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.


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).


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!


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?


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


That's because they both originate from Old French.


English: Pardon. Dutch: Pardon. Cool!


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?

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