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Could a Dutch speaking person please check this. Notably, there is a "Usage note" about grammatical gender (which may not really belong in this article). This seems to say that the possessive pronoun must agree with what it modifies, but I can't be sure that that is what is meant. Could a Dutch speaker please check? Eclecticology 09:36 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)

The general rule is that the possessive pronoun must correspond with the grammatical gender of the noun:
  • singular masculine noun -> possessive pronoun = zijn (English: his)
  • singular female noun -> possessive pronoun = haar (English: her)
  • singular neuter noun -> possessive pronoun = zijn (English: its) (Dutch does not have a form to distinguish it from singular masculine)
However, if the grammatical gender of the noun and the real gender (sex) are not the same, the real gender takes precedence. This sometimes happens when diminutives are used. The grammatical gender of a diminutive is always neuter, but the real gender doesn't need to be (for example when we're talking about people):
De dame en haar hond (The lady and her dog) -> diminutive: Het dametje en haar hond (The little lady and her dog). The grammatical gender of dametje is neuter, so according to the general rule the possessive pronoun zijn should be used (Het dametje en zijn hond). But this is wrong because in real life "little ladies" are female, so the real gender takes precedence (Het dametje en haar hond). D.D. 11:29 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)

Thanks! It's a good thing that I asked because I had read it as a completely different issue. Compare the French La dame et son chien where the gender of son depends on chien rather than dame. My point becomes that what is obvious to a native speaker of the language can become a completely different and sometimes unexpected issue in the eyes of a foreigner.

I'm still unable to have a vision of the big picture for handling grammar rules in a multilingual environment. This project is just full of interesting challenges. Eclecticology 17:48 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)

It is, isn't it? Your question was very interesting to me too because it forced me to think about my own language and go further than what is obvious to me. Questions from non-native speakers sometimes reveal the peculiarities and richness of one's own language. Being married to a native speaker of Portuguese who has been using French as a first language for the last 20 years or so, I think I can speak from experience. D.D. 21:09 Feb 18, 2003 (UTC)
Three years later, I removed the grammatical notes. Most of these are not limited to just this pronoun, and rather belong in a good grammar book. There are many more important issues with this word which should be mentioned, but this is not the place to do so. — Vildricianus 13:09, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


Four years later, I wonder if bennen really is obsolete, in standard Dutch it may be obsolete. In certain dialects it is certainly not. How do I put this in nicely? Like (obsolete, dialectical) would be ambiguous to me. How about you? 15:21, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

It's certainly not in widespread use in any case, and I've never heard anyone say it. I imagine it would result in some strange looks too, although it would be understood. I would class it as a colloquial extension of the 1st and 2nd person singular stem ben- into a fully-fledged verb. So if not archaic or obsolete, then it certainly is colloquial and probably also humorous in nature. --CodeCat 21:21, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

You never heard it? Perhaps that's the reason why you think it's humorous, anyway colloquial does this word short I believe. Without being prejudiced, I've searched on Google the sentence 'dat benne mooie koeien' [1] and I've seen some examples of 'bennen' being used in a dialectical context. 16:40, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Another google search 'da he je mooi doan + benne' [2] 16:42, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
That looks like Low Saxon to me, which as far as I know is considered a separate language from Dutch (it has its own Wikipedia, too). So I don't think that can really be used as an example. It would also explain why I have never heard it, as I'm from Brabant. --CodeCat 21:02, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Okay :) 11:59, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

wezen is NOT archaic![edit]

That's simply not true. It's colloquial, not likely to be found in newspapers, but it's by far NOT archaic (at least not in the NL territory; Holland in particular). -andy 15:58, 1 May 2011 (UTC)

It does have somewhat old-fashioned or dialectal undertones in the standard language. You wouldn't hear a newsreader say it, for example. —CodeCat 18:10, 1 May 2011 (UTC)