special, particular, peculiar Iconspeaker_3

Bird_of_paradise "Bijzonder" can both be used as an adjective or an adverb. When used as an adverb it is commonly translated as "very", see the examples. The "ij" in "bijzonder" is pronounced as "ie".

Note the use of "iets/niets bijzonders": something/nothing special.

– "Goedemiddag, kan ik u helpen, zoekt u iets bijzonders?" 
("Good afternoon, can I help you, are you looking for something special?" Note that it is typically Dutch to want to be left alone at first when looking around in a store, reason why Dutch shop personnel seem uninterested at first. Although some of them really are ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

– "Wat was er aan de hand?" – "O, niets bijzonders, een opstootje…" 
("What was going on?" – "Oh, nothing special, a small fight…")

– "Ik ben nog steeds een beetje stil van de film…" – "Ja, hij is heel bijzonder vind je niet…" 
("I'm still impressed by the film…" – "Yes, it is very special dont't you think so?" Lit. "I'm still a bit quiet because of the film".)

– "Meneer, u heeft een bijzonder kind! Misschien is het wel hoogbegaafd!" – "Nou, dat lijkt me bijzonder onwaarschijnlijk, maar bedankt voor het compliment!"
("Sir, you have a very special child! Perhaps it is highly gifted!" – "Well, that seems highly unlikely, but thank you for the compliment!")

– "Heb je gehoord dat Frank een kluizenaar is geworden?" – "Nee, maar het verbaast me niks; hij was altijd al een beetje bijzonder." 
("Did you hear that Frank has become a hermit/recluse?" – "No, but it does not surprise me one bit; he always was a bit peculiar.")

– "Alan daarentegen is een gewone jongen, een bijzonder gewone jongen kan ik wel zeggen." 
("Alan, on the contrary, is an ordinary guy, a very ordinary guy I may say.")

– "Heeft het u gesmaakt?" – "Zeker, ik heb bijzonder lekker gegeten, dankuwel." 
("Did you enjoy your meal?" – "Absolutely, it was very tasty, thank you.")

– "In het bijzonder": in particular.

Related words:
– Speciaal: special [adjective]. If you don't like the Dutch fries with mayonnaise you can order a 'patat speciaal'. The sauce you'll get is a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup (or curry sauce) and… chopped onions ๐Ÿ™‚
– Ongewoon: unusual [adjective].

– "Vind je dat deze broek bij deze trui past?" – "Uhm, ik vind het een beetje een ongewone combinatie als ik eerlijk ben!"
("Do you think these pants match this jumper/sweater? – "Ehm, to be honest, I think it is a bit of an unusual combination!")

– Apart: different, separate, distinct [adjective]. Note the infamous word 'apart-heid': "separate-ness". This word is not used in Dutch other than in the context of the former regime in South-Africa.

4 thoughts on “Bijzonder

  1. ‘The “ij” in “bijzonder” is pronounced as “ie”.’
    Far be it from me to venture to correct a native Dutch-speaker, Sander, but I’m surprised. Is this really so?
    Or, do we have a case here of “you say ‘eether’ and I say ‘either'”?
    So, I guess I’m asking is the “ij” not like the “y” in “by”?

  2. I’m a dutch girl and i’m 12 years old.
    The “ij” in “bijzonder”is pronounced as “ie”.
    You say “ie” like in “leave”.
    And the “o” in “bijzonder”..
    You say the “o” not like the “u” in “sun” but you have to open your mouth like a circle, and then the middle of your lips close down.
    I hope i say this right ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Thank you Hilde.
    Wow I didn’t know that!
    I see the error of my ways and I’ll get my coat as we say over here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Chris,
    Unfortunately the Dutch language is not as irregular as English when it comes to pronunciation ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I have given it some thought and the pronunciation of ‘bijzonder’ may date back to the time when the ‘ij’ was in fact a prolonged ‘i’ (that is: ‘ii’). See the post on ‘Why the IJ’. It makes sense although if so I do not know why the pronunciation didn’t change

Comments are closed.