When I see the word "toch" my first assumption is that it is the Dutch version of that delightfully un- or difficult-to-translate (to English) word "doch". However in this example "toch" is being used rather like the Germans might use "oder". Of course I assume the use of "toch" here is colloquial, or at least idiomatic, but does the word "toch" in Dutch resemble "doch" in German (which means a whole ton of things, but often is used to do things like negate a negative or indicate the inverse of what was just said or create a negative or contested tone in a sentence) or does it mean something totally different?
Toch is a complicated word in Dutch, but it is not the same as the German doch. I don't speak much German, but I believe the German doch is mostly 'but' in English and 'maar' in Dutch (Germans, correct me if I'm wrong!)
In Dutch 'toch' can have several meanings. In other context it could also mean 'yet' or 'however', but in this sentence is is used for asking for confirmation.
You can translate German ''doch'' to Dutch ''toch'' in sentences like these:
''Das ist doch alles unsinn!'' - ''Dat is toch allemaal onzin!''
''Was ist das doch?'' - ''Wat is dat toch?''
I'm not sure how to translate it either, it can mean different things as you both already said. I think it's one of those words you have to develop a ''sprachgefühl'' for :)
Also, sometimes it can do things like "negate a negative or indicate the inverse of what was just said". But I'm not sure how to properly explain this use either.
Perhaps an example will help somewhat, let's say you are going outside with a friend on a winter day and you're not sure how warm it is but it doesn't look like it's cold, yet when you get outside you notice that it's pretty cold after all. You could say ''toch wel koud'' (''doch, es ist kalt'')
Or another example: "Didn't you have the time to do that?'' - "Toch wel, maar.."("Doch, aber.."). But the problem here is that most people would instead say ''Jawel, maar..'' since ''toch wel'' carries the connotation of ''I did have the time after all'' instead of simply ''I did''.
As a German, I have no idea what "Was ist das doch" might mean.
It is phonetically similar to "Was ist das dort" (especially in some dialects where "dort" is pronounced "docht") but surely that's not meant here. You might encounter "Doch was ist das?" in storytelling, but here "doch" could be replaced by "aber", as in this case they both might be used to introduce something new and mysterious.
Still, I'm with you in that "toch" and "doch" are quite similar in their meaning in usage. My problem here is usually not to understand the Dutch sentence but to find an accepted English version. : 7
I wondered if here the "toch" was the Dutch equivalent of the Spanish "verdad" or the French "n'est-ce pas" as a question tag, and my first reaction was therefore to translate it with "aren't you?", but I didn't dare as the suggested translation is "right". However, this feels a bit abrupt to me (I'm a native English speaker from Britain).
Well.. technically it IS wrong, but I noticed when being abroad that saying "I'm from The Netherlands" often results in all kinds of questioning looks while "I'm from Holland" results in more understanding (maybe because of soccer hehe ;)).
Anyhow, I recommend you look at this movie explaining the difference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE_IUPInEuc
Not in this meaning I think. I wouldn't use "echt* after a statement like this where you are fairly certain your statement is true but you only seek confirmation (and certainly not as a 1-on-1 replacement of "toch" in this sentence
However if you are a bit more uncertain you could say "Kom je echt uit Nederland?" or "Kom je uit Nederland? Echt?" or "(Wat?) Je komt uit Nederland? Echt (waar)? In these examples you clearly show you don't believe it or wouldn't have guessed it yourself
If you want to ask whether somebody is from the Netherlands you can either pose a question, or a statement with a question afterwards (asking for confirmation whether your statement is correct). Asking for confirmation of a question makes no sense ;)
Are you from the Netherlands? = question
You are from the Netherlands = statement (you know it is so)
You are from the Netherlands, right? = statement + asking for confirmation (you think it is so)
I would end such a sentence with '...right?' most of the time, and I'm from New Zealand. From US media I would suggest it is common there too, even if none of your friends use it, e.g. 'I know, right?' is a phrase used to express agreement. UK people might end it with 'yeah?' instead of right, but same basic idea.