10 facts about the Dutch language
Origin of the language
Dutch originated in the Netherlands.
History of the language
The earliest documents in Dutch are from the 12th century.
Learning the language
An English speaker needs about 600 hours to learn Dutch.
Dutch language diversity
Dutch is the official language in the Netherlands. It is also spoken in the northern half of Belgium and in the South American country of Suriname. There are mainly two Dutch dialects .
These are very similar and are spoken in the same language areas where standard Dutch is spoken. One very prominent variant is Flemish.
However, in other areas, the Dutch dialects are not spoken with the same frequency and percentage as they are spoken in the Netherlands. The Dutch language is closely related to German and English and, more or less, falls in between the two.
The Dutch vocabulary used is mostly Germanic, incorporating more Romance loanwords than German and significantly less than English. Moreover, the West Flemish group of dialects seem so different that it can easily be considered a new variant.
There is a vast difference between both dialects when spoken. There is a sense of a greater English influence with Dutch spoken in the Netherlands.
The Dutch may borrow words such as maréchaussée (military police) from French or überhaupt (after all) from German. The Flemish, however, avoid loanwords.
There is a difference in syntax in both languages. In Flemish, you might say, fauna en flora while in Dutch one says flora en fauna.
Numerous words are used in both dialects which are not interchangeable at all.
Other notable differences include the use of informal language in both dialects. Most Dutch speakers now use the informal je (you) when talking to strangers.
In Flemish schoon is used to indicate beauty while, in the Netherlands, it is used to express that something is clean.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Author and Diarist
Seen from the moon we are all the same size.
Eduard Douwes Dekker, pen name Multatuli
Novelist and Author
If you write it down, it is immediately on paper.
Fun facts about Dutch language
The first evidence of Dutch text
Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic anda thu, wat unbidan we nu?, is the first evidence of a written Dutch text ever found. It comes from a medieval love song and means “All the birds are already nesting, except for me and you. What are we waiting for?”
Dutch spelling guide
In 1804, the first official Dutch spelling guide was written.
Other language influence
The Dutch language was influenced by the French language for a long period of time.
Numerous accents and dialects
There are numerous types of Dutch accents and dialects, ranging between 200 to 600.
Most common surnames
De Jong and Jansen were the most common Dutch surnames.
Most popular Dutch names in 2018
Emma and Noah were the most popular Dutch names in 2018.
Longest Dutch isograms
Filmproducent (film producer) and whiskyproducent (whiskey manufacturer) are the longest Dutch isograms.
The easiest language to learn
Dutch is the easiest language for English speakers to learn.
Numerous tongue twisters
The Dutch language has a lot of consonant clusters, at times containing several in a row, which can create a fair number of tongue twisters.