1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Waar woon jij eigenlijk?"

"Waar woon jij eigenlijk?"

Translation:By the way, where do you live?

November 15, 2014



There is quite a difference between "by the way" and "actually". I am not sure I get it here. Any one can clear the confusion please?


It's true, the word "eigenlijk" can be used in two pretty different ways. Intonation, word order and context are all important in distinguishing between them.

By the way: in this case, "eigenlijk" denotes a sudden transition to a new subject. Often it can also refer back to something that is currently no longer being talked about, or something (presumably) long forgotten. With this usage the word is usually unstressed, so it's never placed at the beginning of the sentence (unlike the English "by the way").

Actually, in fact: used to provide contrast with previous assumptions, usually when making statements. You can use it when you want to pretentiously tell people that they are wrong, when you change your mind about something, or various other common situations like that. The word is typically stressed in this case. For example:

  • Eigenlijk heb ik niet zo'n honger - Actually I am not that hungry
  • Wat heb jij eigenlijk met die boeken gedaan? - By the way, what did you do with those books?
  • Eigenlijk is dat een veelvoorkomend misverstand - Actually that is a common misconception.

Edit: Asalade is a ninja


Thanks for the explanation, what about "Luister jij eigenlijk naar me" though?


Seems like the second use makes sense. "Are you actually/in fact listening to me?"


What about "even"?


Confusingly, in the UK we are quite capable of asking someone "By the way, where exactly do you live?". I don't see how 'eigenlijk' would cope with that!


It should then be: "Actually, where do you live?" or, better still : So, where do you live? A more natural question.


I'm trying to figure out whether "Where exactly do you live?" is an adequate translation, since adding "exactly" to the sentence can serve the same by-the-way function and "exactly" is vaguely in the neighborhood of "eigenlijk" - but obviously it's not quite the same. Thoughts?


In my opinion, "exactly" is not a good approximation of the "by the way" translation given here, or explained in depth by Simius. In fact, I would say it means almost the opposite. "By the way" makes a comment or question sound quite incidental or casual, whereas "exactly" is asking for very specific details.

If I ask someone where they live, exactly, it probably means I need directions to get there (and, if we haven't discussed this already, that I'm probably some kind of stalker!)

Maybe it's another of those U.K. v. U.S. things, but I've never heard "exactly" being used in an: "Oh, by-the-way" kind of sense, and to me, "exactly" means: "exactly". Or, in this case: "Give me street directions!"


Tone of voice is crucial to this! It really could go the stalker route, or the by-the-way route, in my dialect, which is why I'm asking as a question and not reporting as "THIS SHOULD BE AN ACCEPTED ALTERNATIVE!". But it seems like a possibility. I dunno; I really, really like parallel translations insofar as possible, and "by the way" doesn't parallel at all, and this looks like it could. So. Hence the question.


I really don't think I can add anything to what I've already said. In my "dialect" (not that I really think of UK English as a dialect), "exactly" is nothing like the intended (Dutch) meaning, of: "by the way", regardless of tone of voice. I would never use: "exactly" as an alternative to: "by the way". Of course, it doesn't follow that nobody would. Perhaps, in some parts of the English-speaking world, these are recognised as similar? Just not by me. Sorry, but you did ask, and I don't think it's a correct translation. I'll be interested to see what others think.


Is "trouwens" another way to say "by the way"?


Not really, 'trouwens' basically means "for that matter"... or"actually"...I would rather stay indoors today! (It could be raining when your friends ask you out to a movie.) Trouwens, ik heb die film al drie keer gezien, daarom blijf ik thuis..


why is the correct answer 'woon' and not 'woont'? I am seeing the 't' ending for second person in grammar books


When you invert the second person you never use the T. If it's not inverted then the T goes with it, yes. So woon jij, but jij woont!


'By the way' in Dutch is 'tussen twee haakjes' ,(That is the spoken way of putting words in brackets), but I can't see how it would fit. A better translation anyone? So, where do you live? Where do you live, actually?


Interesting. "Where are you actually living" is also accepted. So how should I tell that from the answer here? Does it depend on anything else than the context?


Could someone clarify why 'By the way, where are you living?' is wrong and what that would be?


I feel as though that should be accepted as a possible English translation. I would report it, and if they agree, they will add it to the list of possible correct answers. Though, I believe, one of the more accurate translations of your English sentence to Dutch would be, "Waar ben je aan het wonen, eigenlijk." -or- "Wear zijn jullie aan het wonen, eigenlijk."


How would I say "Where do you actually live?" then?


usually this means Where do you really live? not all this rubbish about by the way. very bad translation


Seems to me that "eigenlijk" in this case should be translated "actually", as in "Where do you actually live?" as in "I REALLY want to know were you live. If I meant to say "incidentally" or "by the way," I would would have used "trouwens" instead. Toch?


Why is "Waar woon je eigenlijk?" Not accepted? Is that "je" instead of the "jij" such a big deal?


There are some people who think that "by the way" is a religious slur. In the book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", if I remember correctly, Maya Angelou's grandmother beat her and her brother up for using that phrase.


I find it very difficult to understand the rationale for that, and for me, it only goes to show that "some people" are idiots. If you are absolutely determined to be offended by it, I suppose it is possible to construe it as a (prohibited) religious oath - Christ being "The Way", and so it would be the equivalent of saying: "by Christ". However, I strongly doubt that is the origin of the phrase. It's not an oath, but just a way of saying "incidentally", or softening a subject change that would otherwise seem rather abrupt. I'm pretty sure "the way" in question has nothing to do with "The Way" in the Christian religious sense. But people who try hard enough can take offence at anything. :(


According to the OED the origin of "by the way" (10th century) means "by the side of the road" or “while going along, in the course of one's walk or journey.”

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