Overview of the Dutch Language
The Dutch language is the official language of the Netherlands, and it is also sometimes called Netherlandic. The name Dutch comes from the word Dietsc, or Duutsc, which is what the language was called in the Middle Ages. It meant "language of the people." In the Netherlands, the Dutch language is also called Hollands-- a reminder that the language evolved from the dialect of the old province of Holland. Dutch is a Germanic language of the Indo-European language family. The earliest documents in Dutch date from approximately the end of the 12th century.
Dutch is also used as the language of administration in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. Dutch was made the official language of the northern part of Belgium in the late 1930s. Afrikaans, a derivative of Dutch, is one of the official languages of South Africa.Dutch Vocabulary
Dutch vocabulary has contributed many words to the English language. For example, yacht, easel, cookie, and freight all come from Dutch.
As you learn Dutch, it is comforting to recognize some words. However, you should be careful! Although English and Dutch share many words and expressions, don't assume that a Dutch vocabulary word always means exactly what you expect it to mean in English. For example, slapen doesn't mean slap, it means sleep. And bad isn't the opposite of good: it means bath. Don't make the mistake of ordering beer in a Dutch tavern - unless you want them to bring you a bear!
Formal and Informal Address in the Dutch Language
The concept of formal and informal address may be interesting to an English speaker who is learning to speak Dutch. When you speak Dutch to an older person or someone you don't know very well, you should use the formal u (you) form of address. When you speak Dutch to a child, a good friend or a family member, use the informal jij form of address.Dutch Grammar
Dutch nouns and Dutch adjectives are either neuter or common gender. This concept can be tricky for an English speaker learning Dutch, because it is not a part of the English grammar system, and it does not follow the conventional usage of masculine and feminine genders in the Romance languages like Spanish and French.Good Dutch software programs can help you master gender and other aspects of Dutch grammar, as well as teaching pronunciation and vocabulary. It has never been easier to begin to speak Dutch than with the language resources and language software from Transparent Language. We wish you luck in your endeavors to learn Dutch!