1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "De man spreekt zowel Engels …

"De man spreekt zowel Engels als Nederlands."

Translation:The man speaks both English and Dutch.

July 20, 2014



What if "de man" spoke three languages? Would you say "De man spreekt Engels, Nederlands en Duitse" or would you you say "De man spreekt zowel Engels als Nederalands als Duitse?" Is this sort of like saying, respectively, "The man speaks English, Dutch, and German" and "The man speaks not only English, but also Dutch and German?"

Hope this question makes sense!


You would simply say "De man spreekt Engels, Nederlands en Duits". I don't think the additional "als" are incorrect, but they sound awkward in everyday language.

It's more of a emphasis thing. By saying "De man spreekt Engels, Nederlands en Duits" you're simply stating a summation of things. Whereas by saying "De man spreekt zowel Engels als Nederlands als Duits" you really apply an additional emphasis on the fact that "de man" speaks three individual different languages.


Excellent explaination!


In English, the pattern "both ... and ...." is to discuss "all" two objects/things, (not more than two things/objects).


"as well as" was accepted as a translation and is not limited to two objects


For some reason, on 23-01-2021 Duolingo considered it wrong


Is "zowel ... als" a phrase? Otherwise, I'm not getting how "als" fits in here.


Yes, "zowel ... als" work together (like "both ... and " in English).


A long time ago, but a great succinct explanation. Thanks for the help


"zowel ... als" can also translate to "as well as" in English

  • 2575

The man speaks English as well as Dutch.


Out of curiosity, was this accepted? I thought of this too, but didn't try it.

  • 2575

It did work - which is why I added it to the discussion. Congratulations! You have a most impressive list of credits on Duo.


Thank you! Your own list of credits is very impressive, as well! From the levels you've reached in your languages, I can see you certainly have more experience points than I do.

  • 2575

You clearly have completed a couple of trees. Google 'Duolingo Golden Owl Hall of Fame' or join via AlexisLinguist on Duo. The statistics this wonderful Moderator reveals therein are most interesting. Welcome to an apparently exclusive club. I have an advantage over most of us with Dutch though on account of having grown up speaking Afrikaans in the bad old days of South Africa. Hij praat met mij (D) = Hy praat met my (A).


Thank you for the information, I'll be sure to check it out. It's cool to see an Afrikaans speaker around here. I once had the urge to learn Afrikaans, but never got really far. Probably once I get comfortable with Dutch, I might give Afrikaans a second attempt. After all, I hear the grammar's less complicated (not that it's particularly complicated in Dutch).


Hij praat met mij is exactly how i would have said he speaks with me and how i heard it at home. Your afrikaanse sounds like gorinchem dutch!


It didn't work for me for some reason.


It is accepted, so without your full sentence and/or reporting it, it's hard to tell why your answer was rejected.


Yeah, I just found out what's wrong. I wrote the English sentence when it wanted me to write in dutch. My mistake, sorry. I shouldn't learn new words when Im tired, haha.


I tried this: the man speaks both english as well as dutch. Doesn't work :(


It's either "The man speaks both English and Dutch" or "The man speaks English as well as Dutch". :)


so "als" is when you have a conjunction and "en" is when you do not? Or are there better rules to decide when to use "als" and when to use "en"?

  • 2575

En - And. Als - As, if, when.

Een man en een vrouw - A man and a woman.

Als hij niet kan spelen, ik zal - If he cannot play, I will.

Als hij gaat gaan we - If (when) he goes we go.

Een man zowel als een jongen - A man as well as a boy.


Can this also mean his speaking skill is equal in both languages?


No - perhaps you are thinking of the English expression: "he speaks Dutch as well as he speaks English" which means his Dutch is as good or as bad as his English is.


When I try to show translation of "zowel", it shows "zowel".


If this happens again, click "Report a problem" and then choose "The dictionary hints on hover are wrong or missing."


zowel...als = as well as. But what does "as well as" mean? In English it means both "and" and "one as good (well) as the other". Does zowel...als bear both meanings, or only one?


We'll, it's often that the same word/construct has multiple meanings in one language but each of those meanings has different translation. One example from Polish. There's a word "zamek". Depending on the situation it means either a castle, or a lock or a zipper. So never automatically assume that if there are multiple meanings of one word in one language it will be the same with translation having all those meanings.


doesn't this literally translate to "... as much English as Dutch" or am I confusing it with German ?


No, it means 'The man speaks both English and Dutch', in the same order as English.


Or "The man speaks English as well as Dutch."


You shouldn't confuse it with German, as in German it is almost the same like in Dutch: „sowohl Englisch als auch Niederländisch”


What is the difference between 'and' and 'as well as'?


'As well as' has two meanings: 1) 'in addition to' - eg I'm learning German as well as [learning] Dutch 2) 'at the same level as' - eg I speak German as well as [I speak] Dutch


I would add that in English we make the difference in the meaning clear by saying: "I speak German as well as Dutch" = in addition to "I speak German as well as I speak Dutch" = I am as good in German as I am in Dutch. Also, in the first sentence there would be a slight emphasis on the names of the two languages, while in the second sentence the main stress would be on the word "well". (It's strange, but I didn't know I knew that until I started this exercise!)


Why were the two languages moved to the back?

Why couldn't it be "De man spreekt Engels zowel Nederlands als". Or is that just how the phrase "zowel als" works?


can't you just say 'de man spreekt engels en nederlands'? maybe I am just lazy but that seems much easier :)


Why is "The man is speaking both English and Dutch" wrong?


Because your English phrase would mean you use both languages at the very same moment which is at least awkward if not impossible. Like part of your phrase was in English and the other party was Dutch. On the other hand i know a person who speaks that way (just with other languages) ;-) Anyway, holding the knowledge of something doesn't s suddenly disappear or isn't something that happens just for a moment so you use simple, not continuous tenses (well, perfect continuous if you want to express a very specific period)


Whats the difference between zowel and zoweel?


Zoweel is not a Dutch word.


I think a better explanation would be: 'zowel ... als' fits in the form 'zowel x als y'. In this case, "De man spreekt zowel Engels als Nederlands", you're saying that "The man speaks English as well as he speaks Dutch", meaning that his skill in English is equal to his skill in Dutch. Hope this helps someone.


is "zowel" translated as "both" ? This is a very hard sentence to understand how this work... well at least voor mij


As do I! We have so much in common.

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.