SV: SV: RERE: Paired Horse and bladibla

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Wed Nov 11 09:18:31 UTC 1998

>Dear Sandra, what can I say? It is several years since I read Dutch, and I never really had time to make an indepth study - I only got as far as to be able to read De Telegraph. What I really had in mind was the gender of the nouns, I can't remember that you have anything like the German system with "der Mann - die Frau - das Auto".

Sandra van der Geer wrote:

That is true.  We have only "de" (animate) and "het" (inanimate)
words, even if the dictionaries still mark "de"-words as m. or f.

But the problem is that the personal pronouns still make a three-way
distinction (hij/zijn zij/haar het/zijn ~ he/his she/her it/its), so
when a pronoun has to refer back to a "de"-word, and sexual gender
does not apply, people are often at a loss which pronoun to use.  In
general, little attention is paid to what the dictionaries say, and
"hij/zijn" is commonly used, excepty for abstract words, which tend
to be referred to as "zij/haar".  It's not uncommon for city dwellers
to use the pronoun "hij" when referring to a cow.

But this is more or less the same system as in English: he/she/it, with reference to female "things" as she (e.g. the ship - "she"). In Norwegian dialects, he/she is often used with reference to inanimate objects that have male or feminine grammatical gender (e.g. "skuda" - "ho" = the ship - she), whereas "bokmål" would use den/det in such situations: "båten" - "den"/"skipet" - "det", or "kua" - "den" versus dialect "kua - ho" (the cow - it/she)). 

But I don't suppose there is such a thing as Dutch "landsmaal".....

Best regards,

Lars Martin

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal
mcv at

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax:      +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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