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  5. Ik versta je niet?


Ik versta je niet?


If somebody is speaking to you in Dutch, and you don't understand them, what's the best way to say that you don't understand?

Do you say "Ik versta je niet," or is there a way to say that you just don't understand, instead of saying "I don't understand YOU"?

How is "Ik versta je niet" different from "Ik begrijp je niet"?

Dank je wel!

July 4, 2015



Begrijpen and verstaan are exactly the same. :) For I don't understand, I would use "Ik begrijp/versta het niet". But when speaking to a native, "Sorry, ik spreek maar een beetje Nederlands." would be the most understandable, since with the other sentence one could think you are deaf. :/


"Begrijpen" and "verstaan" only have the same meaning in Belgian Dutch (they can be used interchangeably). In the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands, Hws5's explanation applies ["verstaan" means to understand accoustically (it is too loud) while 'begrijpen' means more to understand (intellectually)].


Another difference I will have to get used too. :) Thanks for telling me!


"Sorry, ik spreek maar een beetje Nederlands."

Dank je wel!

  • 594

The words are similar, but not the same: 'verstaan' rather means to understand accustially (it is too loud) while 'begrijpen' means more to understand (intellectually).


Depending on the type of not understanding I see another alternative: "Ik ben de taal aan het leren". This will show the origin of the understanding trouble. I could respond to a mere 'ik begrijp je niet' with a longer, more complex explanation--which would be a bit off the mark. Even if I heard hesitant pronunciation.


Als je iemand niet verstaat, dan HOOR je diegene niet, en als je iemand niet begrijpt, dan hoor je het wel, maar snap ej niet wat diegene BEDOELT

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