Gucci! Learn to text like a Dutch student

What does that honeybee emoji mean?

Gucci! Learn to text like a Dutch student

You think you’ve nailed your first Dutch language course. Confidently, you scroll through your WhatsApp conversations until you’re suddenly stumped: what could your Dutch friends possibly mean by that honeybee emoji or the word ‘fittie’?
29 September om 16:54 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 1 October 2020
om 10:13 uur.
September 29 at 16:54 PM.
Last modified on October 1, 2020
at 10:13 AM.


Yelena Kilina

Door Yelena Kilina

29 September om 16:54 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 1 October 2020
om 10:13 uur.
Yelena Kilina

By Yelena Kilina

September 29 at 16:54 PM.
Last modified on October 1, 2020
at 10:13 AM.
Yelena Kilina

Yelena Kilina

International editor
Volledig bio
International editor
Full bio

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. To get you texting like a native, check our glossary of text speak and slang terms you won’t find in a textbook!

Gucci
Not that Italian fashion brand most students probably can’t afford, but a way to confirm a statement or question, something like ‘good’ or ‘fine.’

Lama
Again, not anything to do with those fluffy relatives of alpaca. Lama is a contraction of ‘laat maar’, meaning ‘never mind’, and can be used on numerous occasions.

Naaier
Derived from ‘naaien’ or ‘to sew’, the word means somebody who screws you over. 

Fittie
Meaning ‘quarrel’ or ‘argument,’ the noun is a surprisingly popular term among students.

<o>
The honeybee emoji in response to an invitation might surprise those who see it for the first time. It is a sort of wordplay: Dutch for ‘bee’ is ‘bij,’ while ‘ik ben er bij’ means ‘I am in!’ So next time you are invited for a student party, just insert the honeybee emoji and you should be fine. 

Fissa
Speaking of student parties, you can’t go far in Groningen without knowing what it means!  Say ‘fissa’ if you are going out in the city centre or ‘huis fissa’ if you throw a house party.

Een bak trekken
Translated literally as ‘to pull a basket,’ this expression means ‘to chug’, signalling that you are finishing your drink, usually beer, in one go. 

Regelen
‘Regelen’ literally means ‘to arrange something,’ but that’s not exactly what students mean when they say it in a nightclub. Most likely, it stands for ‘making out’.

Prela
A contraction of ‘pre-relationship’: when you like each other, but it’s not a relationship just yet.

Osso
What is the best place to end up after surviving a Dutch night out and cycling with a woozy head? Surely, your own place, your home, your castle. 

Thuis-thuis
It means more than ‘house’, it is your parents’ house. That place that you couldn’t wait to escape from, which suddenly turned into your safe haven full of childhood memories and clean dishes. 

Sjaars
If you disagree with the previous statement, you must be a first-year student. As you might already have guessed, ‘sjaars’ means ‘freshers’.

What is slang?

So what is slang? Is it a lower level of language? According to language and society professor Janet Fuller, not at all. ‘It is a lexical variation, which is often creative and serves important social functions’, she says. It can create the identity the speaker is aiming for. Or it can be a sign of belonging to a particular group. ‘Sharing a way of speaking is a common way of showing solidarity.’ People of all ages can learn and use slang terms.

As for student language, it reflects concerns of a student population, like parties or words for different types of people they come into contact with.

However, slang users may be stigmatised. Just as regional dialect speakers or those with foreign accents, Fuller says. Nevertheless, new slang words are a part of the natural development of language. ‘Slang words either become dated and die out, or they become incorporated into more mainstream usage.’

How likely is ‘gucci’ to become mainstream? The professor expects it will come and go as quickly as many other in-group markers. ‘Especially if older people start to use them, they stop being, well, all that gucci.’