1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "De oude man woont in het bos…

"De oude man woont in het bos."

Translation:The old man lives in the forest.

November 29, 2014



This might be strange but I was able to make a connection with the Dutch word "bos" which means forest because I know the word "bosque" which means forest in Spanish as well. This is random, but I thought this connection was pretty cool! : )


You'll see some common words between most of the European languages, and it doesn't always have to mean one language took it from another because all of them (apart from Basque, Turkish, Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian and maybe a few less notable minority languages) originated from the same Proto-Indo-European language. As a Polish native speaker I was once amazed how similar is Sanskrit in relation to Slavic languages. But once you know they've both originated from Proto-Indo-European, it becomes clear why it happened. For example, the word "son" is similar in many languages (Dutch: "zoon", Polish: "syn", Lithuanian: "sūnus" ) not because one European language took it from another, but because it comes from Proto-Indo-European "sūnús".


It's not random at all - the dutch word surely derives from a romanic origin (latin: boscus, spanish: bosque, french: bois, italian: bosco). And i'm as well quite sure that it was in fact spanish who worked as a "donor" in this case (due to historical relationships).


The Spanish did not work as a "donor" as the word was already in use long before the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands. The reason why they are alike is because they share the same origin, namely Proto-Germanic (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Reconstruction:Proto-Germanic/buskaz), and more specificly after that Old Frankish.


Good to know. Interesting to see a change of meaning occur on the romanic (influenced) side, while it remained stable on the germanic side.


Okay so I'm like obsessed with the Alpenzusjes because who isn't and I learned their song "hutje op de hei" which I guess means cabin in the woods... Is hei another word for woods/forest?

When I put hei into Google translate it gives me weird stuff but if I put hutje op de hei it gives me "cabin in the woods"... hei sounds cuter than bos too so...

Can a native speaker maybe explain the difference and which is more common? Is hei commonly accepted?


I looked the word up on Wiktionary, and it said that „hei” is an alternative form of „heide” which apparently translates to "heath," so it's not quite a forest/woods: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/heide#Dutch

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