Dutch language

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For other uses, see Dutch (disambiguation). Dutch language_sentence_0

Dutch language_table_infobox_0

DutchDutch language_header_cell_0_0_0
PronunciationDutch language_header_cell_0_1_0 [ˈneːdərlɑnts (listen)Dutch language_cell_0_1_1
Native toDutch language_header_cell_0_2_0 Netherlands and FlandersDutch language_cell_0_2_1
RegionDutch language_header_cell_0_3_0 Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname;

Additionally in Aruba, Curaçao, Indonesia, Sint Maarten and French FlandersDutch language_cell_0_3_1

EthnicityDutch language_header_cell_0_4_0 Dutch language_cell_0_4_1
Native speakersDutch language_header_cell_0_5_0 24 million (2016)

Total (L1 plus L2 speakers): 29 million (2018)Dutch language_cell_0_5_1

Language familyDutch language_header_cell_0_6_0 Indo-EuropeanDutch language_cell_0_6_1
Early formsDutch language_header_cell_0_7_0 Old DutchDutch language_cell_0_7_1
Writing systemDutch language_header_cell_0_8_0 Dutch language_cell_0_8_1
Signed formsDutch language_header_cell_0_9_0 Signed Dutch (NmG)Dutch language_cell_0_9_1
Official statusDutch language_header_cell_0_10_0
Official language inDutch language_header_cell_0_11_0 Belgium

 Netherlands  Suriname

Dependent entities

OrganisationsDutch language_cell_0_11_1

Regulated byDutch language_header_cell_0_12_0 Nederlandse Taalunie

(Dutch Language Union)Dutch language_cell_0_12_1

Language codesDutch language_header_cell_0_13_0
ISO 639-1Dutch language_header_cell_0_14_0 Dutch language_cell_0_14_1
ISO 639-2Dutch language_header_cell_0_15_0 (B)

 (T)Dutch language_cell_0_15_1

ISO 639-3Dutch language_header_cell_0_16_0 Dutch/FlemishDutch language_cell_0_16_1
GlottologDutch language_header_cell_0_17_0 Dutch language_cell_0_17_1
LinguasphereDutch language_header_cell_0_18_0 52-ACB-aDutch language_cell_0_18_1

Dutch (Nederlands (help·)) is a West Germanic language spoken by about 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands (where it is the sole official language countrywide) and Belgium (as one of three official languages). Dutch language_sentence_1

It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German. Dutch language_sentence_2

Outside the Low Countries, it is the native language of the majority of the population of Suriname where it also holds an official status, as it does in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located in the Caribbean. Dutch language_sentence_3

Historical linguistic minorities on the verge of extinction remain in parts of France and Germany, and in Indonesia, while up to half a million native speakers may reside in the United States, Canada and Australia combined. Dutch language_sentence_4

The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have evolved into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language which is spoken to some degree by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia. Dutch language_sentence_5

Dutch is one of the closest relatives of both German and English and is colloquially said to be "roughly in between" them. Dutch language_sentence_6

Dutch, like English, has not undergone the High German consonant shift, does not use Germanic umlaut as a grammatical marker, has largely abandoned the use of the subjunctive, and has levelled much of its morphology, including most of its case system. Dutch language_sentence_7

Features shared with German include the survival of two to three grammatical genders—albeit with few grammatical consequences—as well as the use of modal particles, final-obstruent devoicing, and a similar word order. Dutch language_sentence_8

Dutch vocabulary is mostly Germanic and incorporates slightly more Romance loans than German but far fewer than English. Dutch language_sentence_9

As with German, the vocabulary of Dutch also has strong similarities with the continental Scandinavian languages, but is not mutually intelligible in text or speech with any of them. Dutch language_sentence_10

Name Dutch language_section_0

Main article: Terminology of the Low Countries Dutch language_sentence_11

In both Belgium and the Netherlands, the native official name for Dutch is Nederlands. Dutch language_sentence_12

Sometimes Vlaams ("Flemish") is used as well to describe Standard Dutch in Flanders. Dutch language_sentence_13

Over time, the Dutch language has been known under a variety of names. Dutch language_sentence_14

In Middle Dutch Dietsc, Duutsc, or Duitsc was used. Dutch language_sentence_15

It derived from the Old Germanic word theudisk, which literally means "popular" or "belonging to the populace". Dutch language_sentence_16

In Western Europe this term was used for the language of the local Germanic populace as opposed to Latin, the non-native language of writing and the Catholic Church. Dutch language_sentence_17

In the first text in which it is found, dating from 784, theodisce refers to Anglo-Saxon, the West Germanic dialects of Britain. Dutch language_sentence_18

Although in Britain the name Englisc replaced theodisce early on, speakers of West Germanic in other parts of Europe continued to use theodisce to refer to their local speech. Dutch language_sentence_19

With the rise of local powers in the Low Countries during the Middle Ages, language names derived from these local polities came in use as well i.e.Vlaemsch, Hollandsch, and Brabantsch. Dutch language_sentence_20

The more powerful the local polity, the wider the use of its name for the language became. Dutch language_sentence_21

These names survive in the corresponding dialect groups spoken today. Dutch language_sentence_22

Owing to commercial and colonial rivalry in the 16th and 17th centuries between England and the Low Countries, a cognate of theodisk (most likely Middle Dutch Duutsc) was borrowed into English and developed into the exonym Dutch, which came to refer exclusively to the people of the Netherlands. Dutch language_sentence_23

(A usage of the English term Dutch that includes German survives in the United States in the name Pennsylvania Dutch for a local German dialect and its speakers, commonly believed to be a corruption of their endonym Deitsch.) Dutch language_sentence_24

In the Low Countries on the contrary, Dietsch or Duytsch as endonym for Dutch went out of common use and was gradually replaced by the Dutch endonym Nederlands. Dutch language_sentence_25

This designation started at the Burgundian court in the 15th century, although the use of neder, laag, bas, and inferior ("nether" or "low") to refer to the area known as the Low Countries goes back further in time. Dutch language_sentence_26

The Romans referred to the region as Germania Inferior ("Lower" Germania). Dutch language_sentence_27

It is a reference to the Low Countries' downriver location at the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta near the North Sea. Dutch language_sentence_28

From 1551, the designation Nederlands received strong competition from the name Nederduits ("Low Dutch;" Dutch is used here in its archaic sense that covers all continental West Germanic languages). Dutch language_sentence_29

It is a calque of the aforementioned Roman province Germania Inferior and an attempt by early Dutch grammarians to give their language more prestige by linking it to Roman times. Dutch language_sentence_30

Likewise, Hoogduits ("High German") came into use as a Dutch exonym for the German language, spoken in neighboring German states. Dutch language_sentence_31

However, 19th century Germany saw the rise of the categorisation of dialects, and German dialectologists termed the German dialects spoken in the mountainous south of Germany as Hochdeutsch ("High German"). Dutch language_sentence_32

Subsequently, German dialects spoken in the north were designated as Niederdeutsch ("Low German"). Dutch language_sentence_33

The names for these dialects were calqued in the Dutch language area as the exonyms Nederduits and Hoogduits. Dutch language_sentence_34

As a result, Nederduits no longer served as a synonym for the Dutch language, and Nederlands prevailed as sole Dutch endonym. Dutch language_sentence_35

It also meant that Hoog ("High") had to be dropped in one of the two meanings of Hoogduits, leading to the narrowing down of Duits as Dutch exonym for the German language, and Hoogduits as reference for southern German dialects. Dutch language_sentence_36

History Dutch language_section_1

Old Dutch branched off more or less around the same time that Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Old High German, Old Frisian, and Old Saxon did. Dutch language_sentence_37

The early form of Dutch was a set of Franconian dialects spoken by the Salian Franks in the fifth century, and thus, it has developed through Middle Dutch to Modern Dutch over the course of 15 centuries. Dutch language_sentence_38

During that period, it forced Old Frisian back from the western coast to the north of the Low Countries, and influenced or even replaced Old Saxon spoken in the east (contiguous with the Low German area). Dutch language_sentence_39

On the other hand, Dutch has been replaced in adjacent lands in present-day France and Germany. Dutch language_sentence_40

The division into Old, Middle and Modern Dutch is mostly conventional, since the transition between them was very gradual. Dutch language_sentence_41

One of the few moments when linguists can detect something of a revolution is when the Dutch standard language emerged and quickly established itself. Dutch language_sentence_42

The development of the Dutch language is illustrated by the following sentence in Old, Middle and Modern Dutch: Dutch language_sentence_43

Dutch language_unordered_list_0

  • Irlôsin sol an frithe sêla mîna fan thên thia ginâcont mi, wanda under managon he was mit mi (Old Dutch)Dutch language_item_0_0
  • Erlossen sal [hi] in vrede siele mine van dien die genaken mi, want onder menegen hi was met mi (Middle Dutch)Dutch language_item_0_1
  • Verlossen zal hij in vrede ziel mijn van degenen die genaken mij, want onder menigen hij was met mij (Modern Dutch, same word order)Dutch language_item_0_2
  • Hij zal mijn ziel in vrede verlossen van degenen die mij genaken, want onder menigen was hij met mij (Modern Dutch, default word order)Dutch language_item_0_3
  • He will deliver my soul in peace from those who approach me, because, amongst many, he was with me (English)Dutch language_item_0_4

Origins Dutch language_section_2

Main article: History of the Dutch language Dutch language_sentence_44

Among the Indo-European languages, Dutch is grouped within the Germanic languages, meaning it shares a common ancestor with languages such as English, German, and the Scandinavian languages. Dutch language_sentence_45

All Germanic languages are subject to the Grimm's law and Verner's law sound shifts, which originated in the Proto-Germanic language and define the basic features differentiating them from other Indo-European languages. Dutch language_sentence_46

This is assumed to have taken place in approximately the mid-first millennium BCE in the pre-Roman Northern European Iron Age. Dutch language_sentence_47

The Germanic languages are traditionally divided into three groups: East (now extinct), West, and North Germanic. Dutch language_sentence_48

They remained mutually intelligible throughout the Migration Period. Dutch language_sentence_49

Dutch is part of the West Germanic group, which also includes English, Scots, Frisian, Low German (Old Saxon) and High German. Dutch language_sentence_50

It is characterized by a number of phonological and morphological innovations not found in North or East Germanic. Dutch language_sentence_51

The West Germanic varieties of the time are generally split into three dialect groups: Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic), Istvaeonic (Weser-Rhine Germanic) and Irminonic (Elbe Germanic). Dutch language_sentence_52

It appears that the Frankish tribes fit primarily into the Istvaeonic dialect group with certain Ingvaeonic influences towards the northwest, which are still seen in modern Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_53

Frankish (3rd–5th century) Dutch language_section_3

Main article: Frankish language Dutch language_sentence_54

The Frankish language itself is poorly attested. Dutch language_sentence_55

A notable exception is the Bergakker inscription, found near the Dutch city of Tiel, which may represent a primary record of 5th-century Frankish. Dutch language_sentence_56

Although some place names recorded in Roman texts such as vadam (modern Dutch: wad, English: "mudflat"), could arguably be considered as the oldest single "Dutch" words, the Bergakker inscription yields the oldest evidence of Dutch morphology. Dutch language_sentence_57

However, there is no consensus on the interpretation of the rest of the text. Dutch language_sentence_58

The Franks emerged in the southern Netherlands (Salian Franks) and central Germany (Ripuarian Franks), and later descended into Gaul. Dutch language_sentence_59

The name of their kingdom survives in that of France. Dutch language_sentence_60

Although they ruled the Gallo-Romans for nearly 300 years, their language, Frankish, became extinct in most of France and was replaced by later forms of the language throughout Luxembourg and Germany in around the 7th century. Dutch language_sentence_61

It was replaced in France by Old French (a Romance language with a considerable Old Frankish influence). Dutch language_sentence_62

However, the Old Franconian language did not die out at large, as it continued to be spoken in the Low Countries, and subsequently evolved into what is now called Old Low Franconian or Old Dutch in the Low Countries. Dutch language_sentence_63

In fact, Old Frankish could be reconstructed from Old Dutch and Frankish loanwords in Old French. Dutch language_sentence_64

Old Dutch (5th–12th century) Dutch language_section_4

Main article: Old Dutch Dutch language_sentence_65

Old Low Franconian or Old Dutch is regarded as the prime ancestor of a separate Dutch language. Dutch language_sentence_66

The "Low" in Old Low Franconian refers to the Low Countries, where Frankish was only minimally influenced by the High German consonant shift and the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law. Dutch language_sentence_67

The High German consonant shift, moving over Western Europe from south to west, caused a differentiation with the Central and High Franconian in Germany. Dutch language_sentence_68

The latter would as a consequence evolve (along with Alemannic, Bavarian and Lombardic) into Old High German. Dutch language_sentence_69

At more or less the same time the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, moving over Western Europe from west to east, led to the development of Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), Old Frisian and Old Saxon. Dutch language_sentence_70

Hardly influenced by either development, Old Dutch remained close to the original language of the Franks, the people that would rule Europe for centuries. Dutch language_sentence_71

The language did however experience developments of its own, such as very early final-obstruent devoicing. Dutch language_sentence_72

In fact, the find at Bergakker indicates that the language may already have experienced this shift during the Old Frankish period. Dutch language_sentence_73

Attestations of Old Dutch sentences are extremely rare. Dutch language_sentence_74

The language is mostly recorded on fragmentary relics, and words have been reconstructed from Middle Dutch and loan words from Old Dutch in other languages. Dutch language_sentence_75

The oldest recorded is found in the Salic law. Dutch language_sentence_76

In this Frankish document written around 510 the oldest Dutch sentence has been identified: Maltho thi afrio lito ("I say to you, I free you, serf") used to free a serf. Dutch language_sentence_77

Another old fragment of Dutch is Visc flot aftar themo uuatare ("A fish was swimming in the water"). Dutch language_sentence_78

The oldest conserved larger Dutch text is the Utrecht baptismal vow (776–800) starting with Forsachistu diobolae ... ec forsacho diabolae (litt. Dutch language_sentence_79

"Forsake you the devil? Dutch language_sentence_80

... Dutch language_sentence_81

I forsake the devil"). Dutch language_sentence_82

If only for its poetic content, the most famous Old Dutch sentence is probably Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan, hinase hic enda tu, wat unbidan we nu ("All birds have started making nests, except me and you, what are we waiting for"), is dated to around the year 1100, written by a Flemish monk in a convent in Rochester, England. Dutch language_sentence_83

Since the sentence speaks to the imagination, it is often erroneously stated as the oldest Dutch sentence. Dutch language_sentence_84

Middle Dutch (12th–15th century) Dutch language_section_5

Main article: Middle Dutch Dutch language_sentence_85

Old Dutch naturally evolved into Middle Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_86

The year 1150 is often cited as the time of the discontinuity, but it actually marks a time of profuse Dutch writing and during this period a rich Medieval Dutch literature developed. Dutch language_sentence_87

There was at that time no overarching standard language; Middle Dutch is rather a collective name for a number of closely related mutually intelligible dialects whose ancestor was Old Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_88

Where Old Dutch fragments are very hard to read for untrained Modern Dutch speakers, the various literary works of Middle Dutch are somewhat more accessible. Dutch language_sentence_89

The most notable difference between Old and Middle Dutch is in a feature of speech known as vowel reduction. Dutch language_sentence_90

Round vowels in word-final syllables are rather frequent in Old Dutch; in Middle Dutch, such vowels are leveled to a schwa. Dutch language_sentence_91

The Middle Dutch dialect areas were affected by political boundaries. Dutch language_sentence_92

The sphere of political influence of a certain ruler often also created a sphere of linguistic influence, with the language within the area becoming more homogenous. Dutch language_sentence_93

Following the contemporary political divisions they are in order of importance: Dutch language_sentence_94

Dutch language_unordered_list_1

  • West Flemish with the County of Flanders at its centre. It had been influential during the earlier Middle Ages (the "Flemish expansion") but lost prestige to the neighbouring Brabantian in the 13th century.Dutch language_item_1_5
  • Brabantian (and related East Flemish), spoken primarily in the Duchy of Brabant and adjacent parts. It was an influential dialect during most of the Middle Ages, during the so-called "Brabantian expansion" in which the influence of Brabant was extended outwards into other areas.Dutch language_item_1_6
  • Hollandic, which had the County of Holland as its heartland, where originally Old Frisian was spoken. The people mixed with Frankish settlers from Flanders and Brabant and a new Frankish dialect with a Frisian substrate developed. It was less influential during most of the Middle Ages but became more so in the 16th century during the "Hollandic expansion"; the Eighty Years' War took place in the Southern Netherlands during this period.Dutch language_item_1_7
  • Limburgish, spoken by the people in the modern-day provinces of Dutch and Belgian Limburg, and adjacent lands in Germany. It was over time tied to different political areas and is therefore the most divergent of the dialects. It was even partly influenced by the High German consonant shift and is the most distant to the later developed standard language to which it contributed little. It was however the earliest Middle Dutch dialect that developed a literary tradition.Dutch language_item_1_8
  • Since it has Old Saxon and not Low Franconian (Old Dutch) as its ancestor, Dutch Low Saxon is not strictly a Dutch dialect. However, it was influenced by Middle Dutch since the 14th century and it did play a part in the formation of the standard Dutch language in later periods. It was spoken in the Oversticht territories of the episcopal principality of Utrecht and adjacent parts of Guelders.Dutch language_item_1_9

Modern Dutch (15th century–present) Dutch language_section_6

A process of standardisation started in the Middle Ages, especially under the influence of the Burgundian Ducal Court in Dijon (Brussels after 1477). Dutch language_sentence_95

The dialects of Flanders and Brabant were the most influential around this time. Dutch language_sentence_96

The process of standardisation became much stronger at the start of the 16th century, mainly based on the urban dialect of Antwerp. Dutch language_sentence_97

The 1585 fall of Antwerp to the Spanish army led to a flight to the northern Netherlands, where the Dutch Republic declared its independence from Spain. Dutch language_sentence_98

This influenced the urban dialects of the province of County of Holland. Dutch language_sentence_99

In 1637, a further important step was made towards a unified language, when the Statenvertaling, the first major Bible translation into Dutch, was created that people from all over the new republic could understand. Dutch language_sentence_100

It used elements from various, even Dutch Low Saxon, dialects but was predominantly based on the urban dialects of Holland of post 16th century. Dutch language_sentence_101

In the Southern Netherlands (now Belgium and Luxembourg), developments were different. Dutch language_sentence_102

Under subsequent Spanish, Austrian and French rule, the standardisation of Dutch language came to a standstill. Dutch language_sentence_103

The state, law, and increasingly education used French, yet more than half the Belgian population were speaking a variety of Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_104

In the course of the nineteenth century the Flemish Movement stood up for the rights of Dutch speakers, mostly referred to as "Flemish". Dutch language_sentence_105

However, the dialect variation was a serious disadvantage in the face of the standardised francophony. Dutch language_sentence_106

Since standardisation is a lengthy process, Dutch-speaking Belgium associated itself with the standard language that had already developed in the Netherlands over the centuries. Dutch language_sentence_107

Therefore, the situation in Belgium is essentially no different from that in the Netherlands, although there are recognisable differences in pronunciation, comparable to the pronunciation differences between standard British and standard American English. Dutch language_sentence_108

In 1980 the Netherlands and Belgium concluded the Language Union Treaty. Dutch language_sentence_109

This treaty lays down the principle that the two countries must gear their language policy to each other, among other things, for a common system of spelling. Dutch language_sentence_110

Classification Dutch language_section_7

Dutch language_unordered_list_2

Dutch belongs to its own West Germanic sub-group, the Low Franconian languages, paired with its sister language Limburgish or East Low Franconian. Dutch language_sentence_111

Its closest relative is the mutually intelligible daughter language Afrikaans. Dutch language_sentence_112

Other West Germanic languages related to Dutch are German, English and the Frisian languages and the un-standardised languages Low German and Yiddish. Dutch language_sentence_113

Dutch stands out in combining some Ingvaeonic characteristics (occurring consistently in English and Frisian and reduced in intensity from west to east over the continental West Germanic plane) with dominant Istvaeonic characteristics, some of which are also incorporated in German. Dutch language_sentence_114

Unlike German, Dutch (apart from Limburgish) has not been influenced at all by the south to north movement of the High German consonant shift and had some changes of its own. Dutch language_sentence_115

The cumulation of these changes resulted over time in separate, but related standard languages with various degrees of similarities and differences between them. Dutch language_sentence_116

For a comparison between the West Germanic languages, see the sections Morphology, Grammar and Vocabulary. Dutch language_sentence_117

Dialects Dutch language_section_8

Main article: Dutch dialects Dutch language_sentence_118

Dutch dialects are primarily the dialects that are both related with the Dutch language and are spoken in the same language area as the Dutch standard language. Dutch language_sentence_119

Although heavily under the influence of the standard language, some of them remain remarkably diverse and are found in the Netherlands and in the Brussels and Flemish regions of Belgium. Dutch language_sentence_120

The areas in which they are spoken often correspond with former mediaeval counties and duchies. Dutch language_sentence_121

The Netherlands (but not Belgium) distinguishes between a dialect and a streektaal ("regional language"). Dutch language_sentence_122

Those words are actually more political than linguistic because a regional language unites a large group of very different varieties. Dutch language_sentence_123

Such is the case with the Gronings dialect, which is considered a variety of the Dutch Low Saxon regional language, but it is relatively distinct from other Dutch Low Saxon varieties. Dutch language_sentence_124

Also, some Dutch dialects are more remote from the Dutch standard language than some varieties of a regional language are. Dutch language_sentence_125

Within the Netherlands, a further distinction is made between a regional language and a separate language, which is the case with the (standardised) West Frisian language. Dutch language_sentence_126

It is spoken alongside Dutch in the province of Friesland. Dutch language_sentence_127

Dutch dialects and regional languages are not spoken as often as they used to be, especially in the Netherlands. Dutch language_sentence_128

Recent research by Geert Driessen shows that the use of dialects and regional languages among both Dutch adults and youth is in heavy decline. Dutch language_sentence_129

In 1995, 27 percent of the Dutch adult population spoke a dialect or regional language on a regular basis, but in 2011, that was no more than 11 percent. Dutch language_sentence_130

In 1995, 12 percent of children of primary school age spoke a dialect or regional language, but in 2011, that had declined to 4 percent. Dutch language_sentence_131

Of the officially recognized regional languages Limburgish is spoken the most (in 2011 among adults 54%, among children 31%) and Dutch Low Saxon the least (adults 15%, children 1%). Dutch language_sentence_132

The decline of the West Frisian language in Friesland occupies a middle position (adults 44%, children 22%). Dutch language_sentence_133

Dialects are most often spoken in rural areas, but many cities have a distinct city dialect. Dutch language_sentence_134

For example, the city of Ghent has very distinct "g", "e" and "r" sounds that greatly differ from its surrounding villages. Dutch language_sentence_135

The Brussels dialect combines Brabantian with words adopted from Walloon and French. Dutch language_sentence_136

Some dialects had, until recently, extensions across the borders of other standard language areas. Dutch language_sentence_137

In most cases, the heavy influence of the standard language has broken the dialect continuum. Dutch language_sentence_138

Examples are the Gronings dialect spoken in Groningen as well as the closely related varieties in adjacent East Frisia (Germany). Dutch language_sentence_139

South Guelderish (Zuid-Gelders) is a dialect spoken in southern Gelderland, the northern tip of Limburg, and northeast of North Brabant (Netherlands), but also in adjacent parts of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). Dutch language_sentence_140

Limburgish (Limburgs) is spoken in Limburg (Belgium) as well as in the remaining part of Limburg (Netherlands) and extends across the German border. Dutch language_sentence_141

West Flemish (Westvlaams) is spoken in West Flanders, the western part of Zeelandic Flanders and also in French Flanders, where it virtually became extinct to make way for French. Dutch language_sentence_142

Dialect groups Dutch language_section_9

The West Flemish group of dialects, spoken in West Flanders and Zeeland, is so distinct that it might be considered as a separate language variant, although the strong significance of language in Belgian politics would prevent the government from classifying them as such. Dutch language_sentence_143

An oddity of the dialect is that, the voiced velar fricative (written as "g" in Dutch) shifts to a voiced glottal fricative (written as "h" in Dutch), while the letter "h" becomes mute (just like in French). Dutch language_sentence_144

As a result, when West Flemings try to talk Standard Dutch, they're often unable to pronounce the g-sound, and pronounce it similar to the h-sound. Dutch language_sentence_145

This leaves, for example, no difference between "held" (hero) and "geld" (money). Dutch language_sentence_146

Or in some cases, they are aware of the problem, and hyper-correct the "h" into a voiced velar fricative or g-sound, again leaving no difference. Dutch language_sentence_147

The West Flemish variety historically spoken in adjacent parts in France is sometimes called French Flemish and is listed as a French minority language, however only a very small and aging minority of the French-Flemish population still speaks and understands West Flemish. Dutch language_sentence_148

Hollandic is spoken in Holland and Utrecht, though the original forms of this dialect (which were heavily influenced by a West Frisian substratum and, from the 16th century on, by Brabantian dialects) are now relatively rare. Dutch language_sentence_149

The urban dialects of the Randstad, which are Hollandic dialects, do not diverge from standard Dutch very much, but there is a clear difference between the city dialects of Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht. Dutch language_sentence_150

In some rural Hollandic areas more authentic Hollandic dialects are still being used, especially north of Amsterdam. Dutch language_sentence_151

Another group of dialects based on Hollandic is that spoken in the cities and larger towns of Friesland, where it partially displaced West Frisian in the 16th century and is known as Stadsfries ("Urban Frisian"). Dutch language_sentence_152

Brabantian is named after the historical Duchy of Brabant, which corresponded mainly to the provinces of North Brabant and southern Gelderland, the Belgian provinces of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant, as well as Brussels (where its native speakers have become a minority) and the province of Walloon Brabant. Dutch language_sentence_153

Brabantian expands into small parts in the west of Limburg while its strong influence on the East Flemish of East Flanders and eastern Zeelandic Flanders weakens towards the west. Dutch language_sentence_154

In a small area in the northwest of North Brabant (Willemstad), Hollandic is spoken. Dutch language_sentence_155

Conventionally, the South Guelderish dialects are distinguished from Brabantian, but there are no objective criteria apart from geography to do so. Dutch language_sentence_156

Over 5 million people live in an area with some form of Brabantian being the predominant colloquial language out of the area's 22 million Dutch-speakers. Dutch language_sentence_157

Limburgish, spoken in both Belgian Limburg and Netherlands Limburg and in adjacent parts in Germany, is considered a dialect in Belgium, while having obtained the official status of regional language in the Netherlands. Dutch language_sentence_158

Limburgish has been influenced by the Ripuarian varieties like the Colognian dialect, and has had a somewhat different development since the late Middle Ages. Dutch language_sentence_159

Regional languages Dutch language_section_10

Two dialect groups have been given the official status of regional language (or streektaal) in the Netherlands. Dutch language_sentence_160

Like several other dialect groups, both are part of a dialect continuum that continues across the national border. Dutch language_sentence_161

Dutch Low Saxon Dutch language_section_11

Main article: Dutch Low Saxon Dutch language_sentence_162

The Dutch Low Saxon dialect area comprises the provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel, as well as parts of the provinces of Gelderland, Flevoland, Friesland and Utrecht. Dutch language_sentence_163

This group, which is not Low Franconian but instead Low Saxon and close to neighbouring Low German, has been elevated by the Netherlands (and by Germany) to the legal status of streektaal (regional language) according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Dutch language_sentence_164

It is regarded as Dutch for a number of reasons. Dutch language_sentence_165

From the 14th to 15th century onward, its urban centers (Deventer, Zwolle, Kampen, Zutphen and Doesburg) have been increasingly influenced by the western written Dutch and became a linguistically mixed area. Dutch language_sentence_166

From the 17th century onward, it was gradually integrated into the Dutch language area. Dutch language_sentence_167

Dutch Low Saxon used to be at one end of the Low German dialect continuum. Dutch language_sentence_168

However, the national border has given way to dialect boundaries coinciding with a political border, because the traditional dialects are strongly influenced by the national standard varieties. Dutch language_sentence_169

Cross-the-border dialects now separated by a plain gap also include South Guelderish and Limburgish on the Dutch side of the border and Meuse-Rhenish on the German side of the border. Dutch language_sentence_170

Limburgish Dutch language_section_12

Main article: Limburgish Dutch language_sentence_171

While a somewhat heterogeneous group of Low Franconian dialects, Limburgish has received official status as a regional language in the Netherlands and Germany, but not in Belgium. Dutch language_sentence_172

Due to this official recognition, it receives protection by chapter 2 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Dutch language_sentence_173

Daughter and sister languages Dutch language_section_13

Afrikaans, although to a significant degree mutually intelligible with Dutch, is not a dialect but a separate standardised language. Dutch language_sentence_174

It is spoken in South Africa and Namibia. Dutch language_sentence_175

As a daughter language of Dutch, Afrikaans evolved mainly from 17th century Dutch dialects, but was influenced by various other languages in South Africa. Dutch language_sentence_176

West Frisian (Westerlauwers Fries), along with Saterland Frisian and North Frisian, evolved from the same branch of the West Germanic languages as Old English (i.e. Anglo-Frisian) and are therefore genetically more closely related to English and Scots than to Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_177

The different influences on the respective languages, however, particularly that of Norman French on English and Dutch on West Frisian, have rendered English quite distinct from West Frisian, and West Frisian less distinct from Dutch than from English. Dutch language_sentence_178

Although under heavy influence of the Dutch standard language, it is not mutually intelligible with Dutch and considered a sister language of Dutch, like English and German. Dutch language_sentence_179

Geographic distribution Dutch language_section_14

See also: Dutch diaspora and Geographical distribution of Dutch speakers Dutch language_sentence_180

Dutch language_table_general_1

Dutch First Language SpeakersDutch language_table_caption_1
CountryDutch language_header_cell_1_0_0 SpeakersDutch language_header_cell_1_0_1 YearDutch language_header_cell_1_0_2
NetherlandsDutch language_cell_1_1_0 16,074,000Dutch language_cell_1_1_1 2017Dutch language_cell_1_1_2
BelgiumDutch language_cell_1_2_0 6,291,500Dutch language_cell_1_2_1 2017Dutch language_cell_1_2_2
SurinameDutch language_cell_1_3_0 400,000Dutch language_cell_1_3_1 2017Dutch language_cell_1_3_2
CuraçaoDutch language_cell_1_4_0 12,000Dutch language_cell_1_4_1 2011Dutch language_cell_1_4_2
ArubaDutch language_cell_1_5_0 6,000Dutch language_cell_1_5_1 2010Dutch language_cell_1_5_2
Caribbean NetherlandsDutch language_cell_1_6_0 3,000Dutch language_cell_1_6_1 2018Dutch language_cell_1_6_2
Sint MaartenDutch language_cell_1_7_0 1,500Dutch language_cell_1_7_1 2011Dutch language_cell_1_7_2
Total worldwideDutch language_header_cell_1_8_0 22,788,000Dutch language_header_cell_1_8_1 N/ADutch language_header_cell_1_8_2

Dutch is an official language of the Netherlands proper, Belgium, Suriname, the Dutch Caribbean municipalities (St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire), Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Dutch language_sentence_181

Dutch is also an official language of several international organisations, such as the European Union, Union of South American Nations and the Caribbean Community. Dutch language_sentence_182

At an academic level, Dutch is taught in about 175 universities in 40 countries. Dutch language_sentence_183

About 15,000 students worldwide study Dutch at university. Dutch language_sentence_184

Europe Dutch language_section_15

In Europe, Dutch is the majority language in the Netherlands (96%) and Belgium (59%) as well as a minority language in Germany and northern France's French Flanders. Dutch language_sentence_185

Though Belgium as a whole is multilingual, the four language areas into which the country is divided (Flanders, francophone Wallonia, bilingual Brussels and the German-speaking Community) are largely monolingual. Dutch language_sentence_186

The Netherlands and Belgium produce the vast majority of music, films, books and other media written or spoken in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_187

Dutch is a monocentric language, at least what concerns its written form, with all speakers using the same standard form (authorized by the Dutch Language Union) based on a Dutch orthography defined in the so-called "Green Booklet" authoritative dictionary and employing the Latin alphabet when writing; however pronunciation varies between dialects. Dutch language_sentence_188

Indeed, in stark contrast to its written uniformity, Dutch lacks a unique prestige dialect and has a large dialectal continuum consisting of 28 main dialects, which can themselves be further divided into at least 600 distinguishable varieties. Dutch language_sentence_189

In the Netherlands, the Hollandic dialect dominates in national broadcast media while in Flanders Brabantian dialect dominates in that capacity, making them in turn unofficial prestige dialects in their respective countries. Dutch language_sentence_190

Outside the Netherlands and Belgium, the dialect around the German town of Kleve (South Guelderish) is historically and genetically a Low Franconian variety. Dutch language_sentence_191

In North-Western France, the area around Calais was historically Dutch-speaking (West Flemish), of which an estimated 20,000 are daily speakers. Dutch language_sentence_192

The cities of Dunkirk, Gravelines and Bourbourg only became predominantly French-speaking by the end of the 19th century. Dutch language_sentence_193

In the countryside, until World War I, many elementary schools continued to teach in Dutch, and the Catholic Church continued to preach and teach the catechism in Dutch in many parishes. Dutch language_sentence_194

During the second half of the 19th century, Dutch was banned from all levels of education by both Prussia and France and lost most of its functions as a cultural language. Dutch language_sentence_195

In both Germany and France, the Dutch standard language is largely absent, and speakers of these Dutch dialects will use German or French in everyday speech. Dutch language_sentence_196

Dutch is not afforded legal status in France or Germany, either by the central or regional public authorities, and knowledge of the language is declining among younger generations. Dutch language_sentence_197

As a foreign language, Dutch is mainly taught in primary and secondary schools in areas adjacent to the Netherlands and Flanders. Dutch language_sentence_198

In French-speaking Belgium, over 300,000 pupils are enrolled in Dutch courses, followed by over 23,000 in the German states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, and about 7,000 in the French region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais (of which 4,550 are in primary school). Dutch language_sentence_199

At an academic level, the largest number of faculties of neerlandistiek can be found in Germany (30 universities), followed by France (20 universities) and the United Kingdom (5 universities). Dutch language_sentence_200

Asia and Australasia Dutch language_section_16

Asia Dutch language_section_17

Despite the Dutch presence in Indonesia for almost 350 years, as the Asian bulk of the Dutch East Indies, the Dutch language has no official status there and the small minority that can speak the language fluently are either educated members of the oldest generation, or employed in the legal profession, as certain law codes are still only available in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_201

Dutch is taught in various educational centres in Indonesia, the most important of which is the Erasmus Language Centre (ETC) in Jakarta. Dutch language_sentence_202

Each year, some 1,500 to 2,000 students take Dutch courses there. Dutch language_sentence_203

In total, several thousand Indonesians study Dutch as a foreign language. Dutch language_sentence_204

Owing to centuries of Dutch rule in Indonesia, many old documents are written in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_205

Many universities therefore include Dutch as a source language, mainly for law and history students. Dutch language_sentence_206

In Indonesia this involves about 35,000 students. Dutch language_sentence_207

Unlike other European nations, the Dutch chose not to follow a policy of language expansion amongst the indigenous peoples of their colonies. Dutch language_sentence_208

In the last quarter of the 19th century, however, a local elite gained proficiency in Dutch so as to meet the needs of expanding bureaucracy and business. Dutch language_sentence_209

Nevertheless, the Dutch government remained reluctant to teach Dutch on a large scale for fear of destabilising the colony. Dutch language_sentence_210

Dutch, the language of power, was supposed to remain in the hands of the leading elite. Dutch language_sentence_211

After independence, Dutch was dropped as an official language and replaced by Malay. Dutch language_sentence_212

Yet the Indonesian language inherited many words from Dutch: words for everyday life as well as scientific and technological terms. Dutch language_sentence_213

One scholar argues that 20% of Indonesian words can be traced back to Dutch words, many of which are transliterated to reflect phonetic pronunciation e.g. "office" in Indonesian is kantor, while bus "bus" becomes bis. Dutch language_sentence_214

In addition, many Indonesian words are calques of Dutch; for example, rumah sakit "hospital" is calqued on the Dutch ziekenhuis (literally "sickhouse"), kebun binatang "zoo" on dierentuin (literally "animal garden"), undang-undang dasar "constitution" from grondwet (literally "ground law"). Dutch language_sentence_215

These account for some of the differences in vocabulary between Indonesian and Malay. Dutch language_sentence_216

Australasia Dutch language_section_18

After the declaration of independence of Indonesia, Western New Guinea, the "wild east" of the Dutch East Indies, remained a Dutch colony until 1962, known as Netherlands New Guinea. Dutch language_sentence_217

Despite prolonged Dutch presence, the Dutch language is not spoken by many Papuans, the colony having been ceded to Indonesia in 1963. Dutch language_sentence_218

Dutch-speaking immigrant communities can also be found in Australia and New Zealand. Dutch language_sentence_219

The 2011 Australian census showed 37,248 people speaking Dutch at home. Dutch language_sentence_220

At the 2006 New Zealand census, 26,982 people, or 0.70 percent of the total population, reported to speak Dutch to sufficient fluency that they could hold an everyday conversation. Dutch language_sentence_221

Americas Dutch language_section_19

In contrast to the colonies in the East Indies, from the second half of the 19th century onwards, the Netherlands envisaged the expansion of Dutch in its colonies in the West Indies. Dutch language_sentence_222

Until 1863, when slavery was abolished in the West Indies, slaves were forbidden to speak Dutch, with the effect that local creoles such as Papiamento and Sranan Tongo which were based not on Dutch but rather other European languages, became common in the Dutch West Indies. Dutch language_sentence_223

However, as most of the people in the Colony of Surinam (now Suriname) worked on Dutch plantations, this reinforced the use of Dutch as a means for direct communication. Dutch language_sentence_224

In Suriname today, Dutch is the sole official language, and over 60 percent of the population speaks it as a mother tongue. Dutch language_sentence_225

Dutch is the obligatory medium of instruction in schools in Suriname, even for non-native speakers. Dutch language_sentence_226

A further twenty-four percent of the population speaks Dutch as a second language. Dutch language_sentence_227

Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975 and has been an associate member of the Dutch Language Union since 2004. Dutch language_sentence_228

The lingua franca of Suriname, however, is Sranan Tongo, spoken natively by about a fifth of the population. Dutch language_sentence_229

In Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, all parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dutch is the official language but spoken as a first language by only 7% to 8% of the population, although most native-born people on the islands can speak the language since the education system is in Dutch at some or all levels. Dutch language_sentence_230

In the United States, a now extinct dialect of Dutch, Jersey Dutch, spoken by descendants of 17th-century Dutch settlers in Bergen and Passaic counties, was still spoken as late as 1921. Dutch language_sentence_231

Other Dutch-based creole languages once spoken in the Americas include Mohawk Dutch (in Albany, New York), Berbice (in Guyana), Skepi (in Essequibo, Guyana) and Negerhollands (in the United States Virgin Islands). Dutch language_sentence_232

Pennsylvania Dutch is not a member of the set of Dutch dialects and is less misleadingly called Pennsylvania German. Dutch language_sentence_233

Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States, spoke Dutch natively and is the only U.S. president whose first language was not English. Dutch language_sentence_234

Dutch prevailed for many generations as the dominant language in parts of New York along the Hudson River. Dutch language_sentence_235

Another famous American born in this region who spoke Dutch as a first language was Sojourner Truth. Dutch language_sentence_236

According to the 2000 United States census, 150,396 people spoke Dutch at home, while according to the 2006 Canadian census, this number reaches 160,000 Dutch speakers. Dutch language_sentence_237

At an academic level, 20 universities offer Dutch studies in the United States. Dutch language_sentence_238

In Canada, Dutch is the fourth most spoken language by farmers, after English, French and German, and the fifth most spoken non-official language overall (by 0.6% of Canadians). Dutch language_sentence_239

Africa Dutch language_section_20

Main article: Afrikaans Dutch language_sentence_240

The largest legacy of the Dutch language lies in South Africa, which attracted large numbers of Dutch, Flemish and other northwest European farmer (in Dutch, boer) settlers, all of whom were quickly assimilated. Dutch language_sentence_241

The long isolation from the rest of the Dutch-speaking world made the Dutch as spoken in Southern Africa evolve into what is now Afrikaans. Dutch language_sentence_242

In 1876, the first Afrikaans newspaper called Die Afrikaanse Patriot was published in the Cape Colony. Dutch language_sentence_243

European Dutch remained the literary language until the start of the 1920s, when under pressure of Afrikaner nationalism the local "African" Dutch was preferred over the written, European-based standard. Dutch language_sentence_244

In 1925, section 137 of the 1909 constitution of the Union of South Africa was amended by Act 8 of 1925, stating "the word Dutch in article 137 ... is hereby declared to include Afrikaans". Dutch language_sentence_245

The constitution of 1983 only listed English and Afrikaans as official languages. Dutch language_sentence_246

It is estimated that between 90% to 95% of Afrikaans vocabulary is ultimately of Dutch origin. Dutch language_sentence_247

Both languages are still largely mutually intelligible, although this relation can in some fields (such as lexicon, spelling and grammar) be asymmetric, as it is easier for Dutch speakers to understand written Afrikaans than it is for Afrikaans speakers to understand written Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_248

Afrikaans is grammatically far less complex than Dutch, and vocabulary items are generally altered in a clearly patterned manner, e.g. vogel becomes voël ("bird") and regen becomes reën ("rain"). Dutch language_sentence_249

In South Africa, the number of students following Dutch at university is difficult to estimate, since the academic study of Afrikaans inevitably includes the study of Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_250

Elsewhere in the world, the number of people learning Dutch is relatively small. Dutch language_sentence_251

See also: Differences between Afrikaans and Dutch Dutch language_sentence_252

Afrikaans is the third largest language of South Africa in terms of native speakers (~13.5%), of whom 53% are Coloureds and 42.4% Whites. Dutch language_sentence_253

In 1996, 40 percent of South Africans reported to know Afrikaans at least at a very basic level of communication. Dutch language_sentence_254

It is the lingua franca in Namibia, where it is spoken natively in 11 percent of households. Dutch language_sentence_255

In total, Afrikaans is the first language in South Africa alone of about 7.1 million people and is estimated to be a second language for at least 10 million people worldwide, compared to over 23 million and 5 million respectively, for Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_256

The Dutch colonial presence elsewhere in Africa, notably Dutch Gold Coast, was too ephemeral not to be wiped out by prevailing colonizing European successors. Dutch language_sentence_257

Belgian colonial presence in Congo and Rwanda-Urundi (Burundi and Rwanda, held under League of Nations mandate and later a UN trust territory) left little Dutch (Flemish) legacy, as French was the main colonial language. Dutch language_sentence_258

Phonology Dutch language_section_21

Main article: Dutch phonology Dutch language_sentence_259

For further details on different realisations of phonemes, dialectal differences and example words, see the full article at Dutch phonology. Dutch language_sentence_260

Consonants Dutch language_section_22

Unlike other Germanic languages, Dutch has no phonological aspiration of consonants. Dutch language_sentence_261

Like most other Germanic languages, the Dutch consonant system did not undergo the High German consonant shift and has a syllable structure that allows fairly-complex consonant clusters. Dutch language_sentence_262

Dutch also retains full use of the velar fricatives of Proto-Germanic that were lost or modified in many other Germanic languages. Dutch language_sentence_263

Dutch has final-obstruent devoicing. Dutch language_sentence_264

At the end of a word, voicing distinction is neutralised and all obstruents are pronounced voiceless. Dutch language_sentence_265

For example, Dutch goede (̇‘good’) is /ˈɣudə/ but the related form goed is /ɣut/. Dutch language_sentence_266

Dutch shares this final-obstruent devoicing with German (the Dutch noun goud is pronounced [ɣɑut], the adjective gouden is pronounced [ɣɑudə(n)], like the German noun Gold, pronounced [ɡɔlt], adjective golden, pronounced [ɡɔldn] vs English gold and golden, both pronounced with [d].) Dutch language_sentence_267

Voicing of pre-vocalic initial voiceless alveolar fricatives occurs although less in Dutch than in German (Dutch zeven, German sieben with [z] versus English seven and Low German seven with [s]), and also the shift /θ/ → /d/. Dutch language_sentence_268

Dutch shares only with Low German the development of /xs/ → /ss/ (Dutch vossen, ossen and Low German Vösse, Ossen versus German Füchse, Ochsen and English foxes, oxen), and also the development of /ft/ → /xt/ though it is far more common in Dutch (Dutch zacht and Low German sacht versus German sanft and English soft, but Dutch kracht versus German Kraft and English craft). Dutch language_sentence_269

Dutch language_table_general_2

Dutch language_header_cell_2_0_0 BilabialDutch language_header_cell_2_0_1 Labio- dentalDutch language_header_cell_2_0_2 AlveolarDutch language_header_cell_2_0_3 Post- alveolarDutch language_header_cell_2_0_4 Velar/

UvularDutch language_header_cell_2_0_5

GlottalDutch language_header_cell_2_0_6
NasalDutch language_header_cell_2_1_0 mDutch language_cell_2_1_1 Dutch language_cell_2_1_2 nDutch language_cell_2_1_3 Dutch language_cell_2_1_4 ŋDutch language_cell_2_1_5 Dutch language_cell_2_1_6
PlosiveDutch language_header_cell_2_2_0 p bDutch language_cell_2_2_1 Dutch language_cell_2_2_2 t dDutch language_cell_2_2_3 Dutch language_cell_2_2_4 k [ɡ]Dutch language_cell_2_2_5 (ʔ)Dutch language_cell_2_2_6
FricativeDutch language_header_cell_2_3_0 Dutch language_cell_2_3_1 f vDutch language_cell_2_3_2 s zDutch language_cell_2_3_3 [ʃ] [ʒ]Dutch language_cell_2_3_4 x ɣDutch language_cell_2_3_5 ɦDutch language_cell_2_3_6
RhoticDutch language_header_cell_2_4_0 Dutch language_cell_2_4_1 Dutch language_cell_2_4_2 rDutch language_cell_2_4_3 Dutch language_cell_2_4_6
ApproximantDutch language_header_cell_2_5_0 ʋDutch language_cell_2_5_1 lDutch language_cell_2_5_3 Dutch language_cell_2_5_4 jDutch language_cell_2_5_5 Dutch language_cell_2_5_6

Notes: Dutch language_sentence_270

Dutch language_unordered_list_3

  • [ʔ] is not a separate phoneme in Dutch, but is inserted before vowel-initial syllables within words after /a/ and /ə/ and often also at the beginning of a word.Dutch language_item_3_16
  • The realization of /r/ phoneme varies considerably from dialect to dialect and even between speakers in the same dialect area. Common realisations are an alveolar trill [r], alveolar tap [ɾ], uvular trill [ʀ], voiced uvular fricative [ʁ], and alveolar approximant [ɹ].Dutch language_item_3_17
  • The realization of /ʋ/ also varies somewhat by area and speaker. The main realisation is a labiodental approximant [ʋ], but some speakers, particularly in the south, use a bilabial approximant [β̞] or a labiovelar approximant [w].Dutch language_item_3_18
  • The lateral /l/ is slightly velarized postvocalically in most dialects, particularly in the north.Dutch language_item_3_19
  • /x/ and /ɣ/ may be true velars [x] and [ɣ], uvular [χ] and [ʁ] or palatal [ç] and [ʝ]. The more palatal realisations are common in southern areas, and uvulars are common in the north.Dutch language_item_3_20
  • Some northern dialects have a tendency to devoice all fricatives, regardless of environment, which is particularly common with /ɣ/ but can affect others as well.Dutch language_item_3_21
  • /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ are not native phonemes of Dutch and usually occur in borrowed words, like show and bagage (‘baggage’), but may occur if /s/ and /z/ are palatalised.Dutch language_item_3_22
  • /ɡ/ is not a native phoneme of Dutch and occurs only in borrowed words, like garçon.Dutch language_item_3_23

Vowels Dutch language_section_23

Like English, Dutch did not develop i-mutation as a morphological marker and shares with most other Germanic languages the lengthening of short vowels in stressed open syllables, which has led to contrastive vowel length being used as a morphological marker. Dutch language_sentence_271

Dutch has an extensive vowel inventory. Dutch language_sentence_272

Vowels can be grouped as back rounded, front unrounded and front rounded. Dutch language_sentence_273

They are also traditionally distinguished by length or tenseness. Dutch language_sentence_274

Vowel length is not always considered a distinctive feature in Dutch phonology because it normally occurs with changes in vowel quality. Dutch language_sentence_275

One feature or the other may be considered redundant, and some phonemic analyses prefer to treat it as an opposition of tenseness. Dutch language_sentence_276

However, even if it is not considered part of the phonemic opposition, the long/tense vowels are still realised as phonetically longer than their short counterparts. Dutch language_sentence_277

The changes in vowel quality are also not always the same in all dialects, some of which may be little difference at all, with length remaining the primary distinguishing feature. Dutch language_sentence_278

Although all older words pair vowel length with a change in vowel quality, new loanwords have reintroduced phonemic oppositions of length. Dutch language_sentence_279

Compare zonne(n) [ˈzɔnə] ("suns") versus zone [ˈzɔːnə] ("zone") versus zonen [ˈzoːnə(n)] ("sons"), or kroes [krus] ("mug") versus cruise [kruːs] ("cruise"). Dutch language_sentence_280

Notes: Dutch language_sentence_281

Dutch language_unordered_list_4

  • The distinction between /i y u/ and /iː yː uː/ is only slight and may be considered allophonic for most purposes. However, some recent loanwords have introduced distinctively-long /iː yː uː/, making the length distinction marginally phonemic.Dutch language_item_4_24
  • The long close-mid vowels /eː øː oː/ are realised as slightly closing diphthongs [eɪ øʏ oʊ] in many northern dialects.Dutch language_item_4_25
  • The long open-mid vowels /ɛː œː ɔː/ occur only in a handful of loanwords, mostly from French. In certain Belgian Dutch varieties, they may also occur as realisations of /ɛi œy au/.Dutch language_item_4_26
  • The long close and close-mid vowels are often pronounced more closed or as centering diphthongs before an /r/ in the syllable coda, which may occur before coda /l/ as well.Dutch language_item_4_27

Diphthongs Dutch language_section_24

See also: IJ (digraph) Dutch language_sentence_282

Unique to the development of Dutch is the collapse of older ol/ul/al + dental into ol + dental, followed by vocalisation of pre-consonantal /l/ and after a short vowel. Dutch language_sentence_283

That created the diphthong /ɑu/: Dutch goud, zout and bout corresponds with Low German Gold, Solt, Bolt; German Gold, Salz, Balt and English gold, salt, bolt. Dutch language_sentence_284

It is the most common diphthong, along with /ɛi œy/. Dutch language_sentence_285

All three are the only ones commonly considered unique phonemes in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_286

The tendency for native English speakers is to pronounce Dutch names with /ɛi/ (written as ij or ei) as /aɪ/, (like the English "long i"), which does not normally lead to confusion for native listeners since in a number of dialects (such as in Amsterdam), the same pronunciation is heard. Dutch language_sentence_287

In contrast, /ɑi/ and /ɔi/ are rare in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_288

The "long/tense" diphthongs are indeed realised as proper diphthongs but are generally analysed phonemically as a long/tense vowel, followed by a glide /j/ or /ʋ/. Dutch language_sentence_289

All diphthongs end in a close vowel (/i y u/) and are grouped here by their first element. Dutch language_sentence_290

Phonotactics Dutch language_section_25

The syllable structure of Dutch is (C)(C)(C)V(C)(C)(C)(C). Dutch language_sentence_291

Many words, as in English, begin with three consonants: straat /straːt/ (street). Dutch language_sentence_292

There are words that end in four consonants: herfst /ɦɛrfst/ (autumn), ergst /ɛrxst/ (worst), interessantst /ɪn.tə.rɛ.sɑntst/ (most interesting), sterkst /stɛrkst/ (strongest), the last three of which are superlative adjectives. Dutch language_sentence_293

The highest number of consonants in a single cluster is found in the word slechtstschrijvend /ˈslɛxtstˌsxrɛi̯vənt/ (writing worst), with seven consonant phonemes. Dutch language_sentence_294

Also angstschreeuw /ˈɑŋstsxreːu̯/ (help·) (scream in fear) has six in a row. Dutch language_sentence_295

Polder Dutch Dutch language_section_26

A notable change in pronunciation has been occurring in younger generations in the provinces of Utrecht, North and South Holland, which has been dubbed "Polder Dutch" by Jan Stroop. Dutch language_sentence_296

Such speakers pronounce ⟨ij/ei⟩, ⟨ou/au⟩ and ⟨ui⟩, which used to be pronounced respectively as /ɛi/, /ɔu/, and /œy/, as increasingly lowered to [ai], [au], and [ay] respectively. Dutch language_sentence_297

In addition, the same speakers pronounce /eː/, /oː/, and /øː/ as the diphthongs [ei], [ou], and [øy] respectively, making the change an example of a chain shift. Dutch language_sentence_298

The change is interesting from a sociolinguistic point of view because it has apparently happened relatively recently, in the 1970s and was pioneered by older well-educated women from the upper middle classes. Dutch language_sentence_299

The lowering of the diphthongs has long been current in many Dutch dialects and is comparable to the English Great Vowel Shift and the diphthongisation of long high vowels in Modern High German, which had centuries earlier reached the state now found in Polder Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_300

Stroop theorizes that the lowering of open-mid to open diphthongs is a phonetically "natural" and inevitable development and that Dutch, after it had diphthongised the long high vowels like German and English, "should" have lowered the diphthongs like German and English as well. Dutch language_sentence_301

Instead, he argues that the development has been artificially frozen in an "intermediate" state by the standardisation of Dutch pronunciation in the 16th century in which lowered diphthongs found in rural dialects were perceived as ugly by the educated classes and were accordingly declared substandard. Dutch language_sentence_302

Now, however, he thinks that the newly-affluent and independent women can afford to let that natural development take place in their speech. Dutch language_sentence_303

Stroop compares the role of Polder Dutch with the urban variety of British English pronunciation called Estuary English. Dutch language_sentence_304

Among Belgian and Surinamese Dutch-speakers and speakers from other regions in the Netherlands, that vowel shift is not taking place. Dutch language_sentence_305

Grammar Dutch language_section_27

Main article: Dutch grammar Dutch language_sentence_306

See also: DT-Manie Dutch language_sentence_307

Dutch is grammatically similar to German, such as in syntax and verb morphology (for verb morphology in English verbs, Dutch and German, see Germanic weak verb and Germanic strong verb). Dutch language_sentence_308

Grammatical cases have largely become limited to pronouns and many set phrases. Dutch language_sentence_309

Inflected forms of the articles are often grace surnames and toponyms. Dutch language_sentence_310

Standard Dutch uses three genders across natural and grammatical genders but for most non-Belgian speakers, masculine and feminine have merged to form the common gender (with de for "the"). Dutch language_sentence_311

The neuter (which uses het) remains distinct. Dutch language_sentence_312

This is similar to those of most Continental Scandinavian tongues. Dutch language_sentence_313

Less so than English, inflectional grammar (such as in adjectival and noun endings) has simplified. Dutch language_sentence_314

Verbs and tenses Dutch language_section_28

When grouped according to their conjugational class, Dutch has four main verb types: weak verbs, strong verbs, irregular verbs and mixed verbs. Dutch language_sentence_315

Weak verbs are most numerous, constituting about 60% of all verbs. Dutch language_sentence_316

In these, the past tense and past participle are formed with a dental suffix: Dutch language_sentence_317

Dutch language_unordered_list_5

  • Weak verbs with past in -deDutch language_item_5_28
  • Weak verbs with past in -teDutch language_item_5_29

Strong verbs are the second most numerous verb group. Dutch language_sentence_318

This group is characterised by a vowel alternation of the stem in the past tense and perfect participle. Dutch language_sentence_319

Dutch distinguishes between 7 classes, comprising almost all strong verbs, with some internal variants. Dutch language_sentence_320

Dutch has many 'half strong verbs': these have a weak past tense and a strong participle or a strong past tense and a weak participle. Dutch language_sentence_321

The following table shows the vowel alternations in more detail. Dutch language_sentence_322

It also shows the number of roots (bare verbs) that belong to each class, variants with a prefix are excluded. Dutch language_sentence_323

Dutch language_table_general_3

Verb classDutch language_header_cell_3_0_0 VerbDutch language_header_cell_3_0_1 PresentDutch language_header_cell_3_0_3 PastDutch language_header_cell_3_0_5 ParticipleDutch language_header_cell_3_0_7 Number of rootsDutch language_header_cell_3_0_9
1Dutch language_cell_3_1_0 kijkenDutch language_cell_3_1_1 (to watch)Dutch language_cell_3_1_2 ɛiDutch language_cell_3_1_3 kijkDutch language_cell_3_1_4 e:Dutch language_cell_3_1_5 keekDutch language_cell_3_1_6 e:Dutch language_cell_3_1_7 gekekenDutch language_cell_3_1_8 58Dutch language_cell_3_1_9
2aDutch language_cell_3_2_0 biedenDutch language_cell_3_2_1 (to offer)Dutch language_cell_3_2_2 iDutch language_cell_3_2_3 biedDutch language_cell_3_2_4 o:Dutch language_cell_3_2_5 boodDutch language_cell_3_2_6 o:Dutch language_cell_3_2_7 gebodenDutch language_cell_3_2_8 17Dutch language_cell_3_2_9
2bDutch language_cell_3_3_0 stuivenDutch language_cell_3_3_1 (to gush)Dutch language_cell_3_3_2 œyDutch language_cell_3_3_3 stuifDutch language_cell_3_3_4 o:Dutch language_cell_3_3_5 stoofDutch language_cell_3_3_6 o:Dutch language_cell_3_3_7 gestovenDutch language_cell_3_3_8 23Dutch language_cell_3_3_9
3aDutch language_cell_3_4_0 klimmenDutch language_cell_3_4_1 (to climb)Dutch language_cell_3_4_2 ɪDutch language_cell_3_4_3 klimDutch language_cell_3_4_4 ɔDutch language_cell_3_4_5 klomDutch language_cell_3_4_6 ɔDutch language_cell_3_4_7 geklommenDutch language_cell_3_4_8 25Dutch language_cell_3_4_9
3bDutch language_cell_3_5_0 zendenDutch language_cell_3_5_1 (to send)Dutch language_cell_3_5_2 ɛDutch language_cell_3_5_3 zendDutch language_cell_3_5_4 ɔDutch language_cell_3_5_5 zondDutch language_cell_3_5_6 ɔDutch language_cell_3_5_7 gezondenDutch language_cell_3_5_8 18Dutch language_cell_3_5_9
3 + 7Dutch language_cell_3_6_0 stervenDutch language_cell_3_6_1 (to die)Dutch language_cell_3_6_2 ɛDutch language_cell_3_6_3 sterfDutch language_cell_3_6_4 iDutch language_cell_3_6_5 stierfDutch language_cell_3_6_6 ɔDutch language_cell_3_6_7 gestorvenDutch language_cell_3_6_8 6Dutch language_cell_3_6_9
4Dutch language_cell_3_7_0 brekenDutch language_cell_3_7_1 (to break)Dutch language_cell_3_7_2 e:Dutch language_cell_3_7_3 breekDutch language_cell_3_7_4 ɑ ~ a:Dutch language_cell_3_7_5 brak ~ brakenDutch language_cell_3_7_6 o:Dutch language_cell_3_7_7 gebrokenDutch language_cell_3_7_8 7Dutch language_cell_3_7_9
4 irregularDutch language_cell_3_8_0 wegenDutch language_cell_3_8_1 (to weigh)Dutch language_cell_3_8_2 e:Dutch language_cell_3_8_3 weegDutch language_cell_3_8_4 o:Dutch language_cell_3_8_5 woogDutch language_cell_3_8_6 o:Dutch language_cell_3_8_7 gewogenDutch language_cell_3_8_8 3Dutch language_cell_3_8_9
5Dutch language_cell_3_9_0 gevenDutch language_cell_3_9_1 (to give)Dutch language_cell_3_9_2 e:Dutch language_cell_3_9_3 geefDutch language_cell_3_9_4 ɑ ~ a:Dutch language_cell_3_9_5 gaf ~ gavenDutch language_cell_3_9_6 e:Dutch language_cell_3_9_7 gegevenDutch language_cell_3_9_8 10Dutch language_cell_3_9_9
5 irregularDutch language_cell_3_10_0 zittenDutch language_cell_3_10_1 (to sit)Dutch language_cell_3_10_2 ɪDutch language_cell_3_10_3 zitDutch language_cell_3_10_4 ɑ ~ a:Dutch language_cell_3_10_5 zat ~ zatenDutch language_cell_3_10_6 e:Dutch language_cell_3_10_7 gezetenDutch language_cell_3_10_8 3Dutch language_cell_3_10_9
6Dutch language_cell_3_11_0 dragenDutch language_cell_3_11_1 (to carry)Dutch language_cell_3_11_2 a:Dutch language_cell_3_11_3 draagDutch language_cell_3_11_4 uDutch language_cell_3_11_5 droegDutch language_cell_3_11_6 a:Dutch language_cell_3_11_7 gedragenDutch language_cell_3_11_8 4Dutch language_cell_3_11_9
7Dutch language_cell_3_12_0 roepenDutch language_cell_3_12_1 (to call)Dutch language_cell_3_12_2 XDutch language_cell_3_12_3 roepDutch language_cell_3_12_4 iDutch language_cell_3_12_5 riepDutch language_cell_3_12_6 XDutch language_cell_3_12_7 geroepenDutch language_cell_3_12_8 8Dutch language_cell_3_12_9
7 irregularDutch language_cell_3_13_0 vangenDutch language_cell_3_13_1 (to catch)Dutch language_cell_3_13_2 XDutch language_cell_3_13_3 vangDutch language_cell_3_13_4 ɪDutch language_cell_3_13_5 vingDutch language_cell_3_13_6 XDutch language_cell_3_13_7 gevangenDutch language_cell_3_13_8 3Dutch language_cell_3_13_9
Half strong pastDutch language_cell_3_14_0 vragenDutch language_cell_3_14_1 (to ask)Dutch language_cell_3_14_2 Dutch language_cell_3_14_3 vraagDutch language_cell_3_14_4 Dutch language_cell_3_14_5 vroegDutch language_cell_3_14_6 Dutch language_cell_3_14_7 gevraagdDutch language_cell_3_14_8 3Dutch language_cell_3_14_9
Half strong perfectDutch language_cell_3_15_0 bakkenDutch language_cell_3_15_1 (to bake)Dutch language_cell_3_15_2 Dutch language_cell_3_15_3 bakDutch language_cell_3_15_4 Dutch language_cell_3_15_5 bakteDutch language_cell_3_15_6 Dutch language_cell_3_15_7 gebakkenDutch language_cell_3_15_8 19Dutch language_cell_3_15_9
OtherDutch language_cell_3_16_0 scheppenDutch language_cell_3_16_1 (to create)Dutch language_cell_3_16_2 Dutch language_cell_3_16_3 schepDutch language_cell_3_16_4 Dutch language_cell_3_16_5 schiepDutch language_cell_3_16_6 Dutch language_cell_3_16_7 geschapenDutch language_cell_3_16_8 5Dutch language_cell_3_16_9

Genders and cases Dutch language_section_29

As in English, the case system of Dutch and the subjunctive have largely fallen out of use, and the system has generalised the dative over the accusative case for certain pronouns (NL: me, je; EN: me, you; LI: mi, di vs. DE: mich/mir, dich/dir). Dutch language_sentence_324

While standard Dutch has three grammatical genders, this has few consequences and the masculine and feminine gender are usually merged into a common gender in the Netherlands but not in Belgium (EN: none; NL/LI: common and neuter; in Belgium masculine, feminine and neuter is in use). Dutch language_sentence_325

Modern Dutch has mostly lost its case system. Dutch language_sentence_326

However, certain idioms and expressions continue to include now archaic case declensions. Dutch language_sentence_327

The article has just two forms, de and het, more complex than English, which has only the. Dutch language_sentence_328

The use of the older inflected form den in the dative and accusative, as well as use of der in the dative, is restricted to numerous set phrases, surnames and toponyms. Dutch language_sentence_329

Dutch language_table_general_4

Dutch language_header_cell_4_0_0 Masculine singularDutch language_header_cell_4_0_1 Feminine singularDutch language_header_cell_4_0_2 Neuter singularDutch language_header_cell_4_0_3 Plural (any gender)Dutch language_header_cell_4_0_4
NominativeDutch language_header_cell_4_1_0 deDutch language_cell_4_1_1 deDutch language_cell_4_1_2 hetDutch language_cell_4_1_3 deDutch language_cell_4_1_4
GenitiveDutch language_header_cell_4_2_0 van de/desDutch language_cell_4_2_1 van de/derDutch language_cell_4_2_2 van het/desDutch language_cell_4_2_3 van de/derDutch language_cell_4_2_4
DativeDutch language_header_cell_4_3_0 (aan/voor) deDutch language_cell_4_3_1 (aan/voor) deDutch language_cell_4_3_2 (aan/voor) hetDutch language_cell_4_3_3 (aan/voor) deDutch language_cell_4_3_4
AccusativeDutch language_header_cell_4_4_0 deDutch language_cell_4_4_1 deDutch language_cell_4_4_2 hetDutch language_cell_4_4_3 deDutch language_cell_4_4_4

In modern Dutch, the genitive articles des and der are commonly used in idioms. Dutch language_sentence_330

Other usage is typically considered archaic, poetic or stylistic. Dutch language_sentence_331

In most circumstances, the preposition van is instead used, followed by the normal definitive article de or het. Dutch language_sentence_332

For the idiomatic use of the articles in the genitive, see for example: Dutch language_sentence_333

Dutch language_unordered_list_6

  • Masculine singular: "des duivels" (lit: "of the devil") (common proverbial meaning: Seething with rage)Dutch language_item_6_30
  • Feminine singular: het woordenboek der Friese taal ("the dictionary of the Frisian language")Dutch language_item_6_31
  • Neuter singular: de vrouw des huizes ("the lady of the house")Dutch language_item_6_32
  • Plural: de voortgang der werken ("the progress of (public) works")Dutch language_item_6_33

In contemporary usage, the genitive case still occurs a little more often with plurals than with singulars, as the plural article is der for all genders and no special noun inflection must be taken account of. Dutch language_sentence_334

Der is commonly used in order to avoid reduplication of van, e.g. het merendeel der gedichten van de auteur instead of het merendeel van de gedichten van de auteur ("the bulk of the author's poems"). Dutch language_sentence_335

There is also a genitive form for the pronoun die/dat ("that [one], those [ones]"), namely diens for masculine and neuter singulars (occurrences of dier for feminine singular and all plurals are extremely rare). Dutch language_sentence_336

Although usually avoided in common speech, this form can be used instead of possessive pronouns to avoid confusion. Dutch language_sentence_337

Compare: Dutch language_sentence_338

Dutch language_unordered_list_7

  • Hij vertelde over zijn zoon en zijn vrouw. – He told about his son and his (own) wife.Dutch language_item_7_34
  • Hij vertelde over zijn zoon en diens vrouw. – He told about his son and the latter's wife.Dutch language_item_7_35

Analogically, the relative and interrogative pronoun wie ("who") has the genitive forms wiens and wier (corresponding to English whose, but less frequent in use). Dutch language_sentence_339

Dutch also has a range of fixed expressions that make use of the genitive articles, which can be abbreviated using apostrophes. Dutch language_sentence_340

Common examples include "'s ochtends" (with 's as abbreviation of des; "in the morning") and desnoods (lit: "of the need", translated: "if necessary"). Dutch language_sentence_341

The Dutch written grammar has simplified over the past 100 years: cases are now mainly used for the pronouns, such as ik (I), mij, me (me), mijn (my), wie (who), wiens (whose: masculine or neuter singular), wier (whose: feminine singular; masculine, feminine or neuter plural). Dutch language_sentence_342

Nouns and adjectives are not case inflected (except for the genitive of proper nouns (names): -s, -'s or -'). Dutch language_sentence_343

In the spoken language cases and case inflections had already gradually disappeared from a much earlier date on (probably the 15th century) as in many continental West Germanic dialects. Dutch language_sentence_344

Inflection of adjectives is more complicated. Dutch language_sentence_345

The adjective receives no ending with indefinite neuter nouns in singular (as with een /ən/ 'a/an'), and -e in all other cases. Dutch language_sentence_346

(This was also the case in Middle English, as in "a goode man".) Dutch language_sentence_347

Note that fiets belongs to the masculine/feminine category, and that water and huis are neuter. Dutch language_sentence_348

Dutch language_table_general_5

Dutch language_header_cell_5_0_0 Masculine singular or feminine singularDutch language_header_cell_5_0_1 Neuter singularDutch language_header_cell_5_0_2 Plural (any gender)Dutch language_header_cell_5_0_3

(with definite article or pronoun)Dutch language_header_cell_5_1_0

de mooie fiets ("the beautiful bicycle")Dutch language_cell_5_1_1 het mooie huis ("the beautiful house")Dutch language_cell_5_1_2 de mooie fietsen ("the beautiful bicycles")

de mooie huizen ("the beautiful houses")Dutch language_cell_5_1_3


(with indefinite article or no article and no pronoun)Dutch language_header_cell_5_2_0

een mooie fiets ("a beautiful bicycle")

koude soep ("cold soup")Dutch language_cell_5_2_1

een mooi huis ("a beautiful house")

koud water ("cold water")Dutch language_cell_5_2_2

mooie fietsen ("beautiful bicycles")

mooie huizen ("beautiful houses")Dutch language_cell_5_2_3

An adjective has no e if it is in the predicative: De soep is koud. Dutch language_sentence_349

More complex inflection is still found in certain lexicalized expressions like de heer des huizes (literally, "the man of the house"), etc. Dutch language_sentence_350

These are usually remnants of cases (in this instance, the genitive case which is still used in German, cf. Dutch language_sentence_351

Der Herr des Hauses) and other inflections no longer in general use today. Dutch language_sentence_352

In such lexicalized expressions remnants of strong and weak nouns can be found too, e.g. in het jaar des Heren (Anno Domini), where -en is actually the genitive ending of the weak noun. Dutch language_sentence_353

Similarly in some place names: ‌'s-Gravenbrakel, ‌'s-Hertogenbosch, etc. (with weak genitives of graaf “count”, hertog “duke”). Dutch language_sentence_354

Also in this case, German retains this feature. Dutch language_sentence_355

Word order Dutch language_section_30

Dutch shares much of its word order with German. Dutch language_sentence_356

Dutch exhibits subject–object–verb word order, but in main clauses the conjugated verb is moved into the second position in what is known as verb second or V2 word order. Dutch language_sentence_357

This makes Dutch word order almost identical to that of German, but often different from English, which has subject–verb–object word order and has since lost the V2 word order that existed in Old English. Dutch language_sentence_358

An example sentence used in some Dutch language courses and textbooks is "Ik kan mijn pen niet vinden omdat het veel te donker is", which translates into English word for word as "I can my pen not find because it far too dark is", but in standard English word order would be written "I cannot find my pen because it is far too dark". Dutch language_sentence_359

If the sentence is split into a main and subclause and the verbs highlighted, the logic behind the word order can be seen. Dutch language_sentence_360

Main clause: "Ik kan mijn pen niet vinden " Dutch language_sentence_361

Verbs are placed in the final position, but the conjugated verb, in this case "kan" (can), is made the second element of the clause. Dutch language_sentence_362

Subclause: "omdat het veel te donker is " Dutch language_sentence_363

The verb or verbs always go in the final position. Dutch language_sentence_364

In an interrogative main clause the usual word order is: conjugated verb followed by subject; other verbs in final position: Dutch language_sentence_365

Dutch language_description_list_8

  • "Kun jij je pen niet vinden?" (literally "Can you your pen not find?") "Can't you find your pen?"Dutch language_item_8_36

In the Dutch equivalent of a wh-question the word order is: interrogative pronoun (or expression) + conjugated verb + subject; other verbs in final position: Dutch language_sentence_366

Dutch language_description_list_9

  • "Waarom kun jij je pen niet vinden?" ("Why can you your pen not find?") "Why can't you find your pen?"Dutch language_item_9_37

In a tag question the word order is the same as in a declarative clause: Dutch language_sentence_367

Dutch language_description_list_10

  • "Jij kunt je pen niet vinden?" ("You can your pen not find?") "You can't find your pen?"Dutch language_item_10_38

A subordinate clause does not change its word order: Dutch language_sentence_368

Dutch language_description_list_11

  • "Kun jij je pen niet vinden omdat het veel te donker is?" ("Can you your pen not find because it far too dark is?") "Can you not find your pen because it's far too dark?"Dutch language_item_11_39

Diminutives Dutch language_section_31

See also: List of diminutives by language § Dutch Dutch language_sentence_369

In Dutch, the diminutive is used extensively. Dutch language_sentence_370

The nuances of meaning expressed by the diminutive are a distinctive aspect of Dutch, and can be difficult for non-native speakers to master. Dutch language_sentence_371

It is very productive and formed by adding one of the suffixes to the noun in question, depending on the latter's phonological ending: Dutch language_sentence_372

Dutch language_unordered_list_12

  • -je for ending in -b, -c, -d, -t, -f, -g, -ch, -k, -p, -v, -x, -z or -s: neef → neefje (male cousin, nephew)Dutch language_item_12_40
  • -pje for ending in -m: boom (tree) → boompjeDutch language_item_12_41
  • -kje for ending in -ing if the preceding syllable carries the stress: koning (king) → koninkje (the 'ng'-sound transforms into 'nk'); but ring → ringetje (ring), and vondeling → vondelingetje (foundling) without this stress patternDutch language_item_12_42
  • -tje for ending in -h, -j, -l, -n, -r, -w, or a vowel other than -y: zoen → zoentje (kiss). A single open vowel is doubled when adding "-tje" would change the pronunciation: auto → autootje (car).Dutch language_item_12_43
  • -′tje for ending in -y and for abbreviations: baby → baby'tje, cd → cd'tje, A4 → A4'tjeDutch language_item_12_44
  • -etje for ending in -b, -l, -n, -ng or -r preceded by a "short" (lax) vowel: bal → balletje (ball). Final consonant is doubled (except for -ng) to preserve the vowel's shortness.Dutch language_item_12_45

The diminutive suffixes -ke (from which -tje has derived by palatalization), -eke, -ske, -ie (only for words ending -ch, -k, -p, or -s), -kie (instead of -kje), and -pie (instead of -pje) are used in southern dialects, and the forms ending on -ie as well in northern urban dialects. Dutch language_sentence_373

Some of these form part of expressions that became standard language, like een makkie, from gemak = ease). Dutch language_sentence_374

The noun joch (young boy) has, exceptionally, only the diminutive form jochie, also in standard Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_375

The form -ke is also found in many women's given names: Janneke, Marieke, Marijke, Mieke, Meike etc. Dutch language_sentence_376

In Dutch, the diminutive is not merely restricted to nouns, but can be applied to numerals (met z'n tweetjes, "the two of us"), pronouns (onderonsje, "tête-à-tête"), verbal particles (moetje, "shotgun marriage"), and even prepositions (toetje, "dessert"). Dutch language_sentence_377

Most notable however, are the diminutive forms of adjectives and adverbs. Dutch language_sentence_378

The former take a diminutive ending and thus function as nouns, the latter remain adverbs and always have the diminutive with the -s appended, e.g. adjective: groen ("green") → noun: groentje ("rookie"); adverb: even ("a while") → adverb: eventjes ("a little while"). Dutch language_sentence_379

Some nouns have two different diminutives, each with a different meaning: bloem (flower) → bloempje (lit. Dutch language_sentence_380

"small flower"), but bloemetje (lit. Dutch language_sentence_381

also "small flower", meaning bouquet). Dutch language_sentence_382

A few nouns exist solely in a diminutive form, e.g. zeepaardje (seahorse), while many, e.g. meisje (girl), originally a diminutive of meid (maid), have acquired a meaning . Dutch language_sentence_383

A diminutive can sometimes be added to an uncountable noun to refer to a single portion: ijs (ice, ice cream) → ijsje (ice cream treat, cone of ice cream), bier (beer) → biertje. Dutch language_sentence_384

Some diminutive forms only exist in the plural, e.g. kleertjes (clothing). Dutch language_sentence_385

When used to refer to time, the Dutch diminutive form can indicate whether the person in question found it pleasant or not: een uurtje kletsen (chatting for a "little" hour.) Dutch language_sentence_386

The diminutive can, however, also be used pejoratively: Hij was weer eens het "mannetje". Dutch language_sentence_387

(He acted as if he was the "little" man.) Dutch language_sentence_388

All diminutives (even lexicalised ones like "meisje" (girl)) have neuter gender and take neuter concords: dit kleine meisje, not deze kleine meisje. Dutch language_sentence_389

Pronouns and determiners Dutch language_section_32

There are two series of personal pronouns, subject and objects pronouns. Dutch language_sentence_390

The forms on the right-hand sides within each column are the unemphatic forms; those not normally written are given in brackets. Dutch language_sentence_391

Only ons and u do not have an unemphatic form. Dutch language_sentence_392

The distinction between emphatic and unemphatic pronouns is very important in Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_393

Emphatic pronouns in English use the reflexive pronoun form, but are used to emphasize the subject, not to indicate a direct or indirect object. Dutch language_sentence_394

For example, "I gave (to) myself the money" is reflexive but "I myself gave the money (to someone else) " is emphatic. Dutch language_sentence_395

Dutch language_table_general_6

personDutch language_header_cell_6_0_0 subjectDutch language_header_cell_6_0_1 objectDutch language_header_cell_6_0_2
1st person singularDutch language_cell_6_1_0 ik – ('k)Dutch language_cell_6_1_1 mij – meDutch language_cell_6_1_2
2nd person singular, informalDutch language_cell_6_2_0 jij – jeDutch language_cell_6_2_1 jou – jeDutch language_cell_6_2_2
2nd person singular, formalDutch language_cell_6_3_0 uDutch language_cell_6_3_1 uDutch language_cell_6_3_2
3rd person singular, masculineDutch language_cell_6_4_0 hij – (ie)Dutch language_cell_6_4_1 hem – ('m)Dutch language_cell_6_4_2
3rd person singular, feminineDutch language_cell_6_5_0 zij – zeDutch language_cell_6_5_1 haar – ('r, d'r)Dutch language_cell_6_5_2
3rd person singular, neuterDutch language_cell_6_6_0 het – ('t)Dutch language_cell_6_6_1 het – ('t)Dutch language_cell_6_6_2
1st person pluralDutch language_cell_6_8_0 wij – weDutch language_cell_6_8_1 onsDutch language_cell_6_8_2
2nd person plural, informalDutch language_cell_6_9_0 jullie – jeDutch language_cell_6_9_1 jullie – jeDutch language_cell_6_9_2
2nd person plural, formalDutch language_cell_6_10_0 uDutch language_cell_6_10_1 uDutch language_cell_6_10_2
3rd person plural, for a personDutch language_cell_6_11_0 zij – zeDutch language_cell_6_11_1 hun, hen – zeDutch language_cell_6_11_2
3rd person plural, for an objectDutch language_cell_6_12_0 zij – zeDutch language_cell_6_12_1 die – zeDutch language_cell_6_12_2

Like English, Dutch has generalised the dative over the accusative case for all pronouns, e.g. NL 'me', 'je', EN 'me', 'you', vs. DE 'mich'/'mir' 'dich'/'dir'. Dutch language_sentence_396

There is one exception: the standard language prescribes that in the third person plural, hen is to be used for the direct object, and hun for the indirect object. Dutch language_sentence_397

This distinction was artificially introduced in the 17th century by grammarians, and is largely ignored in spoken language and not well understood by Dutch speakers. Dutch language_sentence_398

Consequently, the third person plural forms hun and hen are interchangeable in normal usage, with hun being more common. Dutch language_sentence_399

The shared unstressed form ze is also often used as both direct and indirect objects and is a useful avoidance strategy when people are unsure which form to use. Dutch language_sentence_400

Dutch shares also with English the presence of h- pronouns, e.g. NL hij, hem, haar, hen, hun and ENhe, him, her vs. Dutch language_sentence_401

DEer, ihn, ihr, ihnen. Dutch language_sentence_402

Compounds Dutch language_section_33

Like most Germanic languages, Dutch forms noun compounds, where the first noun modifies the category given by the second (hondenhok = doghouse). Dutch language_sentence_403

Unlike English, where newer compounds or combinations of longer nouns are often written in open form with separating spaces, Dutch (like the other Germanic languages) either uses the closed form without spaces (boomhut = tree house) or inserts a hyphen (VVD-coryfee = outstanding member of the VVD, a political party). Dutch language_sentence_404

Like German, Dutch allows arbitrarily long compounds, but the longer they get, the less frequent they tend to be. Dutch language_sentence_405

The longest serious entry in the Van Dale dictionary is wapenstilstandsonderhandeling (help·) (ceasefire negotiation). Dutch language_sentence_406

Leafing through the articles of association (Statuten) one may come across a 30-letter vertegenwoordigingsbevoegdheid (help·) (authorisation of representation). Dutch language_sentence_407

An even longer word cropping up in official documents is ziektekostenverzekeringsmaatschappij (health insurance company) though the shorter zorgverzekeraar (health insurer) is more common. Dutch language_sentence_408

Notwithstanding official spelling rules, some Dutch-speaking people, like some Scandinavians and German speakers, nowadays tend to write the parts of a compound separately, a practice sometimes dubbed de Engelse ziekte (the English disease). Dutch language_sentence_409

Vocabulary Dutch language_section_34

Dutch vocabulary is predominantly Germanic in origin, with loanwords accounting for 20%. Dutch language_sentence_410

The main foreign influence on Dutch vocabulary since the 12th century and culminating in the French period has been French and (northern) Oïl languages, accounting for an estimated 6.8% of all words, or more than a third of all loanwords. Dutch language_sentence_411

Latin, which was spoken in the southern Low Countries for centuries and then played a major role as the language of science and religion, follows with 6.1%. Dutch language_sentence_412

High German and Low German were influential until the mid-19th century and account for 2.7%, but they are mostly unrecognizable since many have been "Dutchified": German Fremdling → Dutch vreemdeling. Dutch language_sentence_413

Dutch has borrowed words from English since the mid-19th century, as a consequence of the increasing power and influence of Britain and the United States. Dutch language_sentence_414

English loanwords are about 1.5%, but continue to increase. Dutch language_sentence_415

Many English loanwords become less visible over time as they are either gradually replaced by calques (skyscraper became Dutch wolkenkrabber) or neologisms (bucket list became loodjeslijst). Dutch language_sentence_416

Conversely, Dutch contributed many loanwords to English, accounting for 1.3% of its lexicon. Dutch language_sentence_417

The main Dutch dictionary is the Van Dale groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal, which contains some 268,826 headwords. Dutch language_sentence_418

In the field of linguistics, the 45,000-page Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal is also widely used. Dutch language_sentence_419

That scholarly endeavour took 147 years to complete and contains all recorded Dutch words from the Early Middle Ages onward. Dutch language_sentence_420

Spelling and writing system Dutch language_section_35

Main articles: Dutch orthography, History of Dutch orthography, and Dutch Braille Dutch language_sentence_421

Dutch is written using the Latin script. Dutch language_sentence_422

Dutch uses one additional character beyond the standard alphabet, the digraph IJ. Dutch language_sentence_423

It has a relatively high proportion of doubled letters, both vowels and consonants, due to the formation of compound words and also to the spelling devices for distinguishing the many vowel sounds in the Dutch language. Dutch language_sentence_424

An example of five consecutive doubled letters is the word voorraaddoos (food storage container). Dutch language_sentence_425

The diaeresis (Dutch: trema) is used to mark vowels that are pronounced separately when involving a pre- or suffix, and a hyphen is used when the problem occurs in compound words. Dutch language_sentence_426

For example; "beïnvloed" (influenced), de zeeën (the seas) but zee-eend (scoter; litt: sea duck). Dutch language_sentence_427

Generally, other diacritical marks occur only in loanwords. Dutch language_sentence_428

However, the acute accent can also be used for emphasis or to differentiate between two forms, and its most common use is to differentiate between the indefinite article 'een' /ən/ (a, an) and the numeral 'één' /e:n/ (one). Dutch language_sentence_429

Since the 1980s, the Dutch Language Union has been given the mandate to review and make recommendations on the official spelling of Dutch. Dutch language_sentence_430

Spelling reforms undertaken by the union occurred in 1995 and 2005. Dutch language_sentence_431

In the Netherlands, the official spelling is currently given legal basis by the Spelling Act of 15 September 2005. Dutch language_sentence_432

The Spelling Act gives the Committee of Ministers of the Dutch Language Union the authority to determine the spelling of Dutch by ministerial decision. Dutch language_sentence_433

In addition, the law requires that this spelling be followed "at the governmental bodies, at educational institutions funded from the public purse, as well as at the exams for which legal requirements have been established". Dutch language_sentence_434

In other cases, it is recommended, but it is not mandatory to follow the official spelling. Dutch language_sentence_435

The Decree on the Spelling Regulations 2005 of 2006 contains the annexed spelling rules decided by the Committee of Ministers on 25 April 2005. Dutch language_sentence_436

In Flanders, the same spelling rules are currently applied by the Decree of the Flemish Government Establishing the Rules of the Official Spelling and Grammar of the Dutch language of 30 June 2006. Dutch language_sentence_437

The Woordenlijst Nederlandse taal, more commonly known as "het groene boekje" (i.e. "the green booklet", because of its color), is the authoritative orthographic word list (without definitions) of the Dutch Language Union; a version with definitions can be had as Het Groene Woordenboek; both are published by Sdu. Dutch language_sentence_438

See also Dutch language_section_36

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch language.