Among the easier languages to learn if you’re American, a good Germanic language that is also good for European business is the Dutch Language. However this rich language form an even richer country is also quite popular among tourist looking for a good time and a place to relax with enticing views and friendly locals.
So what exactly is so easy about speaking Dutch to Americans? And How did the Dutch Language come about? Well in the spirit of Dutch Hospitality, today we shall take a small glimpse into the history of this language and its use in the world. Let’s begin!
The Dutch Language is a West Germanic language and the native language of most of the population of the Netherlands, and about sixty percent of the populations of Belgium and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second language for another 5 milllion people.
While “Dutch” generally refers to the language as a whole, Belgian varieties are sometimes collectively referred to as “Flemish”. In both Belgium and the Netherlands, the native official name for Dutch is Nederlands, and its dialects have their own names, e.g. Hollands “Hollandish”, West-Vlaams “Western Flemish”, Brabants “Brabantian”.
The Ways of Saying Dutch
The language has been known under a variety of names. In Middle Dutch, dietsc (in the South) and diutsc, duutsc (in the North) were used to refer variably to Dutch, Low German, and German. This word is derived from diet “people” and was used to translate Latin (lingua) vulgaris “popular language” to set apart the Germanic vernacular from Latin (the language of writing and the Church) and Romance. An early form of this word appears Latinized in the Strasbourg Oaths (AD 842) as teudisca (lingua) to refer to the Rhenish Franconian portion of the oath and also underlies dialectal French thiois “Luxembourgish”, “Lorraine Franconian”.
Nederlands, the official Dutch word for “Dutch”, did not become firmly established until the 19th century. The repeated use of neder- or “low” to refer to the language is a reference to the Netherlands’ downriver location at the mouth of the Rhine (harking back to Latin nomenclature, e.g. Germania inferior vs. Germania superior) and its position at the lowest dip of the Northern European plain.
All in all, one can appreciate why this language holds a special significance in that area of Europe.
Thank you for reading! We hope this small piece has helped you understand a little better what the Dutch Language is all about. Be sure to share this with friends and family, and if you’re looking to learn Dutch as a second language, Contac Us and we’ll be sure to help you out. So long!