they'll get into safe-mode (stranger mode) and start with u. And in a bit more personal shops like a barber shop, it probably leans even more to jij.

Then there are some funny things, I remember once addressing an elderly man with u, but it turned out he was a farmer, so he was offended that I did so, because he was still country-side old-school: only the mayor, notary and doctor are called u, all the rest is jij. :)

Even though we are an informal bunch, when in doubt, best to use u. Changing to jij when told is no problem, but when you start out with jij there is a chance you offend people.

I think there's one thing not completely correct in the graphic above and that is, meeting strangers. When you're 30/35 or younger it's ok to say jij to strangers the same age or younger (unless it's in a formal setting, if they have a formal look like a suit, or they simply look old-fashioned/strict).

And a fun detail: child princes will be called u by adults and jij by kids, which actually will be quite accurate. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JudithL1
JudithL1
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Little things from my own country Austria.

In upper Austria (Oberösterreich) everybody uses du/jij.

If I am dancing with a stranger in the countryside, I'll use Sie/U to ask them and du afterwards.

I once read a sign saying: "If you are at least 1000m above sea level, use du" obviously this is irrelevant to Dutch.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/samulili
samulili
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Thank you so much for all that. I have noticed that at my local AH or Jumbo I am given the change with alsjeblieft and not alstublieft (I'm 35) so definitely more relaxed than France or Germany.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JudithL1
JudithL1
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We used du in elementary school (Austria)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sojinjung
sojinjung
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For the speaking to God with "Jij," I think it's actually pretty common in at least the European/Christian tradition to speak to God with the less formal pronoun.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pleurocystites
Pleurocystites
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For Catholic parts of Europe the formal address was used until Vatican II (and still lingers), for the Protestant parts the informal address has been used for a long time, that's why the King James Bible used 'Thou' and 'thee' which, while now archaic sounding, was the familiar form of address.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PaulMoffett
PaulMoffett
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Actually, "thou" and "thee" were the informal. Back when English made a distinction, "you" and "ye" were plural or formal.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pleurocystites
Pleurocystites
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That's what I am saying, informal=familiar.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PopTartTastic

Personally, as a Christian, I believe that in say church, we would refer to him formally, as church is meant to be formal, but we believe that God is our friend and helper, so in private we would talk to him informally.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JudithL1
JudithL1
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Every prayer uses informal. The whole mass uses informal towards God.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DonnaLauv
DonnaLauv
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I am confused. So jij is more informal than u? If this was Spanish, which one would be usted and which one would be tu or vos?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/davidvdb
davidvdb
Mod
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Tu would be jij and usted would be u.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/buunny
buunny
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Thanks. Lol. Didn't even think a formal u would be used in this language. This is a savior in terms of clarification.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Susande
Susande
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Indeed it's not the most logical thing looking at the directness of the Dutch and the way we tend to disregard power and think of everyone as equals ("I am just as important as the mayor or a police officer"). But as you can see from my other post, we use the formal form a lot less than our neighbouring countries.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HANA8896

Wow. That is a nice tip! Thanks

3 weeks ago
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