The Dutch Language

Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language. It is spoken by the majority of people in the Netherlands, where it is the official language, and Belgium, as one of its three official languages. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German. Outside of the Low Countries, Dutch is spoken in the Republic of Suriname, the Caribbean countries of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, as well as 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. The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have evolved into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language. Afrikaans is spoken by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia.

Dutch is one of the closest relatives of both German and English. Like English, Dutch has not undergone the High German consonant shift. It does not use Germanic umlaut as a grammatical marker. It has largely abandoned the use of the subjunctive. Moreover, Dutch has evened off much of its morphology, including most of its case system1. The only similar features shared with the German language is that Dutch still includes two to three grammatical genders such as the use of modal particles, final-obstruent devoicing, and a similar word order. Dutch vocabulary is mostly Germanic, but there are more loan words from Romance languages as compared to its German cousin. Yet, when compared to the English vocabulary, English has more loans words from Romance languages than Dutch. Dutch vocabulary also has strong similarities with Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. However, Dutch is not mutually intelligible in text or speech with any of the three Scandinavian languages.

 

History of Dutch

Old Dutch was a set of Franconian dialects spoken by the Salian Franks in the 5th century. Over the source of 15 centuries, the Old Dutch has developed through Middle Dutch, and then finally, to Modern Dutch. During that gradual period of development, Old Frisian influence was pushed back from the western coast to the north of the Low Countries, and eventually replaced Old Saxon, which was spoken in the east of the Low German territories. Dutch was then replaced in adjacent lands in present-day France and Germany.

 

Dutch Dialects

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. Historically, West Flemish variety was spoken in some parts of France near the Netherlands, known as French Flemish, and is listed as a French minority language. Nonetheless, at present, only a very small and aging minority of the French-Flemish people still speaks and understands West Flemish.

Dutch-dialects

Dutch Dialects

 

Dutch Alphabets, Consonants, Vowels, and Diphthongs

Dutch Alphabets, Consonants, Vowels, and Diphthongs

Dutch Alphabets, Consonants, Vowels, and Diphthongs

 

Dutch Grammar

Similar to German, Dutch places verbs at the end of a sentence after the first initial verb. The underlying structure is basically Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) but the first verb is in second position after the subject. Therefore, if there is only one verb in a sentence, then the structure would be Subject-Verb-Object (SVO).

 

SVO Example:

Dutch: Ik lees een boek.

                 s.   verb         obj.

English: I am reading a book.

 

SOV Example:

Dutch: Ik wil   je    een knuffel geven.

            s. verb  obj.1          obj.2            verb

English: I want to give you a hug.

 

Plurals

ends with ‘-en’
deur (door) = deuren (doors)
fiets (bicycle) = fietsen (bicycles)
muis (mouse) = muizen (mice)
droom (dream) = dromen (dreams)
duif (dove) = duiven (doves)

 

ends with ‘-s’
jongen (boy) = jongens (boys)
sleutel (key) = sleutels (keys)
telefoon (phone) = telefoons (phones)
lapel (spoon) = lapels (spoons)
parel (pearl) = parels (pearls)

 

irregular form endings
kind (child) = kinderen (children)
stad (city) = steden (cities)
ei (eggs) = eieren (eggs)

Articles

de (the - masculine/feminine)
de man (the man)
de vrouw (the woman)

 

het (the - neuter)
het kind (the child)
het kantoor (the office)

 

een (a or an)
Ik heb een boek gelezen. (I have read a book.)

Verb Tenses

Dutch has only two tenses — Present and Past. However, there are a few other semi-tenses by an interaction of present and past tenses, aspect and mood.

There are altogether 8 basic tenses:

 

Present

Ik werk

I work

Simple past

Ik werkte

I worked

Perfect

Ik heb gewerkt

I have worked

Pluperfect

Ik had gewerkt

I had worked

Future

Ik zal werken

I will work

Conditional

Ik zou werken

I would work

Future Perfect

Ik zal hebben gewerkt

I will have worked

Conditional Perfect

Ik zou hebben gewerkt

I would have worked

Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers

No. Cardinal Ordinal No. Cardinal Ordinal
1 één eerste 11 elf elfde
2 twee tweede 12 twaalf twaalfde
3 drie derde 13 dertien dertiende
4 vier vierde 14 veertien veertiende
5 vijf vijfde 15 vijftien vijftiende
6 zes zesde 16 zestien zestiende
7 zeven zevende 17 zeventien zeventiende
8 acht achtste 18 achttien achttiende
9 negen negende 19 negentien negentiende
10 tien tiende 20 twintig twintigste

 

No. Cardinal Ordinal
21 eenentwintig eenentwintigste
22 tweeëntwintig tweeëntwintigste
23 drieëntwintig drieëntwintigste
24 vierentwintig vierentwintigste
25 vijfentwintig vijfentwintigste
26 zesenentwintig zesenentwintigste
27 zevenentwintig zevenentwintigste
28 achtentwintig achtentwintigste
29 negenentwintig negentwintigste
30 dertig dertigste
40 veertig veertigste
50 vijftig viftigste
60 zestig zestigste
70 zeventig zeventigste
80 tachtig tachtigste
90 negentig negentigste
100 hondred honderdste
1000 duizend duizendste

Days of the Weeks, Months, and the Seasons

Days

dagen

Months

maanden

Monday

maandag

January

januari

Tuesday

dinsdag

February

februari

Wednesday

woensdag

March

maart

Thursday

donderdag

April

april

Friday

vrijdag

May

mei

Saturday

zatertag

June

juni

Sunday

zontag

July

juli

Seasons

seizoenen

August

augustus

Winter

winter

September

september

Spring

lente

October

oktober

Summer

zomer

November

november

Autumn

herfst

December

december