Amsterdam Knowledge Base
how do you say sorry in Dutch?|
On my last visit, I was sitting at a train station in Zaltbommel and an elderly gentleman asked me a question in Dutch. I answered "sorry", and he said "oh, you speak English".
I would have preferred to answer him in Dutch.
How would I say "I'm sorry, I don't speak Dutch. May we speak English?" in Dutch?
Thanks in advance.
My Dutch phrasebook says
As for the rest of that phrase, I'm curious to know myself.
He could probably tell you didn't speak Dutch by your accent, if you haven't already figured that out.
Being in Amsterdam means never having to say you're sorry.
Just speak english. I have tried the Dutch thing and I have found, with the exception of some elderly folk, that using unperfected Dutch got me some shitty service and rude stares. The old folk thought it kind of funny, though.
Anyways, just use English and you should be well off.
THe only time i really used Dutch while over there was, when i was saying Thank you. Thats the only thing i know how to say in Dutch, so i used whenever i could. It seemed appreciated that at least i could say Dank u wel to the Dutch people.
The dutch would actually rather you speak English to them anyway,,,, Alot of them are insulted if you try to speak dutch to them... In there minds.... You think they are dumb and would'nt know how to speak English..... So just stick to English.. You will be better off... I've actually asked alot of dutch this very same question.... And got that awnser from almost all of them
That's a different perspective Oreganja, I never really thought about that, but it makes more sense to me, being American, than trying to speak Dutch
Thanks for the advice, all. Guess I'll just stick to English.
They sometimes get insulted if you ask them if they speak English.
Just speak English respectfully and everything will be fine.
If you insist, then say "Sorry, spreek je engels?" or "Sorry, engels?" and no hard feelings will be had.
oh. ik kan niet so goed nederlands spreken. spreekt u engels? (oh, i can´t speek so good english, do you speek english?)
but everybody speeks english in dutch. if you like, learn little dutch with a book. then you can use words easy like "alstublieft", "goed dag", "doi", or you can order food in dutch. i can talk a little and its nice (more for me :-)), and if people do not answer in english, im very proud! :_) ul
One thing I might add is that if you ask someone 'Do you speak English' or ''Spreekt U Engels" you will probably get the answer 'of course.' This is not because the person is like 'of course, I speak English you idiot' it's a direct translation of the Dutch word they would use: 'natuurlijk.'
Also "Kunt U dit voor mij vertalen?" means 'can you translate that for me?'
Sometimes I get a little irritated with this...I'm dutch but have lived in the states 40 of my 42 years. Wanting to not stand out as different than your average American girl when I was young, I refused to speak dutch at home. Now...well, I regret it. I have a lot of family in Holland, including my father and 2 brothers who don't speak english very well (very unusual too). They are artists, and somewhat eccentric. Anyway, when I go to visit, I try to speak as much dutch as possible and the longer I'm there, the better it gets. But yes, sometimes in the city, if I ask for something in dutch, I do get some rude stares, and always answered in english. Very frustrating to say the least.
I've never gotten a bad response at all to speaking what little Dutch I know. It could be that having grown up in Europe and having learned a few languages at a young age, that I can vocalize some of the sounds more convincingly. I still need a few jenevers before I can pronounce Grachtengordel though.