Agreed. I didn't know what the distinction was until I started learning Dutch. What put it in perspective for me is thinking, what if the entire rest of the world called all Canadians "Ontarians", and figured there was no difference or nothing wrong with that. Western Canadians would be mighty annoyed, and I bet Atlantic and northern ones too, to say nothing of Quebec.
I don't think so. Netherlands means lowlands and was formed in the same way. We say "in the Netherlands" for the same reason we say "in the lowlands". It's just how nouns ending in -lands are treated.
And this is of course why it's Kingdom of the Netherlands, not 'Kingdom of Netherlands'.
This is not correct.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is made of 4 independent countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. They all share the same head of state, currently the monarch Willem-Alexander. They also share defense and foreign policy.
Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are not territories of the European Union.
Yeah, as a native English speaker, I can say that it will usually be heard with "the" precedeing Nederlands, however, I would argue that it's not required. Likewise, I suspect there are English speaking Canadians that would also argue the same point.
English speaking Canadians frequently drop "the" where Americans employ it. Hospital is an example where Canadians don't use "the" and Americans do. However, Americans drop "the" before "jail".
Americans might say "I live in Ohio" (no "the"), but "I live in THE Netherlands". I would argue both phrases with or without the "the" are correct and acceptable with the difference being what one native English speaker is accustomed to hearing versus grammatical correctness.
I agree. This is just an example of terminal devoicing: In Dutch, northern German and Russian and quite a few other languages, consonants at the end of a syllable are devoiced. In particular:
- -d is pronounced -t
- -b is pronounced -p
- -g is pronounced -k.
- -v is pronounced -f.
You may be familiar with this from the typical accent of (northern) German speakers. ("Can you giff me a hant?")
In particular, Nederland is actually pronounced as Nederlant. In the Middle Ages, speakers of German (which then still included Dutch) changed the spelling to reflect this, but this practice has fallen out of use, making the spelling more regular but slightly less phonetic.
Cause Nederland is a country in "het Koningkrijk der Nederlanden" or in english "The Kingdom of the Netherlands". The Netherlands consists of a couple of countries. In short:
So Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, And Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are Provinces within the country Nederland
The historical name comes from "the nether [opposite of upper] lands". Many lands, not just one, because it was literally a collection of many little countries.
Nowadays these nether lands are divided mostly into the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (the other constituent countries being in the Caribbean and hence not actually part of the nether lands) and the Kingdom of Belgium. (The remainder is Luxembourg and some parts of France.) The nether lands in this old sense are nowadays referred to in English as the Low Countries and in Dutch using the plural as "Nederlanden".
The European constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Koninkrijk der Nederlanden) is called "Nederland" (singular) in Dutch and "The Netherlands" (plural) in English. The Dutch term makes sense because the singular is technically more correct for a single country, and it permits short and crisp distinctions between the three concepts Low Countries, Kingdom of the Netherlands and the country in which the two intersect. English has been slower to adapt to today's political realities - probably in part because they are not so well known to English speakers, in part because the etymology has become less transparent in English, in part because in English it is natural to treat "the Netherlands" as a singular even though it is plural in form, and in part because English-speaking historical scholars needing to talk about the Low Countries can do so by modernising nether to low. (In Dutch this doesn't work. The closest option would be to use neer instead of neder, but neder is well established as the part of geographical names translating to lower in English, and neer isn't used in this way.)
You probably just didn't notice that Duolingo presented the correct spelling to you. Here is approximately how it works:
- Suppose you enter a sentence that is almost in the database of correct answers in the sense that - completely ignoring all punctuation - it only differs from it by writing two words together or splitting a word or changing or adding or removing a single letter.
- Suppose also that your change does not produce a word that also occurs in the database of correct answers in the target language.
- If both conditions are satisfied, your answer is accepted as almost correct (i.e. except for an insignificant typo), and (what Duolingo considers) the correct spelling is shown to you.
The first condition was true for your sentence because you only mistyped an o for an i. The second is also true because on is not a Dutch word and therefore does not appear in the database of correct Dutch answers. Therefore Duolingo's algorithm 'guessed' correctly that this was just a typo rather than you erroneously writing the wrong word.
This also works when translating to English. For example, Duolingo courses consistently use the eccentric spelling "goodnight" for the greeting. (Of course it's perfectly standard and good style to write it this way in words such as "goodnight kiss". "He wished her goodnight" is OK but not necessarily good style. What is eccentric is "He said: 'Goodnight!'" But this is how it appears in courses.) But there is no way to report this problem because the better spelling is also accepted. What is annoying is that the poor spelling is presented as a typo correction.
Yes, at which point Duolingo ALWAYS throws up a "you had a typo" message. It didn't this time, hence my post... I screenshotted it. I've noticed since Duolingo updated with the horrible new "easy to read" front end the last few days it has stopped giving error messages for typos.
Nope, sorry. 'Niet' comes before prepositional phrases, as far as I know, and in Nederland is a prep. phr., as it's headed by in, which is a preposition.
If any native speaker could give us some insight here and clarify whether what I said is right or wrong, that would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!
This is a very interesting thread. As I am trying to learn the rules of dutch, I see than the neuter "het" is used for all countries (e.g., het Belgie). But using Google translate, "the Netherlands" translates to "Nederland". I really like the example of "the hospital" vs. "hospital", as a native (american) English speaker it just sounds so wrong to say "he went to hospital", but it sounds so correct to say "he went to jail". I appreciate the posts from native speakers, sometimes it is simply a matter of how the language is commonly used, rules aside.