Translation:Excuse me

August 4, 2014



Just curious, is this a loan word from French? And if so how much influence has French had on Dutch? Thanks in advance :)


in the middle ages french was the language of the nobility and of trade (The Netherlands was a trading nation), similar to English today. We borrow a ton of words from different languages (they're called "leenwoorden" "(borrow words)" in dutch) the dutch word for shower is douche, from french for example


Yes. France is still waiting to get it back.


You can have the douches back 😉


Yes, it's from French.


How are the r's pronounced in Dutch? Most of them sound like the typical French guttural type, but "pardon" almost sounds like American English.


Actually most Dutch have an r that's closer to the rolling Spanish r. The Duolingo voice sounds a bit like our former queen and she indeed has an r like the French one (it also is a common way to prounounce the r in certain regions in the Netherlands).

And the English r is not how the Dutch pronounce it at all, it is one of the easiest indicators to hear someone is not a native Dutch (and probably is a native English speaker). But you are right, how the r is pronounced depends a lot on where in word the r is situated. For instance in pardon it actually still is the rolling Spanish r, but really quick and half skipped, making it really difficult to recognise it as one.


Really appreciate your explanation, but I'm a bit confused based on what Nierls says below. A video from learndutch.org (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C8iwl2pNlQ&list=PLr-XySckuIjTx6PQLnbo0PQz2ux5ZtUqZ&index=6) makes the claim that there are three acceptable 'r' pronunciations in the Netherlands, and the English 'r' is one of these. Do you find this to be contrary to your experience?

Also, do you find that Dutch speakers will tend to stick to one version of the 'r' and apply it more or less universally, or does it truly just vary both by the individual word and speaker?


I guess it has to do with where I lived. In those areas the Gooise r/English r is probably less prevalent than in most other parts of the Netherlands. Also what I typed was just my own experience, so I probably shouldn't have stated my observation so firmly.

And if I'm not mistaken, people generally stick to to one version, what I tried to explain is that the sound may be more or less pronounced/clear, depending on emphasis/where in the word it is situated. Similar to English: green and red usually have a clearer r than arm or water.


Understood. Appreciate your response. As a new Dutch learner, the impression I've received on the whole is that emphasis in pronunciation tends to be a bit more flexible in Dutch than in English.

Not trying to steer away from the thrust of the thread, but take the guttural 'g' for example. In words like 'goedemorgen' with multiple g's, I've come across considerable variety in how guttural each sounds, depending on the speaker. The trend with that one seems to be that the second 'g' is much more guttural than the first, which tends to sound more like an aspirated 'h' or something like that. But again, there seems to be variety.

Have you found this in your experience?


There is definitely a big variation in the way the g is pronounced in Dutch, depending mostly on the region a speaker comes from, more guttural/hard in the Randstad/Holland, softer/less guttural in the south (Brabant, Limburg, Belgium). And in West-Vlaanderen (Belgium) and Zeeland (southwest of the Netherlands) it practically disappears and turns into an h.

However my feeling is that the difference you perceive is basically what I talk about in my previous post: more or less pronounced/emphasised and not a different pronunciation of the letter. But then maybe it's better to ask a linguist than just some native speaker like me, who doesn't particularly pays attention to these things in everyday life. :)


Do you know how we pronounce R in Russian? Is it close to Dutch? Because it's nothing like English version too.


If you use the rolling R like it's used in the following clip, that's fine for Dutch. To me that sounds identical or at least very close to the most common way Dutch native speakers pronounce the r. Maybe try not to pronounce it too clearly, I think that could sound like you're overdoing it.


Some more examples of the r in Dutch: http://www.heardutchhere.net/DutchPronunciation.html#R

In this link, compare prijs (I think the most common way to prounounce it in Dutch) to roem (used by Dutch speakers in some regions).


In her latest song and the 1st Dutch language in years, When Anouk sings Nee in Wen D'r Maar Aan, she sings it sounding more like "Nay" than "Nee". Also in an interview Anouk and one of the 358 D-js also say it as "Nay". Is this emphasis on the way folks from the Den Haag area say Nee?


Thank you so much! It was really hard for me to try to copy Dou's american "r" because my native language is Hebrew so my "r" is hard, spanish is my third language and it's way easier for me to pronounce :)


the way you pronounce an R depends on what part of the netherlands you're from, we have a rolling (rollende) R and a gooische (from the gooi, part of holland) R, which is more akin to the english R. people in the randstad (the provinces of holland and utrecht) generally have a gooische r, while people from other parts of the country have a rollende r, like I have as I'm from Brabant.


I'm curious. Why does a Dutch person take a Dutch language course?


To practise Dutch, find out weird quirks, look at Dutch from a different perspective.

I find many things that I took for granted being extremely weird when looked at from English, like uncountable nouns (never noticed), reflexive verbs (never noticed either) and professions not needing articles (ik ben dokter)...

Also to help people who are learning Dutch and to report things I find weird/wrong.

And it's a pretty good way of strengthening my English. ;)

Hope I answered your question, if you have any questions regarding Dutch, be free to ask! :)


And very helpful you are indeed, Nierls! Have a lingot!


Yea I'm a dutch native aswell and was on Duo learning other languages. But besides learning I love teaching. Both helping people understand aswell as clearing up confusion.

And like nierls says you can practice your english a bit and see dutch from a new perspective.
There are things that are just normal for you and suddenly you have to think about why.

Its a good mental exercise. (And fun to bother your family with later. Like asking them when you should use elk and when you should use iedere. And see them get all confused ;) )

And to help people open their minds. Don't watch the world from your own viewpoint, don't compare everything with yóur "world". You are just one of many, what is normal for you might be strange for someone else. So to help people look more objectively at things. (Look from above, not from where you're standing)

Plus duo is just addictive ;)

(And again not only practising english but also looking up some stuff that is new or things that are a bit of a grey area and you are unsure about, if you want to give advice you need to be pretty certain ánd correct. So I look up stuff constantly (did so before duo btw anyway but almost non stop now ;) ) . Like the difference between addicting and addictive : )


As a native American English speaker I have a few pointers. "Like Nierls says" while this is commonly spoken and written, the correct way to say/write it is, "As Nierls says..."

The paragraph that begins with, "It's a good mental exercise.", has several dependant clauses in search of an independent clause.

I have rewritten your paragraph as follows:

It's a good mental exercise. Later, it's fun to bother my family by asking them when it is correct to use elk and when to say iedre. I am amused by the confused looks on the faces of my family.

While it may be ok in spoken English to begin with a conjunction "and" what follows forms a dependent clause. Similar to Dutch the word and connects an independent clause with one or more dependent clauses. Hence, "And to help people open their minds" requires an independent clause to construct an acceptable sentence. It can be rewritten as, "I like to help people open their own minds."

Hope this helps. Normally, I don't care to point out English grammatical errors as I have made quite a few. If anyone reading this spots an error that I made, please feel free to correct my error(s).


Experts on the Dutch language recognise some twenty different "r"-s. Whatever the(/an) "r" in your native language sounds like is most likely a valid pronunciation in Dutch too.

You could try < https://forvo.com/word/pardon/#nl >, but with only two entries it doesn't give more than a first impression, in this case.


When I translate "pardon" as sorry, it gives another answer as "excuse me" but when I type "excuse me", it gives no alternate answer - should it also give "sorry" as an alternate, or is "excuse me" what it should translate as?


English: Pardon. Dutch: Pardon. Cool!


Dutch cool:cool ;)


In case anyone was interested, pardon (English) is an accepted translation of pardon (Dutch). :)


That's because they both originate from Old French.


It was telling me to translate 'pardon' a couple of questions ago. For a second I thought I was supposed to translate it to Dutch. I thought it was already in English.


Why does it have a English pronunciation?


Etc yes, Good tyyN as y, you


I just said Pardron rolling my Rs like a Spaniard and got it accepted!

If you say it fast enough in exclamation, or more appropriate an ejaculation (look it up it has a different meaning than you thought as well) The application gets confused and accepts it.


What's the difference between ''Excuseer mej'' and ''Pardon''? In english the words ''Excuse me'' and ''Pardon'' aren't used the same


Pardon is also English so I translated to Dutch


If it's a Dutch exercise it will have an audio bubble next to it, which pronounces the word/sentence. You could also hover over the words and look at the suggested translations. ;)

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