The Dutch language is called Nederlands in Dutch. It is a West Germanic language, mainly spoken by the inhabitants of the Netherlands. A distinguishable form of Dutch is Flemish, which is the language of Flanders (the northern part of Belgium). Some Flemish is also spoken in neighboring France, where it is called â€œVlaams.â€ Dutch is also spoken in former Dutch colonies, like the Netherlands Antilles, Suriname and Indonesia.
As of 2005 an estimated 21 million people in the world were Dutch speakers, most of them residing in the Netherlands and Flanders. Sometimes â€œHollandâ€ is used as a synonym for the modern country of the Netherlands, even though it is just one of the several provinces (political subdivisions) of the Netherlands. Likewise, â€œNetherlandsâ€ means â€œLow Countries,â€ and the name is thus translated into some other tongues (like â€œPaÃses Bajosâ€ in Spanish). Care should be taken with those translations, as Flanders is also historically a â€œlow country,â€ but it is part of Belgium, not the Netherlands. Even earlier, there were as many as seventeen defined â€œlow countries,â€ some of which were independent duchies (like Luxembourg) or parts of France and Germany. Seven of them formed what became ultimately the Kingdom of the Netherlands (which today is subdivided into 12 constituent provinces, plus the remaining overseas holdings and affiliations.)
â€œDutchâ€ is related to the word â€œDeutschâ€ â€“ the German word for â€œGerman.â€ An ancient Germanic word, â€œtheodiskâ€ was used to describe the language of the people (as distinguished from the parlance of clergy and royalty â€“ usually Latin). (the â€œdiskâ€ part of this term has a very ancient connection with Latin-derived speech words, like â€œdiction.â€) In German, â€œtheodiskâ€ was compressed and corrupted into â€œDeutsch.â€ In Italian, â€œtheodiskâ€ became â€œTedescoâ€ â€“ the modern Italian word for German. In the Netherlands, the word came to be pronounced â€œduitsâ€ for German and â€œdietsâ€ for Dutch, but it is no longer in use.
â€œDutchâ€ should not be confused with English usage of the term to mean â€œGermanâ€ as in the settlement of the Pennsylvania Dutch in the New World. These settlers came from Germany, not the Netherlands. In the 16th century, prior to the independence of Holland, â€œDutchâ€ was the common English term for all things German, not restricted to something or someone exclusively from the Low Countries.
Dutch is derived from â€œOld Dutch,â€ a form of West Germanic speech evolved from â€œOld Franconian,â€ the language presumed to have been used by the Franks in the late Roman period and early Middle Ages. Old Dutch was spoken throughout the low countries until about 1200. A distinct form of Dutch, Middle Dutch, was spoken from about 1200 to about 1550. It had five distinct regional dialects, with distinguishing influences from the various neighbors to the areas:
Limburgish had many influences of Middle High German, as it bordered on German-speaking areas. Likewise, he Low Saxon areas were much affected by Middle Low German. In fact, as one travels from the sea inland, informal or familiar Dutch gradually seems to morph into an informal or familiar German by the time it crosses the border. This linguistic spectrum is not necessarily due to any recent migrations, but rather to the natural evolution of language over centuries. If anything, modern travel and communication has tended to erase the subtle nuances of narrowly localized dialects.
As happened throughout Northern Europe, the Netherlands underwent a process of language standardization as culture emerged from the dark ages. At one time a personâ€™s accent could identify him or her to a specific village or tiny geographical area. Eventually a standard form of Dutch emerged as Middle Dutch gave way to modern language. The earliest influences were surely political. Everyone aspired to imitate the language of the nobility, as best they could. The ruler of Dijon (in Belgium) established a Burgundian dialect in the late middle ages, which gave way to the speech patterns of Flanders and Brabant as trade emerged and became important. Then Antwerp arose in prominence in the 1500â€™s, and with it, the importance of its dialect.
The Protestant Reformation played a role, in that the northern provinces of the low countries were no longer Roman Catholic, even as the lands technically were still part of the Hapsburg Empire, overseen by Charles V and his heir, Phillip II of Spain. William of Orange revolted in 1568 against the absentee monarch, starting a conflict called the â€œEighty Yearsâ€™ War.â€ Then, in 1579 the northern provinces, mainly protestant, signed the Union of Utrecht. This led to the formation of a federation of seven Dutch provinces two years later, regarded as the beginning of the modern Dutch state. Four years after that, in 1585, Spain invaded Belgium. Many of its inhabitants fled to Holland, spreading their dialect there. This explains the expression, â€œDutch was born in Flanders, raised in Brabant and matured in Holland.â€
As in Germany, Scandinavia and the British Isles, the standardization of the modern language occurred by the combination of the invention of movable type and the translation of the Bible. The Dutch Bible of the United Provinces was published in 1618, relying mainly on the grammar and syntax of the urban areas of Holland. (This compares with the almost contemporaneous King James Version of the English Bible, which bears the date of 1611).
Like English, Dutch uses the Latin alphabet. Like German and English, and unlike Swedish, the letters that carry diacritical marks (like Ã¼) are not considered separate letters, but are just variations of the single letter â€œuâ€ (or whatever). There are 26 letters in all, the same ones as in English, with 5 of them being unambiguous vowels (a-e-i-o-u) and one (y) being either a consonant or a vowel according to context. â€œEâ€ appears most often in Dutch (as it does in English) and â€œQ,â€ â€œXâ€ and â€œYâ€ are the least frequent letters.
The following table provides the letter names and their pronunciation according to the International Phonetic Alphabet [link]. The pronunciation is according
to the accent in the Netherlands, not as it may have developed in Dutch lands in the Americas or Asia. Sometimes the diaphone â€œijâ€ is inserted before or with the â€œyâ€ in more traditional transcriptions of the Dutch alphabet, indicating the use of the â€œyâ€ as a vowel.
|A||/a/||/a/ or /ɑ/|
|B||/be:/||/b/ or /p/|
|C||/se:/||k/ or /s/|
|D||/de:/||/d/ or /t/|
|E||/e:/||/e/, /ɛ/ or /ə/|
|I||/i/||/i/, /ɪ/, /ə/ or /j/|
|O||/o:/||/o/ or /ɔ/|
|U||/y/||/y/, /ʏ/ or /ʋ/|
|V||/ve:/||/ʋ/ or /w/|
|W||/ʋe:/||/ʋ/ or /w/|
|Y||/ɛ ɪ/||/ɪ/, /i/ or /j/|
The vowels are A - E - I - O - U as well as â€œIJ,â€ if it is considered a separate letter. The â€œYâ€ is often a vowel. Double vowels (like â€œaa,â€ â€œoo,â€ etc.) are pronounced as a single, long vowel sound (like â€œfeetâ€ or â€œtoolâ€ in English). Vowel combinations (like â€œau,â€ â€œeeu,â€ â€œooi,â€ etc.) are considered diphthongs, and pronounced as one quickly glides into the other.
Sometimes two vowels wind up as neighbors in a word, but require separate vocalization, that is, not as single, long vowels or diphthongs. In that case a â€œtremaâ€ is put on the first vowel of the next syllable. (A â€œtremaâ€ is also called a dieresis or an â€œumlaut,â€ following the term in German.) The trema is not used with neighboring vowels if they can not form a diphthong, or if they are separated by a hyphen (even a hyphen at the end of a line). For example â€œbeamenâ€ has no trema because the â€œeaâ€ combination can not be a diphthong. If thereâ€™s no risk of confusion,
thereâ€™s no need for the mark. For that same reason, the â€œijâ€ combination and the â€œyâ€ do not ever call for a trema.
Artikel 1: Allen die zich in Nederland bevinden, worden in gelijke gevallen gelijk behandeld. Discriminatie wegens godsdienst, levensovertuiging, politieke gezindheid, ras, geslacht of op welke grond dan ook, is niet toegestaan.
Translation: Article 1: All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination against religion, belief, political
opinion, race, sex or for any other reasons shall not be permitted.
|Hi||Hi / Dag|
|See you soon||Gauw tot ziens|
|That depends||Dat hangt er van af|
|I don't know||Ik weet het niet|
|I don't think so||Ik denk het niet|
|I suppose so||Ik denk het|
|I think so||Dat denk ik|
|It doesn't matter||Het doet er niet toe|
|I don't mind||Het kan me niet schelen|
|Of course||Natuurlijk / Zeker|
|With pleasure||Met plezier|
|Is/are there?||Is/Zijn er?|
|Happy Birthday!||Fijne Verjaardag|
|Happy Cristmas!||Prettige kerstdagen!|
|Happy New year!||Gelukkig NieuwJaar!|
|Happy Easter!||Zalige paasdagen!|
|Good luck!||Veel geluk|
|Enjoy the meal!||Smakelijk eten|
|Have a safe journey!||Goede reis!|
|Have a good holiday!||Prettige vakantie!|
|Take Care!||Doe voorzichtig!|
|Have a nice day!||Een goede dag verder!|
|Thank you (very much)||Dank je/u (zeer)|
|Excuse me||Neem me niet kwalijk|
|I'm sorry, but...||Het spijt me, maar...|
|That's a shame||Dat is jammer|
|May I... ?||Mag ik... ?|