Liefhebben (Nederlands taal vraag)

The dictionary tells us that that the verb “to love” in literary Dutch is liefhebben. But it seems to be one of those compound verbs where you have to break up the two parts (lief + heb-) and separate them when you conjugate it.

So how would you translate, for example, the song “I Love Paris”? Would that be “ik heb Paris lief”?

(This is apart from the colloquial way to say “I love you,” which I’m told is ik hou van jou – it seems to mean literally ‘I have from you’. Huh? I have what from you? The clap?)

Dank U weel.

Jomo, I think you’ve got it right, but I’ll prudently wait for een echte nederlander to come by and confirm. I just thought I’d mention that German has this word too, so that “ich liebe euch” can also be “ich hab’ euch lieb”. Sounds odd, no?

If you can simply say ich liebe Paris in German, why can’t you say ik lief Paris in Dutch?

I guess what I’m asking for is the right way to conjugate liefhebben. As odd as it looks to break up a verb, ik hou van Paris seems even stranger.

Since Coldfire seems to be busy moderating, thought I’d put in my amateur two cents.
The “houden van” thing cartainly works in this case as well:
Ik houd van Paris.
Ik houd Paris niet van: I don’t like Paris.
Houd je van televisie? Do you like TV?
It looks funny to English speakers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t correct. Liefen seems a bit strong for this usage.

Why is liefhebben too strong? How would you use it? For something you really, really, really love with every fibre of your being? I googled the words heb and lief, and came up with a song: Ik Heb U Lief Mijn Nederland (I love you [soooooo very, very much) my Netherlands).

I took German, and I was never taught the pronoun “euch” for “you” in any tense. I thought it was strictly “dich” or “Sich” for second person objective.

I took German, and I was never taught the pronoun “euch” for “you” in any tense. I thought it was strictly “dich” or “Sich” for second person objective.

But the Babelfish translator knows it. Maybe I fell asleep that day in German…

euch is for “ya’ll”-- 2d person (familiar) plural accusative. Ihr (plural familiar you, not Sie) habt euch gekleidet (ya’ll dressed yerselves) would work for the relexive, for example. Ich ruf euch an: I’m ringing ya’ll up.

Sure, heb some lief if you want to, but ya gotta heb it, cuz it’s a noun.

Ik heb Amsterdam lief.

(sorry, actually in the example of anrufen I used euch is DATIVE, not accusative, but it’s the same word in that case-- euch is used for both dative and accusative. Mea culpa)

Well, I think the difference is more subtle.
“Ik heb U lief” is less stronger than the phrase “Ik bemin U”; “Ik heb U lief” can refer also to non-living things as
“Ik heb Parijs lief”, but “Ik bemin U” refers alsmost only to human beings. The expression “Ik bemin Parijs” is valid
but would express a very strong emotion.
“Ik heb U lief” refering to persons is a little bit archaic,
the common phrase would be “Ik hou van U”.

A small confession: that’s why I used it! I couldn’t figure whether it was “ich habe dich lieb” or “ich habe dir lieb”, so I skirted the issue:).

Sorry guys, I’ve been buys. :wink:

OK, let’s tackle the problems one by one. I’ll skip the German ones and concentrate on Dutch.


This is technically correct, but rather archaic. The most common way would be Ik hou van Parijs (“I love Paris” [note the different Dutch spelling of Paris]), or Ik ben dol op Parijs (“I am fond of Paris”), from the verb dol zijn op (“fond be of”, literally).

Houden means “to keep”. Ik houd kippen in mijn tuin means “I keep chickens in my yard”. Houden van means “to love”. There’s no real reasoning to this: it’s one of those things where it will remain illogical untill you have enough “feel” for the language, I’m afraid. And boy, have you picked a difficult language to develop a feel for. :wink:

“wel”, actually - but you’re quite forgiven. :smiley:

It’s more complicated than that. The correct conjugation is Ik houd niet van Parijs.

Not necessarily. Ik heb U (or “u”, uncapitalised. The “U” form is archaic) lief is an archaic form of expressing love to, say, a women. But it’s a non-archaic, respectful way of expressing love towards a country, for example. Ik bemin U only applies to people, and implies a romantic connotation. This is not something to say to mommy. Save it for the girlfriend. :wink:

Very good, but not entirely correct. Beminnen, as said, implies romance - and is people related.

VERY archaic, even. And ik hou van u is something you might say to your grandfather. To a lover, you’d say ik hou van jou. Dutch differentiates between a more formal, respectful second person (“u”), and a more aproachable one (“je”/“jij” [same], posessive: “jou”). Furthermore, “u” is both singular and plural, and it is often a task of interpreting the context to figure the difference out.

I’m telling ya, it’s a mighty interesting language, but a pretty tough one to fully grasp for a native English speaker. I hope you’re enjoying it, though. And never hesitate to ask anything - I love explainging about my language!

[Edited by Coldfire on 02-09-2001 at 08:33 AM]

I also believe that “beminnen” is more used in poetry than in actual conversation: it’s a little heavy handed.


Ah, since you’ve volunteered. . . a problem I have today: Are you familiar with the word “vademecum”? I know it’s likely not Dutch, but is used here in a manuscript title: “Een Brugs Vademecum voor de Rome- en Jeruzalemvaarder samengesteld door. . .” Is this an old word for “itinerary” or journal?
Thanks; I’m sure I’ll have more problems soon. I had a very bad sentence the other day but I can’t remember where I ran into it.

From the Van Dale website (the oldest and most elaborate Dutch dictionary):

Meaning: Book of small size and brief content, meant as a short manual. The word is Latin in origin.