Today, I would like to talk about one of the key words to use if you want to sound like a Flemish native speaker: Amai!
If you live or work around Flemish people, you have for sure heard this expression a hundred times.
"Amai" is a word we use to express a number of things: positive emotions like surprise and admiration, but we also use it to express more negative observations when we find something unpleasant or difficult. (see examples below)
The closest translations in English would be: "wow!", "oh boy", "oh my". Some say it might actually come from the English "oh my" and came to Flanders during the Hundred Years' War.
Some examples on how to use "amai":
Amai, dat ziet er goed uit!
Amai, that looks good!
Ik heb een boek gepubliceerd. - Amai!
I published a book. - Amai!
Amai, wat ne schone kerstboom!
Amai, what a beautiful Chrismas tree!
Amai, het is nogal aan het gieten buiten!
Amai, it's raining cats and dogs outside! (you'll be using this one in Belgium, right?)
Amai, da's moeilijk!
Amai, that's difficult!
Amai, wat nen ambetante kerel is me dat!
Amai, what an annoying guy!
Good to know is that we also have the expression "Amai nie", which we use to confirm and reinforce what someone else said.
Diene scheidrechter is echt niet fair! - Amai nie!
That referee really isn't fair! - Amai nie!
Ik denk dat het tijd voor een tas koffie is. - Amai nie!
I think it's time for a cup of coffee. - Amai nie!
Language Trainer specialising in informal language