Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Oct 2009 00:37 UTC
Features, Office In the comments on our editorial about language purism and the Psystar case, it became quite clear that language is a subject almost everyone has an opinion on - not odd if you consider that language is at the very centre of what makes us "human". Since this appears to be a popular subject, let's talk about the influence computing has had on two very minor aspects of the Dutch language.
Permalink for comment 391288
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Thom's wrong on language
by jal_ on Tue 27th Oct 2009 09:00 UTC
Member since:

Although the article was entertaining, and as far as the discussion on quotes is concerned almost accurate, there are some factual errors on the Dutch language:

A long, long time ago, when computers did not exist and man still got around on horseback, the Dutch language was much more closely related to German than it is now. Back then, declension was a core part of Dutch, much like it still is in German today.

Dutch and German form a language continuum, back then and now still. Dutch once did have declensions, but started to lose them in medieval times (they were re-introduced later for the written language).

the genitive still lingers around, and gets used even beyond mere fixed expressions - especially the genitive of the definite article. One of my mannerisms is to say "dat is niet des [name]" ("that is not of [name]"), which is something I say whenever someone does something which he normally wouldn't do.

"des X zijn", is a fixed expression. Though the genetive may not be entirely dead, your example is exactly a fixed expression, and I bet you use it even when [name] is a female (and not "der X" in that case).

In Dutch discourse, the genetive inflection des often gets shortened to just s.

That's not in discourse, that's in fixed expressions. Noone says "de heer 's huizes", or the like.


Reply Score: 2