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:
- The longest Dutch word cited by 1996 Guinness Book of World Records is “Kindercarnavalsoptochtvoorbereidingswerkzaamhedenplan”. It has 53 letters and means “preparation activities plan for a children’s carnival procession.
- 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.
Languages from the Far East are becoming more and more popular among students across the globe. After many initiatives around the turn of the Millennium, Vietnam is now considered as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, which is attracting global business and improving awareness and interest in the Vietnamese people and their language. Learning Vietnamese is undeniably challenging, but with a Roman alphabet, the written language is perhaps more familiar to learners that some other Eastern languages.
Learning Dutch with Overpass Apps
We create apps that are enjoyable and help you to learn new languages. At Overpass, we have direct experience of learning new languages (Vietnamese and Chinese Mandarin in particular) and we understand how rewarding it is to expand your horizons in this way. However, we also know how challenging it can be!
Traditional learning techniques are essential to improve your knowledge, and regular practice and immersion in culture is the key to becoming fluent. However, you sometimes need another stimulating resource to help you learn, and our iPhone and Android games provide you with a fun and enjoyable way to improve your language skills.
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