Het vs de

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Het vs de

#1  Postby NineOneFour » Mar 24, 2010 11:19 am

In Dutch, can anyone actually explain the use of "het" vs "de"?

As far as I know, het is used to identify an actual object, as "THAT man" or "THE train station", where "de" is just talking about "the train station" or "the man over there".
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Re: Het vs de

#2  Postby Tursas » Mar 24, 2010 5:03 pm

It's simpler than that: grammatical gender. (Simpler as in you "only" have to memorise the gender of each word individually (or in groups in certain cases); there is no semantic difference between the two, for example.)
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Re: Het vs de

#3  Postby Corneel » Mar 24, 2010 6:26 pm

Tursas wrote:It's simpler than that: grammatical gender. (Simpler as in you "only" have to memorise the gender of each word individually (or in groups in certain cases); there is no semantic difference between the two, for example.)

Maybe 914's confusion stems from the fact that when not stressed, "het" is often shortened to "'t" (as in "'t paard" in stead of "het paard") and when followed by a voiced consonant it might almost sound like a "d" (eg. '"t brood").
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Re: Het vs de

#4  Postby NineOneFour » Mar 25, 2010 12:05 pm

Tursas wrote:It's simpler than that: grammatical gender. (Simpler as in you "only" have to memorise the gender of each word individually (or in groups in certain cases); there is no semantic difference between the two, for example.)


THAT'S your idea of "simpler"?


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*sigh*

Ok, so "het" is used for all diminutives ending in "je" and for proper nouns, -isms, and worlds loaned from Latin or Greek.

Everything else is acceptable to use "de"?
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Re: Het vs de

#5  Postby Corneel » Mar 25, 2010 1:49 pm

NineOneFour wrote:
Tursas wrote:It's simpler than that: grammatical gender. (Simpler as in you "only" have to memorise the gender of each word individually (or in groups in certain cases); there is no semantic difference between the two, for example.)


THAT'S your idea of "simpler"?


<snip>


*sigh*

Ok, so "het" is used for all diminutives ending in "je" and for proper nouns, -isms, and worlds loaned from Latin or Greek.

Everything else is acceptable to use "de"?

Actually that is the simple version on that wiki page.

There are a lot of words that are not in the categories mentioned, some examples of some fairly common neuter gender words (which go with "het"): kind (child), paard (horse), varken (pig), schaap (sheep), schip (ship), brood (bread), bed (bed), station (station), hoofd (head), been (leg), oog (eye), oor (ear), vlees (meat, flesh), fruit (fruit), bier (beer), leven (life),...
(and that's just for starters).

And there are even exceptions to the rules mentioned on that page. For instance 'wijf' is a somewhat derogatory term for a woman, but is of neuter gender ('het wijf').

And just to remind you it's only latin loan words ending in -um (museum, mausoleum, unicum,...) and greek loan words ending in -ma (thema, panorama, drama,...) that are neuter. Most Latin or Greek loan words go with 'de' (logica, fysica, psychologie, crisis,...)

Also remember that gender reflects in what pronouns you use.

If it's any consolation, the plural always takes "de".
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Re: Het vs de

#6  Postby Tursas » Mar 25, 2010 1:59 pm

You can use some of the rules given as guidelines, but probably a better way is to just learn the gender of each word when you encounter them (either by storing an extra bit of information in your mental lexicon alongside everything else, e.g. "{ WORD: spelling; pronunciation; meaning; HET/DE }", or by just remembering them as "het WORD" or "de WORD" instead of just "WORD" and then trying to think which it is). You'll have to check the dictionary, of course, but you'll probably be doing that anyway when learning a word.
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Re: Het vs de

#7  Postby katja z » Mar 25, 2010 3:08 pm

NineOneFour wrote:
Tursas wrote:It's simpler than that: grammatical gender. (Simpler as in you "only" have to memorise the gender of each word individually (or in groups in certain cases); there is no semantic difference between the two, for example.)


THAT'S your idea of "simpler"?


Hey, don't complain. The language I'm trying to learn at the moment (err, that is ... that I should be learning) has SIX categories that function in exactly the same way as grammatical genders (hence, six forms of the definite article) and as far as I know some languages have even more. :grin:
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Re: Het vs de

#8  Postby Scot Dutchy » Mar 25, 2010 3:33 pm

NineOneFour wrote:In Dutch, can anyone actually explain the use of "het" vs "de"?

As far as I know, het is used to identify an actual object, as "THAT man" or "THE train station", where "de" is just talking about "the train station" or "the man over there".


De is masculine/feminine and het is neutral. All diminutives are neutral.

De man en de vrouw.

De jounger en het meisje. (meisje is a diminutive of the old Dutch word for girl "meid").

The annoying thing with languages what is neutral or masculine in one language doe not have to be the same in another.
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Re: Het vs de

#9  Postby Berthold » Mar 27, 2010 4:22 pm

NineOneFour wrote:THAT'S your idea of "simpler"?

Of course it is.

Just like in German. :grin:
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Re: Het vs de

#10  Postby Horwood Beer-Master » Mar 27, 2010 9:36 pm

I'm glad I speak a language that pretty-much dumped all this gender shite a long time ago.
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Re: Het vs de

#11  Postby Scot Dutchy » Mar 28, 2010 12:07 pm

Horwood Beer-Master wrote:I'm glad I speak a language that pretty-much dumped all this gender shite a long time ago.


It does make it easier but loses colour. Mind you I do not envy Latin based language based speakers. The Germans dont do bad either.
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