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Dutch Vocabulary: Personal Pronouns

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Personal Pronouns

Find a newer version of the Personal Pronouns in Lesson 7 - but return here for the reflexive verbs

Please note that the Dutch word for you in the singular (jij, je) is different from you in the plural (jullie.) Dutch also frequently uses the polite form of you: 'U,' to older people or other people deserving respect; it should also be used when addressing people in a subservient position, like sales clerks or hotel and restaurant staff. This 'U' is rarely used in the plural.

English
Nominative
Subject
(Nominative)
Possessive
(Genitive)
Object
(Accusative)
Reflexive

"I am" "my dog" "remember me" "be yourself"
I ik mijn
m'n
*[me]*
mij
me
*[mijn]*
mezelf
me
hear
you (singular) jij
je
jouw
je
jou
je
jezelf
je
hear
he hij
(-ie)
zijn
z'n
hem
('m)
zichzelf
zich
hear
she zij
ze
haar
(d'r)
haar
(d'r, 'r)
zichzelf
zich
hear - take 2
it (see note) het
't
- - - hear
we wij
we
onze, ons ons onszelf
ons
hear
you (plural) jullie jullie jullie jezelf
je
hear
they zij
ze
*[hun]*
hun hen
ze
(hun)
zichzelf
zich
hear - take 2
you (formal) U Uw U zichzelf
zich
hear

See & Hear Also
The dative form of 'ze' is 'hun' "Give it to them."
'Jou' and 'jouw' are pronounced exactly the same, both end in a Dutch W sound; but 'U' and 'Uw' should not sound the same, there is NO Dutch W sound in 'U.'
(...) - acceptable variation
*[...]* - heavy slang
'het' (it) is not used as much as in English; only for the abstract, like
"'t Is mooi weer" -hear- (it's nice weather) or
"Het is tien uur," -hear- (It's ten o'clock.)
"It is said that ..." is best said in Dutch as "Men zegt dat ..." - hear
(Dutch 'men' is an occasional 'they'.)
Sample Sentences

Second Person Singular: 'Je'

Next to 'Je' Dutchmen use 'Jij' and 'Jou(w)' for singular 'you' - I would recommend you use 'je' because it's easier, you can use it in all positions:
je woont in Hongkong - you live in HK (je = subject)
gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag - congratulations with your birthday (je = possessive)
je zoontje lacht - your little boy is laughing (je = possessive)
ik stuur je een email - I'll send you an email (je = dative)
ik stuurde een pakje aan je - I sent a package to you (je = dative)
heb je het pakje gekregen? - did you get the package? (je = subject)
ik feliciteer je - I congratulate you (je = object)

For Dutchmen, 'je' is not completely interchangeable with 'jij' and 'jou(w)', but it's an almost inexplainable fine point. Maybe only in the stressed vocative (address) you can't use 'je':
Hé, jij daar! - Hey, you there!

Reflexive Verbs

Introduction
The Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive Verbs?
Reciprocal Verbs
zich wassen to wash oneself
ik was me I wash myself
ik waste me I washed myself
ik heb me gewassen I have washed myself
click to hear

We hadden ons goed gewassen click to hear 2
We had washed ourselves well

Wikipedia says that (loosely defined) with reflexive verbs the subject -- (het) onderwerp click to hear -- is the same as the object -- (het) lijdend voorwerp click to hear 2 -- for example: 'I wash myself.'
wederkerende werkwoorden click to hear 2 3 'reflexive verbs' - 'wederkeren' is an old-fashioned word meaning 'to return' and here it is in the sense of 'doubling back.' The modern word for 'to return' is 'terugkeren' click to hear 2 - (de) terugkeer click to hear '(the) return'
In the infinitve of reflexive verbs Dutch uses the reflexive pronoun zich click to hear 'yourself, oneself' - or occasionally zichzelf click to hear 2 The Reflexive Pronouns

zich verdedigen click to hear 2 3 to defend oneself

zich verdedigen to defend oneself
ik verdedig me I defend myself
jij verdedigt je you defend yourself
(singular, informal you)
hij verdedigt zich he defends himself
zij verdedigt zich she defends herself
wij verdedigen ons we defend ourselves
jullie verdedigen je you defend yourselves
(plural, informal you)
zij verdedigen zich they defend themselves
U verdedigt zich you defend yourself
(polite you)
click to hear
zichzelf zien click to hear 2 3 'to see oneself'

zichzelf zien to see oneself
ik zie mezelf I see myself
jij ziet jezelf you see yourself
hij ziet zichzelf he sees himself
zij ziet zichzelf she sees herself
wij zien onszelf we see ourselves
jullie zien jezelf y'all see yourselves
zij zien zichzelf they see themselves
U ziet Uzelf
U ziet zichzelf
you see youself
click to hear

Hij heeft zich goed verdedigd click to hear He [has] defended himself well
Ik heb mezelf gezien click to hear 2
Ik heb mezelf op TV gezien click to hear 2 3
I have seen myself
I have seen myself on television

The Reflexive Pronouns

wederkerende voornaamwoorden click to hear 2 3 'reflexive pronouns'

English Nominative I singular you he she
Dutch Nominative ik click to hear jij click to hear /
je click to hear
hij click to hear zij click to hear /
ze click to hear
Dutch Reflexive me click to hear
mezelf click to hear
je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear

English Nominative we plural you they polite you
Dutch Nominative wij click to hear /
we click to hear
jullie click to hear zij click to hear /
ze click to hear
U click to hear
Dutch Reflexive ons click to hear
onszelf click to hear
je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
Uzelf click to hear 2

The verbs in the examples above have the same subject and object, but it's not necessarily so. These verbs can have other objects and still have the same meaning, like in the sentences below:

Ik was de ramen click to hear 2
Ik was de hond click to hear 2
I'm washing the windows
I'm washing the dog - theoretically the Dutch line could also mean 'I was the dog' (in a play or a dream)
Ik zag de sterren click to hear
Heb je haar gezicht gezien? click to hear 2
Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien click to hear 2
I saw the stars
Have you seen her face?
[I have seen him in no years] I haven't seen him in years

- more seeing
Ze verdedigde haar proefschrift click to hear
Ik verdedig mijn standpunt click to hear 2
Hij verdedigde zijn land click to hear
Wij verdedigen ons land click to hear 2
She defended her thesis
I'm defending my viewpoint
He was defending his country
We're defending our country
another example: Hij hoefde zich niet te bewijzen. click to hear
Ze konden het niet bewijzen click to hear 2
He didn't have to prove himself.
They couldn't prove it

Reflexive Verbs?

But Dutch also has a group of verbs that either always come with the (simple) reflexive pronoun or have a very different meaning without the reflexive pronoun, like for example:
overgeven click to hear 2
zich overgeven click to hear 2
to throw up, to vomit
to surrender
Ik moest overgeven click to hear
Ik moest me overgeven click to hear 2 3
I had to throw up
I had to surrender

zich herinneren click to hear to remember

zich herinneren to remember
ik herinner me I remember
jij herinnert je you remember
hij herinnert zich he remembers
zij herinnert zich she remembers
wij herinneren ons we remember
jullie herinneren je y'all remember
zij herinneren zich they remember
U herinnert zich you remember
click to hear
zich vergissen click to hear 2 3 to be mistaken

zich vergissen to be mistaken
ik vergis me I am mistaken
jij vergist je you are mistaken
hij vergist zich he is mistaken
zij vergist zich she is mistaken
wij vergissen ons we are mistaken
jullie vergissen je yinz are mistaken
U vergist zich you are mistaken
click to hear

As mentioned above, the verbs in this group either always come with a reflexive pronoun or have a different meaning without the reflexive pronoun, and they can have another object than the reflexive pronoun - to me, the reflexive pronoun doesn't look like an object for these verbs (but I'm not a grammarian.)

Ik herinnerde me hem goed click to hear 2 I rememberered him well (I had a clear picture of him in my mind)
But: Ik herinnerde hem aan z'n belofte click to hear 2 I reminded him [of? about? his promise] that he'd made a promise
But: Ik herinnerde hem aan de afspraak click to hear I reminded him of the agreement, that there was an agreement
Ik herinner me 't niet. click to hear 2
Nou herinner ik 't me weer. click to hear 2
I don't remember [it.]
Now I remember [it] [again.]
Ik kan me 't niet herinneren. click to hear 2
(Ik kan 't me niet herinneren. click to hear)
I [can't] don't remember [it.]
Ik kan me vergissen click to hear 2 3 4
We hebben ons vergist click to hear 2
Jullie hebben je in hem vergist click to hear 2
(de) vergissing click to hear
'I [can] may be mistaken'
'We were mistaken'

'You guys were mistaken about him'
'honest mistake'
zich vervelen to be bored
ik verveel me I'm bored
jij verveelt je you're bored
hij verveelt zich he's bored
zij verveelt zich she' bored
wij vervelen ons we're bored
jullie vervelen je youse are bored
zij vervelen zich they're bored
U verveelt zich you're bored
click to hear
voelen to feel
ik voel I feel
ik voelde I felt
ik heb gevoeld I have felt
click to hear 2

zich voelen to feel ('inside')
ik voel me I feel
ik voelde me I felt
ik heb me gevoeld I have felt
click to hear 2

Verveel je je? click to hear
But: Verveel ik je? click to hear 2 3
Are you bored? (singular informal)
Am I boring you? Do I bore you?
Verveelt U zich? click to hear
Ik verveel me nooit click to hear 2
Ik verveel me te pletter click to hear 2 3
Heb je je erg verveeld? click to hear 2
Ik heb me niet verveeld click to hear 2 3
Are you bored? (polite)
'I'm never bored'
'I'm bored stiff' ['crushed by boredom']
'Were you very bored?'
'I was not bored'
The adjective and adverb vervelend click to hear (vervelend / vervelende click to hear 2) is a little stronger than 'bored' - it's more like 'unpleasant, irritating'
't Blijft vervelend click to hear 2
Wat vervelend! click to hear
Wat vervelend nou! click to hear 2 3
een vervelende man click to hear 2
een vervelende situatie click to hear 2
[It remains unpleasant] It's still annoying
How unpleasant!
How unpleasant! [now]
an unpleasant (male) person
an unpleasant situation

English 'to feel' can (among other things) refer both to feelings 'inside' a person and to sensations felt on the skin. For the 'internal feelings' Dutch uses the reflexive verb zich voelen click to hear and for what's felt on the skin Dutch uses the 'regular' verb voelen click to hear 2

Hoe voel je je? click to hear 2
Ik voel me zo vol. click to hear 2
Ik voel me niet lekker click to hear
Voel je je beter? click to hear 2
Ik had me nog nooit zo ziek gevoeld click to hear 2 3
How are you feeling?
[I feel so full] I've eaten too much.
I don't feel well - Medical
Are you feeling better?
I had never before felt that sick
But:
Ik voelde de regen op m'n gezicht click to hear 2

I felt the rain on my face
Voel hoe zacht de stof is! click to hear 2 3 Feel how soft the fabric is!
zich aanstellen click to hear 2 to behave in an exaggerated manner, usually childish, out of touch with reality
Stel je niet aan! click to hear 2
Hij stelt zich aan click to hear 2
Don't exaggerate, don't be childish (patronizing)
He's exaggerating, behaving like a child
zich voorstellen click to hear 2 1. to introduce oneself
2. to imagine
Ik stelde me voor click to hear 2 1. I introduced myself
2. I imagined ...
Stel je voor ... click to hear 2 Imagine ... (with another intonation it could also mean: "Introduce yourself!")
Mag ik me even voorstellen? click to hear 2
Stel je voor dat er geen auto's zouden zijn! click to hear 2
Stel je voor dat er geen auto's waren! click to hear 2
Allow me to introduce myself.
Imagine that there would be no cars!
Imagine that there were no cars!
zich zorgen maken click to hear 2
Maak je geen zorgen over mij. click to hear
to worry
Don't worry about me.
zich afvragen click to hear
Ik vraag me wel eens af ... click to hear 2
Ik vraag me af of ... click to hear 2
to wonder
I wonder if ...'
'Sometimes I wonder ...'
zich haasten click to hear
Haast je als je de tijd hebt,
dan heb je de tijd als je haast hebt. click to hear
to hurry
'Hurry when you have time,
then you'll have time when you're in a
hurry.' ->>
zich ontspannen click to hear 2 3
Ontspan je! click to hear 2
Je moet je ontspannen click to hear 2 3
to relax
'Relax!'
'You should relax!'
zich verbazen click to hear 2
't Verbaast me niks. click to hear 2
Het zou me niet verbazen. click to hear 2
to be surprised, amazed
I am [zero] not surprised.
'I would not be surprised.'
zich ergeren click to hear 2
Ik erger me dood click to hear 2 3
to be annoyed
I'm deeply annoyed ['to death']
zich omkleden click to hear
Ga je je omkleden? click to hear 2
to change (clothes)
Are you going to change? (clothes)
zich bemoeien met click to hear to meddle with, getting involved with something where you're not wanted
Je moet je d'r niet mee bemoeien click to hear 2
Bemoei je d'r niet mee click to hear
You shouldn't meddle, stay away from it
Don't get involved with it, go away!
zich verslapen click to hear
Ik had me verslapen click to hear
to oversleep (not get up in time)
I had overslept
zich beheersen click to hear 2 3
Beheers je! click to hear 2
'to control yourself, have a grip on your emotions'
Get a grip on yourself, behave!
zich bewegen click to hear 2
Beweeg je niet! click to hear
to move (your body)
Don't move! Freeze!
zich branden click to hear 2 3
Ik heb me gebrand click to hear 2 3
Brand je niet! click to hear 2 3
'to burn oneself,' to get burned
'I burned myself,' I got burned
Dont get burned! (Be careful)

Reciprocal Verbs

(For completeness' sake) There is another class of verbs with a confusingly similar name: wederkerige werkwoorden click to hear 2 ('reciprocal verbs' - 'mutual'?) with the 'reciprocal pronoun' elkaar click to hear ('each other') - slang: mekaar click to hear - for instance: elkaar ontmoeten click to hear 2 3 ('to meet [each other]' - a person)

Ze ontmoetten elkaar op een feestje click to hear 2 3 They met [each other] at a party
(The past tense plural 'ontmoetten' sounds exactly the same as the present tense plural 'ontmoeten' - when you hear the line, it may also mean 'they meet ...' like in describing a book or a movie)
Dan kunnen we elkaar eindelijk echt ontmoeten click to hear 2 Then we'll finally really meet [each other] (face to face, 'in the flesh')
"We benne op de wereld om mekaar te hellepe niewaar?" click to hear 2 We're in this world to help each other out isn't it?

Marco Schuffelen - email
copyright © 1999-2006 Marco Schuffelen - All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Don't be a dief (thief) - dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2