“Babbelen” is an informal way of talking. It can be used in a positive or negative context, see translation 1. and 2. respectively.

1. to chat, chatter [verb] [babbelde, gebabbeld]

– “Wat hebben jullie twee gisteravond gedaan? – Gezellig in de kroeg zitten babbelen!”
(“What did you two do yesterday evening? – Sat down in the pub and had a nice (little) chat!”)

– “Twee omaatjes zaten op een bankje in het park te babbelen over het weer.”
(“Two little grannies were sitting on a little bench in the park chattering about the weather.”)

Related word:
– “Kletsen“: chat, to talk informally.

2. to blab, to gossip [verb] [babbelde, gebabbeld]

– “Die secretaresse zit altijd over anderen te babbelen.”
(“That secretary is always blabbing about other people.”)

– “Er wordt gebabbeld dat Frank het doet met die secretaresse…”
(“Gossiping is going on about Frank having an affair with that secretary…” Literally: “It is gossiped that Frank does it with that secretary…”)

Related word:
– “Roddelen”: to gossip.

2 thoughts on “Babbelen

  1. Thanks for the vocab. I am also struck by the use of the infinitive “zitten” in the first example. In answer to the question “What did you do?,” mentally translating from English, I would have expected a past participle. Interesting difference.

  2. Hi Daisy, I took another look at the first example with ‘zitten’. The infinitive ‘zitten’ has a different meaning in this sentence. The English translation is not correct for that matter. It is common in Dutch to use the infinitives ‘liggen’ and ‘zitten’ together with another verb to describe that you were ‘in the activity of’; not necessarily, but quite often actually sitting or lying down.
    Some examples:
    – “Wat heb je vanmiddag gedaan?” – “Ik heb een beetje zitten lezen.” (I have been reading a bit.)
    – “Heb je de hele dag zitten niksen??” (Have you been up to nothing all day long??)
    – “Jullie zitten altijd tv te kijken!” (You (guys) are always watching tv!)
    – “Wat heb je op het strand gedaan?” – “O, een beetje liggen slapen.” (I have been sleeping a bit.)
    Hope this helps, it takes some experience to know when you can use it 🙂

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