Did you know that here in West Flanders (Belgium) we conjugate the word ‘yes’?

I live in West Flanders, a piece of Belgium close to the coastline. Here in Belgium we are quite known for our dialect. Because most of what we say is unintelligible gibberish to my fellow countrymen, it's also one of the few dialects that is subtitled on national television.

I myself no longer think about it, but apparently it is quite unique that we conjugate the word 'yes'. 

But first: a (very) small history lesson

  • West Flemish contains influences from the Picardian, a French dialect, because trade with Artesia flourished in the Middle Ages. 
  • The West-Flemish dialect, especially that of the trading city of Bruges, made the first contribution to the standardization of the Dutch standard language. 
  • In addition, there are also many traces of the dialect of the Saxons, who arrived in Flanders during the Germanic migrations - in the fourth and fifth centuries.

People who speak French here will probably recognize the following words:

But what I wanted to say in the first place, in West Flanders we thus conjugate the word ‘yes’. I will make it clear on the basis of an example. 

First and foremost: yes = ja (pronounced as joa in West Flanders).

  • 1st person singular
Do you like U°Community? Joak
  • 2nd person singular

Do I like U°Community? Joag

  • 3rd person singular (to make it a little more complicated)

Does he/she like U°Community? Joaj or joan (male), joas (female), joat (neutral)

  • 1st person plural

Do you like U°Community? Joam or joaw

  • 2nd person plural
Do we like U°Community? Joag
  • 3rd person plural

Do they like U°Community? Joan or joas

So you want to make an impression during your visit to Belgium. Very easy, conjugate the word ‘yes’. And in case someone would be interested. Yes, we do the same with the word 'no'.

Do you also have an interesting fact about your local dialect? I would love to hear it!

You all have yourself a good day.

#culture #history #dialects #language