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  5. Bonus skill suggestion: Gij/ge


Bonus skill suggestion: Gij/ge

Gij (and unstressed ge, much like jij vs. je) is a second-person singular and plural personal pronoun.

If you have never heard of it before, even if you have finished your tree, it is likely because this course teaches Dutch as it is spoken in the majority of the Netherlands. Because this pronoun is now extinct in daily speech there, it is only logical that it isn't taught. However, I still think that this course should teach this personal pronoun in the form of a purchaseable bonus skill, and I think so for the following reasons:

  • It is still used in daily speech in some southern parts of the Netherlands (and most, if not all, of Flanders)
  • There is a lot of historical value attached to it
  • The pronoun is, all throughout the language area (at least the European one), still used in plenty of expressions and sayings
  • It's simply still part of the Dutch language, even if it's more alive in some parts than in others; I think most of those who care for this language would be interested in learning this

In the parts where it is still used daily, it appears to express a formality between the informal jij and the formal u, whereas those who speak the Dutch you are taught here tend to consider it extremely formal and archaic. In this regard it can somewhat be compared to the English thou. For those using it back in the days, thou was more informal than you was, but those who don't use it anymore nowadays look at it the other way around (apparently some dialects still use it).

I believe it requires a seperate skill because the grammar that is associated with it are sometimes unlike anything that is taught in this course. Conjugations can be vastly different, for example. While it is often conjugated like u, there are some exceptions. For example: u loopt and gij loopt, but u bent and gij zijt. Similarly, in the past tense: u schopte and gij schopte, but u was and gij waart.

These are just a few examples. There are a lot of little grammatical things like this attached to this often forgotten little personal pronoun. My brain is too mushy to think of/explain any more and I honestly don't know for sure if I know all of them and how they are used in practice, having grown up with the Dutch being taught in this course.

I would really like to see this happen. Not only do I think it would benefit those learning Dutch, but also those who already speak it, as it is untrodden ground for most.

February 27, 2015



Since a decision was made to make a Dutch (Netherlands) course, I think it doesn't make sense to only pick the gij part from Flemish and put that in a bonus skill. I think either a new tree Dutch (Belgium) or a Flemish branch would make a lot more sense. There's different vocabulary (which one might find plezant or ambetant), different plurals (leraren/leraars) and a lot more subtle differences. And maybe most important of all: a different computer voice would be needed.

I would definitely like a tree or branch like this, since there's only so much you can learn from listening to Michel and José a lot. :)


I definitely get where you're coming from and I agree--somewhat. It's a bit of a gray area for me, as it appears that this particular little pronoun still has valid grammar associated with it, regardless of whether or not it has fallen into disuse in the vast majority of the Netherlands. I would also love to see a Flemish/southern branch/tree, but that is quite ambitious, whereas I think a bonus skill would perfectly fit.


Is gij pronounced like gay lol

Okay I literally can't go to Belgium I think I'd like have a laugh attack and when that happens I start crying and I probs wouldn't be able to speak with people if that's the case. But waffles though.


Haha! No, you know how a Dutch 'g' sounds like! :P


I learned something just from your suggestion. Even if this doesn't happen here, thank you.

Now, if you can get the "gij / ge" forces to unite with the "vos" and "vosotros" devotees from the English- to-Spanish course, you can get a full-scale second-person revolution started.


Ah, ''gij''. Yeah, I use it to sound like someone from the early 1900's xD. It sounds ''deftig en plechtig'' aka formal and classy.


as a bonus skill, I would like it. I agree with Susande that it doesn't make much sense to teach only this from flemish, you'd need to add other stuff to. I do think it would be fun, for expressions and such, but also because it was still widely used in the Dutch 'golden century'.


In my opinion this is perfect for a bonus skill BECAUSE it is a regional thing. However I can also understand why they would prefer not to open up the can of worms that is deviating from the official standard.

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