Woordenboek Woensdag: Spelen

Perhaps not surprisingly, today’s posting is inspired — once again — by the World Cup. After all, I’ve been watching the Dutch coverage of the matches, so I’ve been hearing a lot of basic terms used repeatedly. This is how I started learning Italian years ago, as well. This is going to be a quick posting, since it’s half time of the Chile-Honduras match and I don’t have much time.

One of the terms that I’ve definitely learned in the past week has been wedstrijd (match), in part because it’s said a lot, and in part because I kept mishearing it in the past and wondered why they were talking about websites (with a strange accent) so much during matches. A similar word is spel (game). Is spel used more for “games” in general, while wedstrijd is used more for sporting/football “matches”?

Spelen (to play) is the verb of the day, or perhaps of the month. It’s definitely being used extensively! There’s also speler (player). The problem comes when de spits (striker) is buitenspel (offside), ruining a goeie kans (good chance) at a doel (goal). One last question: spits is listed in my dictionary as both de and het. Is it interchangeable?

Rustig vs Stil

Rustig (quiet, calm, tranquil) is one of those Dutch words that I’ve seen regularly, but never remembered to look up the definition until recently. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the election yesterday, I would have written about it for my Woordenboek Woensdag entry. But now, I’ve just come across a piece on the Dutch Word of the Day website about stilte (silence), and now I’m curious and vaguely confused.

I know rustig is an adjective or adverb, while stilte is a noun, but there’s also the adjective form stil (silent, quiet, still). Are rustig and stil interchangeable or is one used in certain instances versus the other? Is rustig used more for happy or peaceful silence, with stil used more for tense, sudden, or eerie silence?

Who knew something that I like could be so stress-inducing!