Typical Dutch


Often when I watch football matches on Dutch television, I hear the phrase tjongejonge or tjongejongejonge from the commentator. This phrase is especially used when a player makes a silly mistake that may benefit the other team. I translate the phrase as ‘oh boy’: a reaction to a surprising or annoying situation.

Depending on the context and intonation, I sometimes hear Dutch people use this phrase when they are amazed by something. For instance, when I was involved in teaching a practical course, one of the students in my group said tjonge to his friend who managed to solve a difficult calculation problem. And I also notice that the more jonges are added to tjonge, the more annoyed or astounded someone is.

My Dutch office mate once said tjongejongejonge to me when I accidentally spilled coffee on his table. His intonation when he said the phrase was so funny that I could not stop laughing. Since that time, at the right moment I will not hesitate to use this phrase back to him, of course in an exaggerated tone of voice. Tjongejongejonge!

Anak Agung Gede Indraningrat, PhD Student at the Laboratory of Microbiology,

from Indonesia

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Bij voetbalwedstrijden op de Nederlandse televisie viel het hem als eerste op. Anak uit Indonesië hoorde de commentator geregeld ‘tjongejonge’ zeggen als een speler een domme fout maakte. Sindsdien hoort hij de uitroep overal waar Nederlanders zich verbazen of ergeren. En hoe groter de verbijstering of irritatie, des te meer ‘jonges’ volgen er op ‘tjonge’. Zelf kreeg Anak eens een ‘tjongejongejonge!’ om de oren toen hij koffie over het bureau van zijn kamergenoot gooide. Sindsdien is het een gevleugelde term bij hem op kantoor.

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