It definitely sounds like there is an "s" sound at the end of paard here. Is this a mispronunciation or is it correct?
There should be no "s" sound in "paard". The pronunciation can be a little wonky sometimes.
You need to memorize the correct article, but there are some pointers. :)
First, if a diminutive is used, such as the 'little horse', it will be a 'het' word.
Second, if the animal name is gender specific, such as 'the bull', there is a greater chance that you're dealing with a 'de' word.
Sounds kinda like the Yiddish "Ferd" (ya I know, it's Pferd in German)
Of course. Dutch and German (and thus Yiddish, since Yiddish is mostly German) are quite similar, and share many linguistic roots.
In the Netherlands there are about 4 different ways to pronounce the R. We have a roling one, like in Spanish. The throat R, which is comparable to how you pronounce the ch in Loch. The so called Gooise R (after the region where it is typically used: Het Gooi), wich is somewhat the same as the English way of pronouncing it. And finally there are people who sometimes do not pronounce the R at all in some cases. One example of the last one is in the word Paard. A friend of mine tends to say "Paa'd". But well, it's just her dialect. Which one to use is up to you. But I wouldn't recomend the last one, since it's really confusing at some times. E.g. kaars (candle) or kaas (cheese)...
Is the rolling one (like in Spanish) the same kind as in Flanders? I thought Rs were only rolled like that in Flanders.
Here's an article I found interesting. The R baffles me :-) (I needed some Google translate help to understand the whole thing, but there are three audio samples in the end, as well as the short video interview included that really help bring the point home!) => http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2012033-vandaag-maakten-we-een-rondje-door-nederrrrrrland.html
They are similar. The one from the north of the Netherlands (Frisia, Groningen) is more Spanish like, though.
Have a read through this topic: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3732938
You can find some rules there on when het and when de should be used. There obviously are also exceptions to the rules but it gives a good overview.
It is very personal how useful one finds the rules. Some make use of them others notice them but take on the strategy of just learning if a word used de or het.
Two rules that are always true and easy to remember.
- Plurals use always de
- Diminutives use always het
- In case a word is both plural and diminutive the plural rule still applies and de should be used.