Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Language interupted

Conjucating verbs....
It has to be said that conjucating verbs is one of my least favorite activities I would rather power wash the manure spreader than sit and conjugate verbs. Any one who has seen me covered in wet manure after power washing or my GIAGANTIC Scar on my leg from the power washing hose (p.s. my mom totally said it would scar) knows I don't like power washing manure spreaders.
I ahve to admit though that conjugating verbs in Dutch is considerably easier than in Russian.
for instance if something is plural it will end with -en, if you are talk about someone else you end with a -t and if you are talking about yourself you just use the stem word.
Ik Loop- I Walk
ze Loopt- She walks
Wij Lopen- We Walk
Some of you might notice the double vowel issue but that is alot bigger problem and not worth talking about now.
So, as my Dutch improves I have look back at sentences I have said that have gotten very weird looks. My favorite one comes from when I first started getting confident enough to talk to people.
I was at the bar with my friend Lauren, another Au Pair from Australia. A guy asked us why we were here int he middle of no where Netherlands and why an Aussie and an American would be hanging out. Lauren went to answer in English but I stopped her. I figured I needed the Dutch practice and I knew how tosay I am an Au Pair:
Ik ben Au Pair
So, thinking of how to make something plural I added the -en
Wij benen Au Pairs
The man gave me a look.
I repeated it but louder:
again he stared at us. Lauren leaned in and said We are Au Pairs.
He understood that.
I was a little disgruntled and decided to look up what the plural form of "ben" is. Well the "to be" verb likes to mess with your mind and not be like other verbs at all. The plural form is "zijn"....??? "ZIJN?!" What?(Wat?) where?(waar?) Why?(waarom?) It made no sense to me why that is so far off from other verbs. I shrugged it off figuring I just said some gibberish, that is until last week.
I was studying the body parts I already knew leg was "been" but I never put it together that legs is... "benen"
So, when that man asked us why we were there I not only acted like he ws stupid for not understanding me, but I felt the need to shout at him even louder:
WE LEGS AU PAIRS... duh...
I gotta go study.


  1. Anonymous said...

    hahahaha that is awesome


  2. becky said...

    hahahahaha... toooo funny.

    "I would rather power wash the manure spreader than sit and conjugate verbs."
    my favourite part :P