1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Dit is een historisch moment…

"Dit is een historisch moment."

Translation:This is a historic moment.

December 6, 2014



"Historic" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/historic) versus "historical" (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/historical)

"As such, historic is used to describe people, things, and events that are or will be considered important by future historians, while historical is used for people, things, and events in the past, whether important or not. A "historic event" is an important moment past, present, or in the future; a "historical event" is some moment in the past."

According to the above then, "This is a historical moment" means "this is a moment in the past", which doesn't make much sense (unless we have time-travelled). Also, "This is an historic moment" means "this is an event that will be considered important by future historians", which makes much more sense.


Absolutely. Thanks for the clear explanation. The English translation given is incorrect and should be changed.


Done. Thanks, all.


Did you also pick up the use of "an" as the indefinte article before "h". It used to be the only correct version. Although it is not often heard now in conversation, it should still be allowed as an alternative as it will frequently be seen in literature.

That does not apply only to this sentence, of course. Applying it across the whole of Duolingo might be a challenge!

[edit] On reflection, I have never seen "an hat" or "an house", even in literature; so it may be more of a challenge than I thought! Maybe you shouldn't bother!


You wouldn't use 'an' before all words beginning with 'h'. With 'hat', because it has a hard 'h' sound (like a consonant) at the start, it's 'a hat'. The same goes for 'house'. 'Hotel' can be said with a softer 'h' so could be 'an hotel' (with the 'h' sounding more like a vowel).


Yes, I think I added that one a while ago. Apart from the comments in this thread, there were also a bunch of reports with "an". Since we're not teaching English, I don't think it's a problem to accept both here. There haven't been many complaints in other sentences, as far as I know.


When I saw this I knew the comments would be about "a" vs "an."

General rule as I understand it: us "a" if the following sound is a consonant (such as hat or h-istoric), use "an" if the following sound is a vowel (such as 'at or 'istoric). If you pronounce the "h," you drop the "n."

Here's data on real-world usage of "a" vs "an:" https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=an+historic%2Ca+historic&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=18&smoothing=5&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Can%20historic%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ca%20historic%3B%2Cc0


What it often boils down to is whether the first syllable is stressed or not. The first syllable is unstressed in "historic," which results in the h not being pronounced much like an h. In "history," the first syllable is stressed, so the h is pronounced. You wouldn't say "an history."

Of course, as always, it also depends on what dialect you speak.


It also boils down to whether it's a front vowel or back vowel: "an historic moment", "an hysterical woman", "an hyperchondriac", "an hindrance", "an hidden agenda", but "a hat", "a hut", "a hound", "a hundred."

This is the same distinction that affected Old English G into becoming Y (geard > yard, eage > eye, giellan > yell (contrast with related back vowel 'gale')), it also affected Old English C into becoming Ch (cyric > church, ceap > cheap/chap, cylle > chill (contrast with related back vowel col > cool)).

Now with French words this same rule affects our pronunciation of G as Dz and C as S. The front/back vowel distinction is one of the most important things in sound development.


Surely this is about words that we 'borrowed' from French. The 'h' at the beginning of such words is not aspirated and therefore need 'an' (such as 'hotel', 'historic', etc) but where the 'h' is aspirated such as 'hunk' or 'hero' you should use 'a'.


What should the sound of "sch" be here, exactly?

I know that at the beginning of words it should be spelled /sx/ (x being IPA for the same phoneme as the "ch" in toch, doch, etc.), but here I expected it to have an English "sh" - ʃ - sound, but I can only hear a faint s (as if it were a word ending in -is).

Does anyone have any clues regarding this issue?


I imagine it may vary depending on which dialect of Dutch you're speaking, but in my experience it's just an [s] sound. I know when I started taking Dutch classes in Belgium, the little bit of German I'd studied years before kept interfering and I'd say [ʃ], but it's not that. So that's Flemish, anyway, but I lived with a Dutch family, and I'm fairly certain they pronounced it [s] as well.


the dutch say [s] aswell


Ok, thank you for your input :)


The ch is not pronounced at all in words ending in "-isch" or "-ische". For example, biologisch (organic) is pronounced as if the spelling were biologies, rhyming with precies (exactly). There have been discussions in the past to change the spelling accordingly.


For those people who don't know why, you can use "an" before an H-word where the stress is on the second syllable:

  • a history of the world
  • an historic day
  • a hero
  • an heroic act
  • etc.

See http://english.stackexchange.com/q/629/73636


Having used English as my primary language for 74 years, I never knew that!



"an" historic is not a mistake! "An" is correct for "historic". "A" is correct with "history"


Same as everyone else, just bumping that is should be "AN historic."


No, this is an issue of dialect and diversity (see various comments above). 'An' is much more common, I think, in the US than the UK. Language is constantly evolving. Duo's current stance (Jan 2021) of accepting both, makes good sense!

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