Dutch Language Blog

Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share Posted by on Feb 6, 2011 in Dutch Language

This past week I finally sat down to watch an episode of the long(est)-running Dutch soap opera, “Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden,” which has been beloved by 1.3 million viewers once a week since October 1990.  I wanted to watch because the show had been mentioned at my office:  one of my coworkers proposed that drama did not come naturally to the Dutch, and that the histrionics required by international soap opera standards seemed, in Dutch hands, a little artificial.

I have to say, though, that one nice thing about soap operas is that they are nonspecific:  they only deal with the universals, like, you know, love, sex, death and kidnapping.  And for that reason, “Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden” is a somewhat useful introduction to the Dutch language.  Its Dutch is conversational, yet simple, and the situations are recognizable to the least culturally cognizant of viewers.

The clip I’m posting here is classic soap material if there was ever classic soap material:  a fight that dissolves into lovemaking, lovemaking that dissolves into guilt; a cuckold with suspicious eyes, and a cheating wife with guilty eyes. Klassiek!

If you’re a beginning Dutch student, watch and see how much you can understand, and I will list some of the key lines below.  And as for the native Dutch among you:  are there GTST fans out there?  Do you have favorite characters or episodes?  As with any TV show, I think I could get into it, with a little help.

Praat er niet omheen!:  Don’t talk around [the issue].

Ik dacht dat je iets geleerd had in therapie: I thought you’d learned something in therapy.

Hadden we nooit moeten doen:  We should never have done that.

Ik heb geen spijt: I have no regret.

Wat zit je haar wild: How wild your hair is!

Hij doet aleen maar lieve dingetjes voor je:  He only does sweet things for you.

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