Gender neutral language in Dutch

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Gender neutral language

Gender neutral language in Dutch. The Dutch language has three grammatical genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter, although the distinction between masculine and feminine has largely disappeared due to the fact they they are grammatically equivalent in almost every aspect. The grammatical gender does not always line up with the natural gender of a word, for example, all diminutive forms are neuter.

Pronouns[edit | edit source]

Dutch does not have any official gender-neutral pronouns, although nonbinary people have adopted other sets of pre-existing pronouns, as well as neopronouns, to work around this issue. A survey by Transgender Netwerk Nederland (Transgender Network Netherlands) showed that hen / hen / hun ("they/them/theirs") the most popular pronoun set is, although the first hen can be replaced by die ("that"). [1] Various other inflections can also be replaced by the corresponding form of "die", depending on the individual's preferences and how natural the sentence sounds in the person's regiolect.

Case Dutch sample sentence
Nominative Wanneer ik iemand een grap vertel, lacht die/hen.
Accusative Wanneer ik een vriend begroet, geef ik die/hen een knuffel.
Pronominal possessive Wanneer iemand niet naar de kapper gaat, wordt diens/hun haar lang.
Predicative possesive Wanneer ik een GSM nodig heb, leent mijn vriend me de hunne.
Reflexive Elk kind voedt zichzelf.

"Die" does not have predicative possessive or reflexive forms and thus these have not been included in the table.

Family terms[edit | edit source]

Parent[edit | edit source]

  • Ouder. Neutral, formal.

Child[edit | edit source]

  • Baby. Standard neutral word for very young offspring or very young people.
  • Jonkie. Standard, somewhat slang-y neutral word for young people.
  • Kind. Standard gender neutral word for a young person or an offspring. Implied age isn't adult, but may be.
  • Kleintje. Literally "little one", neutral word for a very young child or young offspring.
  • Peuter. Neutral word for a baby. (Child of ~1 to ~3 years old.)
  • Kleuter. Neutral word for a toddler. (Child of ~3 to ~6 years old.)
  • Tiener. Neutral word for a teenager. (Child of ~10 to ~18 years old.)
  • Volwassene. Neutral word for an adult. (Person of ~18 to ~65 years old.)
  • Senioor. Neutral word for a senior. (Person of ~65 to often the end of their lifespan.)


Other terms[edit | edit source]

  • Vriend. Neutral word for platonic friend. Has masculine connotations.
  • Lief. Neutral word for romantic partner. Casual.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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