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Dutch Verbs: Reflexive Verbs - Smartphones Page

Introduction
The Reflexive Pronouns
Reflexive Verbs?
Reciprocal Verbs

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 wassen to wash yourself, 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

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

Hij heeft zich goed verdedigd click to hear
He [has] defended himself well

The Reflexive Pronouns

wederkerende voornaamwoorden click to hear 2 3
'reflexive pronouns'
Nominative
English / Dutch
Reflexive
I ik click to hear me click to hear
mezelf click to hear
singular you jij click to hear / je click to hear je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
he hij click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
she zij click to hear / ze click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
we wij click to hear / we click to hear ons click to hear
onszelf click to hear
plural you jullie click to hear je click to hear
jezelf click to hear
they zij click to hear / ze click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
polite you U click to hear zich click to hear
zichzelf click to hear
Uzelf click to hear 2
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

Ik heb mezelf gezien click to hear 2
I have seen myself
Ik heb mezelf op TV gezien click to hear 2 3
I have seen myself on television

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

Ik was de hond click to hear 2
I'm washing the dog - theoretically the Dutch line could also mean 'I was the dog' (in a play or a dream)
Ik was de ramen click to hear 2
I'm washing the windows

Ik zag de sterren click to hear
I saw the stars
Heb je haar gezicht gezien? click to hear 2
Have you seen her face?
Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien click to hear 2
[I have seen him in no years]
I haven't seen him in years

Ze verdedigde haar proefschrift click to hear
She defended her thesis
Ik verdedig mijn standpunt click to hear 2
I'm defending my viewpoint
Hij verdedigde zijn land click to hear
He was defending his country
Wij verdedigen ons land click to hear 2
We're defending our country

another reflexive verb:

Hij hoefde zich niet te bewijzen. click to hear
He didn't have to prove himself.
Ze konden 't niet bewijzen click to hear 2
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 to throw up, to vomit
zich overgeven click to hear 2 to surrender
Ik moest overgeven click to hear
I had to throw up
Ik moest me overgeven click to hear 2 3
I had to surrender

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

As mentioned above, the verbs in this group either come with a reflexive pronoun or have a different meaning without the reflexive pronoun. These verbs 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
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
I don't remember [it.]
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.]
Nou herinner ik 't me weer. click to hear 2
Now I remember [it] [again.]

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

Ik kan me vergissen click to hear 2 3 4
'I [can] may be mistaken'
We hebben ons vergist click to hear 2
'We were mistaken'
Jullie hebben je in hem vergist click to hear 2
'You guys were mistaken about him'
(de) vergissing click to hear '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

Verveel je je? click to hear
Are you bored? (singular informal)
But: Verveel ik je? click to hear 2 3
Am I boring you? Do I bore you?

Verveelt U zich? click to hear
Are you bored? (polite)
Ik verveel me nooit click to hear 2
'I'm never bored'
Ik verveel me te pletter click to hear 2 3
'I'm bored stiff' ['crushed by boredom']
Heb je je erg verveeld? click to hear 2
'Were you very bored?'
Ik heb me niet verveeld click to hear 2 3
'I was not bored'

'Boring' is saai click to hear (saai / saaie click to hear 2 ->>)

saaie Piet click to hear 'Boring Peter' - a bore, a boring person
Wat een saai verhaal! click to hear 2 3 4 Such a boring story!
Saaie boel is het hier click to hear 2 3 It's boring here. What a boring place this is. There's nothing going on

But 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
[It remains unpleasant] It's still annoying
Wat vervelend! click to hear
How unpleasant!
Wat vervelend nou! click to hear 2 3
How unpleasant! [now]
een vervelende man click to hear 2
an unpleasant (male) person
een vervelende situatie click to hear 2
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

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

Hoe voel je je? click to hear 2
How are you feeling? - more
Ik voel me zo vol. click to hear 2
[I feel so full] I've eaten too much.
Ik voel me niet lekker click to hear
I don't feel well - Medical
Voel je je beter? click to hear 2
Are you feeling better?
Ik had me nog nooit zo ziek gevoeld click to hear 2 3
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
Don't exaggerate, don't be childish (patronizing)
Hij stelt zich aan click to hear 2
He's exaggerating, behaving like a child

zich voorstellen click to hear 2
1. to introduce oneself
2. to imagine

Mag ik me even voorstellen? click to hear 2
Allow me to introduce myself.
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!")
Stel je voor dat er geen auto's zouden zijn! click to hear 2
Imagine that there would be no cars!
Stel je voor dat er geen auto's waren! click to hear 2
Imagine that there were no cars!

zich zorgen maken click to hear 2 to worry
Maak je geen zorgen over mij. click to hear
Don't worry about me.
Ik begon me zorgen te maken click to hear 2 3
I was starting to worry

zich afvragen click to hear to wonder
Ik vraag me wel eens af ... click to hear 2
'Sometimes I wonder ...'
Ik vraag me af of ... click to hear 2
'I wonder if ...'
Ik vraag me af hoe 't komt click to hear 2
I wonder [how it comes] why it is, what causes it

zich haasten click to hear to hurry
Haast je als je de tijd hebt,
dan heb je de tijd als je haast hebt. click to hear
'Hurry when you have time,
then you'll have time when you're in a
hurry.' ->>

zich ontspannen click to hear 2 3 to relax
Ontspan je! click to hear 2 'Relax!'
Je moet je ontspannen click to hear 2 3
'You should relax!'

zich verbazen click to hear 2 to be surprised, amazed
't Verbaast me niks. click to hear 2
I am [zero] not surprised.
Het zou me niet verbazen. click to hear 2
'I would not be surprised.'

zich ergeren click to hear 2 to be annoyed
Ik erger me dood click to hear 2 3
I'm deeply annoyed ['to death']

zich vermaken click to hear 2 to be entertained, to enjoy yourself
We hebben ons prima vermaakt click to hear 2 3
We [very well] really enjoyed ourselves

zich omkleden click to hear to change (clothes)
Ga je je omkleden? click to hear 2
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
You shouldn't meddle, stay away from it
Bemoei je d'r niet mee click to hear
Don't get involved with it, go away!

zich verslapen click to hear to oversleep (not get up in time)
Ik had me verslapen click to hear I had overslept

zich beheersen click to hear 2 3 'to control yourself, have a grip on your emotions'
Beheers je! click to hear 2
Get a grip on yourself, behave! - Flemish has a to Dutchmen funny phrase: 'Herpak U!' click to hear 2

zich bewegen click to hear 2 to move (your body)
Beweeg je niet! click to hear
Don't move! Freeze!

zich branden click to hear 2 3 'to burn oneself,' to get burned
Ik heb me gebrand click to hear 2 3
'I burned myself,' I got burned
Brand je niet! click to hear 2 3
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?
Elkaar voor rotte vis uitmaken click to hear 2 3 4
(expression) 'Calling each other spoiled (rotten) fish' - mutual insulting

onder elkaar click to hear 'among each other' - in trusted, exclusive company
mannen onder elkaar click to hear 2 3
'men among each other' - men without women, occasionally misbehaving

Ze praten langs elkaar heen click to hear 2 3 4
['They talk along each other'] - they dont't listen to each other, they don't understand each other, they're not communicating - 'they talk at cross-purposes'

Alles grijpt in elkaar click to hear 2
['All things grip (into) each other'] - Everything is connected

uit elkaar click to hear 2 3
['out of each other'] - no longer together
Zijn Jan en Klazien uit elkaar? click to hear 2 3
Are Jan en Klazien not together anymore? (is it over between them, is the relationship over?)

samen click to hear together
(de) samenwerking click to hear cooperation, collaboration
(de) samenleving click to hear 2 (human) society
(de) samentrekking click to hear 2 contraction (words)
(de) wee click to hear
plural: weeën click to hear
contraction (birth)
(de) samenzwering click to hear 2 3 conspiracy

(de) samenloop van omstandigheden click to hear
[running together of circumstances] - coincidence
Toch konden ze goed samenwerken click to hear
Still, they were able to work together well
Samen uit, samen thuis click to hear
[Leaving together, going home together] - 'We're in this together'

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Gij zult niet stelen click to hear 'Thou shalt not steal'