An Overview of the Dutch Language
Dutch is a West-Germanic language from the Indo-European language family. The official language in Aruba, Belgium, Curaçao, Netherlands, Sint Maarten, Suriname, Benelux, European Union, Union of South American Nations, and the Caribbean Community. It has approximately 23 million mother tongue speakers. Around 5 million people speak Dutch as their second foreign language.
The History of Dutch
- Origins: Dutch is grouped within the Germanic languages and shares a common ancestor with languages such as English, German, and the Scandinavian languages.
- Frankish (3rd century – ) :The early form of Dutch was a set of Franconian dialects spoken in the 5th century.
- Old Dutch (6th-12th century) : Old Dutch was developed from Frankish. It is regarded as the prime ancestor of a separate Dutch language.
- Middle Dutch (12th-15th century) : Middle Dutch began in the late 11th century with the proliferation of a Medieval Dutch literature.
- Modern Dutch (15th century – ) : Modern Dutch began in the late 15th century when the first attempts for a Standard language were made. Despite the worldwide influence of the Dutch Empire, modern Dutch spread only moderately around the world from the 17th to mid-20th centuries.
Interesting Dutch Language Facts:
75% of the Dutch language are borrowed words from French, English and Hebrew. Examples of French loanwords are: paraplu (umbrella). bureau (desk or office), jus d’orange (orange juice), pantalon (trousers) and retour (return ticket). Some of the Hebrew loanwords are: bajes (jail), mazzel (lucky), geinig ( funny) and tof (cool).
Some Dutch words have many consonants, like “slechtstschrijvend” which means worst writing, has 9 consecutive consonants.
The Dutch language has a word which cannot be translated. “Gezellig” is an adjective which describes something as familiar, warm, friendly, cosy and jovial, but it doesn’t have a literal translation in English or in any other languages.
Dutch is written using the Latin script and uses one additional character which is the digraph IJ.
Knowing how to speak Dutch can take you to many places since this language is spoken in many places and it will be easy if you already know how to speak German and English. Learning another language opens you up to appreciate another culture and understanding more of your own, thus the benefits of speaking the Dutch language are very rewarding.
Learning Dutch with Overpass Apps
Overpass has come up with another language learning app which showcases a fun and engaging way of learning the Dutch language.