Dutch Affairs / English / Language / Living in NL / Thoughts

Hoor isn’t whore

Let me teach you one peculiar Dutch expression. The Dutches love to use the word hoor. Like these words maar, toch, wel, eens, even and nou, hoor is a modal particle. A modal particle is a word that is used in speech to convey extra emphasis or emotion, without any real grammatical function. A modal particle can soften what you’re saying, for example, or harden it; it can help you to break the ice, or create a secretive atmosphere. 

The word hoor is a third person singular form of horen, to hear. That is what it literary means. According to the definition of modal particle, hoor has no grammatical function. Nevertheless to make it tricky, the use of it varies plus the translation of it depends on which situation it is used. Here are some examples.

Me: Heb je je huiswerk gemaakt? Have you done your homework?

Daughter G: Zeker weten hoor.  Absolutely.

Cashier at the supermarket: Wilt u de bon? Would you like a receipt?

Me: Ja hoor. Sure.

Vendor at the market: Sorry, ik heb geen klein geld meer. Sorry, I don’t have any small change left.

Me: Het is goed hoor. It is ok, it is fine (you may keep the change).

A man who lets a woman to go through the door first: Ga maar, hoor. You go ahead.

A friend: Kom je vanavond met ons iets drinken? Would you join us for a drink this evening? 

Me: Nee hoor, ik ben moe. No, I am tired.

As you see from the examples above this word hoor has no meaning. It softens and emphasizes the reactions. Hoor carries emotion, most of the time a positive one. Occasionally hoor is used in a sarcastic form. Example: you walk unaware on a biking path when a biker cut your path and accidentally touches you. The biker says ‘sorry hoor‘ in a loud voice. Sorry hoor here means: excuse me, pay better attention.

So why do I need a post to explain this particular modal article? Because the pronunciation of hoor is the same as whore in english. Some english speaking friends of mine who regularly come visit me, find it very amusing every time they hear the Dutchies use it.

Note: Speakers of Dutch language in Flanders region in Belgium do not use hoor as modal particle explained in this post. Dutch language in Belgium is called Flemish (Vlaams). It is slightly different in expression use.

So for first timers in the – Netherlands, do not be surprised when you are in NL if you hear locals add hoor at the end of their reaction. They don’t call you or anyone else whore, they are just being friendly.

38 thoughts on “Hoor isn’t whore

  1. Ohh iya ya Mbak, jadi terdengar whore. Ga pernah ngeh sebelumnya. Aku awal2 disini bingung kenapa setiap orang yang aku temui atau pas lagi nguping2 obrolan selalu ada kata “hoor” trus nanya suami, lalu dijelaskan. Akhirnya paham. Kupikir grammatica apaa gitu haha. Mama mertua pernah bilang “je bent niet echt nederlands tot dat je “hoor” zegt😀 favoritku : even wachten hoor 😁

  2. Totally off topic, there’s a town called Höör in Sweden, not far from Copenhagen by train. I still can’t pronounce it right🙂

  3. Setelah penjelasan di atas, sepertinya kebanyakan pengucapan ‘hoor’ akan diikuti ekspresi senyum di akhir kalimat. Ya nggak sih, Mba? Hehe.

  4. aku juga baru ngeh ternyata mirip ya pengucapannyaa😀 Aku masih perlu banyak latihan buat makai modal practicle Mba, rasanya membingungkan kalau kalimat udah panjang2.

    • Banyak sih ya Astrid. Eh tapi kalo udah lama disini, jadi terbiasa dan bisa pake yang bener karena orang sini sering banget pakenya.

  5. Hahaha, jadi inget dulu sewaktu ambil kelas bahasa Belanda level paling dasar di kampus dan aku diminta dosennya membaca kalimat yang ada “hoor”-nya, temanku ngakak karena terdengar kayak “whore”, haha😛

  6. Hihihi. Mba kemarin waktu di Jerman aku denger beberapa jawaban yang pake Hoor ( ala Jerman tentunya) which I found interesting. Iya yah kalau untrained ears sounded the same, but it should not sound the same really, the O in Hoor should have a more rounded, and I find quite often that the H is unpronounced or dropped off completely; whereas the Whore should have a more pronounced H, hence the W.

  7. Memang sebelum pergi ke suatu daerah itu harus belajar atau tahu tentang bahasanya (terutama ungkapan-ungkapan seperti ini) jadi tidak berujung salah paham :hehe. Semua mesti didengar dengan pikiran terbuka! Salah-salah kalau orang luar yang tak tahu penggunaan terus sensi, malah jadi ribut :hehe.

  8. Kayaknya dulu pas lagi belajar bhs Belanda kami lebih sering memakai “toch” krn belum paham benar, cuma docent nya yg paling sering make “hoor”. Hoor disini O nya dibaca lebih panjang ya.
    Menarik sekali mbak yo tulisannya (buka buku pelajaran bhs Belanda lagi).

    • Lain bahasa lain pengucapannya May. Dalam bahasa Belanda liat/alot artinya taai. Sementara dalam bahasa Indonesia artinya kan itu kotoran. Awal tinggal disini aku suka bingung dengernya ha…ha…

  9. Sering banget denger orang Belanda bilang, “ja hoor”. Sebagian udah nangkep maksud ekspresinya di kalimat. Tapi kadang yg masih bingung itu “maar” hehe..
    Thanks mbak untuk postingannya. Menarik.. dan jadi sekalian inget2 pelajaran bahasa Belanda. *udah banyak yg lupa*

  10. Mba Yo, kadang sampe sekarang suami masih suka ketawa waktu aku ngomong huur is niet duur. Tapi di telinga dia aku ngomong hoer is niet duur😂. Waktu bilang vis dan vies juga masih suka kebalik. Contohnya waktu bilang vandaag gaan we vis eten, tapi mereka dengernya aku bilang ‘vies’ 😂😂😂

    • Memang konsonan uu, ie dan sch itu paling susah dalam bahasa Belanda ya Yang. Huur jadi hoer, duur jadi doer, vis jadi vies, schaar jadi skar. Ribet ha…ha…

      • Hahaha iya mbak, sekarang anak anak udah groep 3 udah belajar baca, kata guru nya lebih baik aku ga usah ajarin baca, krn sudah cukup di sekolah dan klo pun untuk latihan spelling ataupun hakken lebih baik didampingi bapaknya saja😂

  11. Did I enjoy this post… Ja hoor, indeed…
    Excellent, dear Lorraine… I truly think you could be a great teacher.
    Merry Christmas and all my best wishes to you. Aquileana 🎄

    • Ha…ha….You used this expression well Aquileana. There was a time that I did want to be a teacher indeed. Thank you for the Christmas wish, I wish you the same too.

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