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Cruijff at Nou Camp, 2009

Cruijffiaans[1] is the name given to the way of speaking, or a collection of sayings, made famous[2] by Dutch association football player and coach Johan Cruijff (1947–2016), particularly "one-liners that hover somewhere between the brilliant and the banal".[3] An example is "Je moet altijd zorgen dat je één doelpunt meer scoort als de tegenstander" (You always have to make sure that you score one goal more than your opponent.)[4]


Je gaat het pas zien als je het doorhebt.[5]
("You'll only see it when you understand it.")

Cruijff's Dutch was not the generally accepted variation (Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands or ABN), according to linguist Jan Stroop.[6] Lexically, Cruijffiaans is noted for its syncretism of highly diverse linguistic registers, and combines a working class Amsterdam dialect and football lingo with words not frequently found in the language of football. Semantically, Cruijffiaans contains many tautologies and paradoxes that, while appearing mundane or self-evident, suggest a deeper level of meaning, a mysterious layer not normally attainable for the average speaker or listener.[7] Syntactically, it uses the rules of Dutch grammar selectively and freely reorganizes word order.[1] Other quirks, for instance, are that Cruijffiaans knows only one relative pronoun, wie.[7]

Cruijff's aphorisms, neologisms, and bastardizations have proven influential, having been the subject of some ridicule, praise, and linguistic investigation. His pronouncements oscillate between pithy aphorism and "endless monologue"; Kees Fens said Cruijffiaans was an essayistic style that compares to stream of consciousness prose.[7]


A poll in 2007 by Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool asking readers about their favorite Cruijff saying found that it was Elk nadeel hep zijn voordeel ("Every disadvantage has its advantage"--hep being the Amsterdam pronunciation of heeft; linguist Jan Stroop noted that Renate Rubinstein had used that expression before Cruijff did, but thinks it unlikely Cruijff had gotten it from her[1]), followed closely by Als ik zou willen dat je het begreep, legde ik het wel beter uit ("If I wanted you to understand it, I would have explained it better").[1] While Stroop said Cruijffiaans frequently was more murky than enlightening and that Cruijff's language was accepted because it was his, journalist and television presenter Hanneke Groenteman said it was hypnotic.[1]

The Johan Cruyff Foundation, which promotes sports activity especially for disabled children, sells Delftware tiles with some of his expressions.[8][9] In 2014, the organization published a daily calendar.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Kleis, Constanze (2011). Vrouwen houden van mannen, mannen houden van voetbal. Meulenhoff. p. 111. ISBN 9789460230196.
  2. ^ Bas, Paul van der (24 March 2016). "In memoriam: Johan Cruijff. Zijn tien meest legendarische uitspraken op een rij". De Dagelijkse Standaard (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ Nowak, Martin; Highfield, Roger (2012). SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed. Simon and Schuster. p. 100. ISBN 9781451626636.
  4. ^ Nowack, Highfield (2011), SuperCooperators, Canongate, pp. 100–101, ISBN 9780857860453
  5. ^ "Bestel nu een tegeltje met uitspraken Cruijff" (in Dutch). Ajax Showtime. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. ^ Stroop, Jan (2010). Hun hebben de taal verkwanseld: over Poldernederlands, fout nederlands en ABN. Singel Uitverijen. p. 130. ISBN 9789025367909.
  7. ^ a b c Middag, Guus; Zwan, Kees van der (1996). "'Utopieën wie nooit gebeuren': De taal van Johan Cruijff" (PDF). Onze Taal (11): 275–77.
  8. ^ op den Brouw, Ward; Oudshoorn, Erik (27 December 2004). "'Er zijn te veel allerlei dingen, je moet specialiseren'". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  9. ^ Galan, Menno de; Loenen, Jan van. "Volledig interview met Johan Cruijff". NOVA (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Een jaar lang Cruijffiaans op het toilet". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 8 October 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

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