1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Ik wil een beetje melk."

"Ik wil een beetje melk."

Translation:I want some milk.

August 1, 2014



And why is this in the Date and Times skill?


I'm guessing as it's to do with measurements, in some way. Because they've taught us numbers and how to use them so saying "a bit/some" is considered as a loose measurement of something? That's my guess. :)


I'm not entirely certain, but I think the word beetje can be used in context with time. Thus, they decided to throw in a few exercises with it.


I went safely with "I want a bit of milk". In how many ways we can translate "een beetje" in English? I use to hear it quite a lot


There are indeed many ways to say "een beetje" in English. When I was a child I would often be told off for saying "a bit of milk" ("because milk doesn't come in bits; you should say 'a drop of milk'")!


Am I right in thinking the "-je" on the end of "beetje" is the diminutive suffix? Does that mean it takes the article het?


In English, "I want some milk" doesn't really refer to a specific amount. It doesn't actually mean that you want a small amount of milk, it just means you want milk. It usually refers to a generic/average/normal amount, so in the case of milk, it'd be one glass. Or if you said "I want some cake" that'd probably mean one piece of cake. Is it the same in Dutch?


It can, it can also mean you just want a little bit.


Good question. These words don't map perfectly to each other and even in one language the amounts to which they are applicable overlap. I think some is more on average than een beetje, but een beetje is more on average than a little.


Are "een beetje" and "wat" interchangeable in this context?


In this context, yes.


A little milk is accepted but a small milk is not why is that


"A small milk" is what you would order in a restaurant that sells drinks as "big" or "small". I believe in Dutch that would be "een kleine melk".

"A little milk", like "een beetje melk", means "some milk but not much milk". So it is much more general.


I think 'een beetje' is the same like 'ein bisschen' which mean a little bit. I think 'some' is wrong. Probably you use it also in 'am a little bit tired'.


No, all three expressions originate as referring to a piece that is bit off from a larger piece. In Dutch and in German they have been generalised to the point that we can apply them to liquids such as milk as well. In English this is not the case. "A bit of milk" is still nonsense in English because you can't bite milk.


A bit or a little bit is fine in english. But some is correct too.


In the circles I mix in in the UK "a bit of milk" is quite acceptable. For some reason though I wouldn't say "a bit of beer", possibly because it sounds too much like "a bitter beer". I'd just say "a beer" or "some beer". Strange, isn't it?


Hm you can say can I have a bit of vodka. Perhaps it's about portion size or likelyness to finish.

Probably because people usually don't just drink "a bit" of beer. Counterintuitive for people that can only think of beer in large quantities :)


why isnt "a bit of" accepted?


It is. Did you get the rest right? So not changing the translation from want to would like? Because that's not what it says.


little seems about the same, really- it is not a precise quantity any more than some.

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