zich

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Dutch[edit]

Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle Dutch sich, from Middle High German sich, from Old High German sih, from Proto-Germanic *sek. Old Dutch did not have a reflexive pronoun, but used the normal accusative pronoun (if necessary intensified by selven, cf. English himself). Although the use of zich in Holland-based Dutch was clearly triggered by written German, this development was assisted by the fact that the south-eastern dialects of Dutch had already adopted certain High German pronoun forms in much earlier times (cf. Limburgish ich, mich, dich, zich).

Pronoun[edit]

zich

  1. himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves; (polite form) yourself, yourselves
    Hij wast zich. — He washes himself.
    Hij wast zich het gezicht. — He washes his face.
    Vergist u zich niet? — Aren't you mistaken? (polite)
    Ieder voor zich. — Every man for himself.
  2. expresses an unintended result with many otherwise non-reflexive, even ergative verbs
    Hij viel zich een ongeluk — He fell and this resulted in an accident.
    Hij lachte zich een bult — He laughed so severely that it left him a hunchback.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Zich can be used whether the reflexivity of the verb is optional or mandatory. Optionally reflexive verbs can also take zichzelf as reflexive pronoun.
  • As in English (but unlike German and French), Dutch reflexive pronouns do not express reciprocity, except dialectally. Arguably reciprocal senses may occur in fixed verb constructions, however. For example: Ze hebben zich verloofd. (“They have got engaged.”)

Inflection[edit]


Derived terms[edit]

See Category:Dutch reflexive verbs

Related terms[edit]