Almost everybody who loves soccer knows Johan Cruijff. He was one of the best soccer players of the world in his time. Actually, when you’re Dutch you know all about Johan Cruijff even if you don’t like soccer. In the Netherlands he is not only famous because of his fabulous footwork or his speed; every Dutch adult knows Johan Cruijff as well because of his original approach of the Dutch language.
So, are you afraid of using the wrong Dutch words? Stop worrying because Johan is one of our most famous citizens and he makes loads of mistakes. Moreover, the Dutch love his mistakes. You can even buy several books about them. Not because we are looking down on him but because he found a new way of approaching our language. He has been called a taalvirtuoos (language virtuoso) en een taalvernieuwer (language innovator) by Dutch intellectuals. We even have a name for his language. It is called Cruijffiaans.
Cruijffiaans consists mainly of paradoxes that are grammatically wrong and illogical but seem right when said by Johan Cruijff. Let me give you a few examples:
– ‘Elk voordeel heb z’n nadeel’ (= Every advantage has its disadvantage (and mind you, he actually says ‘have’) – ‘Mensen moeten harder gaan rijden, dan zijn ze sneller van de weg, dus zijn er minder files.’ (= People should drive faster, than they will be off the road more quickly, so there will be less traffic jams.) – ‘Je gaat het pas zien, als je het door hebt.’ (= You can only see it, when you get it) – ‘Bergkamp speelde ver onder nul.’ (= Bergkamp –name of a Dutch soccer player- played far below zero)
Why should you feel like a failure when you make a mistake when Johan seems proud of his mistakes? Of course we laugh about his mistakes, but we don’t really make fun of him. A lot of Dutchies are actually using many of his proverbs in their day-to-day language. So do as Johan Cruijff does, don’t be afraid of your mistakes; see them as an enrichment of our language. Or as Cruijff himself would say:
– ‘Voordat ik een fout maak, maak ik die fout niet.’ (Before I make a mistake, I don’t make that mistake)