At least one Dutch word still eludes me. It’s a word I cannot get my lips around, no matter how hard I try. It’s a word I’ll go to extreme lengths to avoid saying.
Fourteen years ago, when I first moved to the Netherlands, my list of elusive words was long. Thankfully it is now much smaller. The reality is that there are sounds in the Dutch language that are not easy to master. There are throaty sounds that don’t exist in other languages. I learnt to growl and gargle in new ways to be able to communicate with Dutch people. I’m talking about sounds like sch. I lived in Voorschoten when I first moved over from England; I was more than glad to leave the place so I no longer had to pronounce it when anyone asked me where I lived. And don’t get me started on Scheveningen. I also dreaded the appearance of snow. The Dutch word sneeuw is no easy word to pronounce. Even now. Onions also proved problematic in those early expat days. The Dutch word ui brought tears to my eyes. I massacred it as the impossible word stumbled out of my mouth. That means uitgang and uitgaan were an issue too. But I eventually got over those hurdles. But one hurdle remains. It sits as a lonely word on my ‘impossible to say’ list, glaring at me, daring me to find an alternative way to say it. Difficulty. I have difficulty with the Dutch word for difficulty. Moeite. There, I’ve said it aloud, faced my Dutch demon. I just cannot say it like a native and suspect I never will.
What Dutch word do you find the most difficult to say?
This article is a rearranged version of the homonym articles previously published on my blog Life with a Double Buggy.
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