Netherlandic language

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Netherlandic, also called Dutch (from Netherlandic 'duits', which in modern Netherlandic means 'German', but formerly was used for Low German and its related languages to distinguish them from French), is a West Germanic language most closely related to Low German on the one hand and Frisian and English on the other hand. Dutch did not participate in the second (High German) sound shifting - compare German machen /-x-/ Dutch maken, English make, German Pfanne /pf-/, Dutch pan, English pan, German zwei /ts-/, Dutch twee, English two.

In early times, the Dutch language as such did not exist, instead there were various Low German dialects spoken in the region. Around 1600, a unified language was created from these to make the first Dutch bible translation, consisting of elements from various dialects, but mostly based on the dialects from Holland, and this point can be taken as the starting point of Dutch as a language. Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands, the northern half of Belgium (called Flanders), the north-western corner of France, Suriname in South-America, and in Indonesia, the latter two both former Dutch colonies. In Suriname it is still the main language for official functions and in education. Flemish is the collective term used for the Dutch dialects spoken in Belgium; it is not a separate language. Afrikaans, a language spoken in South Africa, is derived from Dutch. The standard language spoken in both the Netherlands and Flemish Belgium is called Algemeen Nederlands. Of all major languages, Dutch is the one that is closest to English, however, the less-known Frisian language is even closer to English (although still much closer to Dutch).

Dutch has more French loanwords than German, but fewer than English.

The Phonemes of the Dutch language:


/p, b/

/t, d/

/k/ [g] [g]is not a phoneme of Dutch and appears only in foreign words


/f, v/ /v/ fell together with /f/ for many speakers

/s, z/ /z/ fell together with /s/ for many speakers

/x, G/ /G/ fell together with /x/ for many speakers


/S, Z/ /Z/ only in foreign words. Some scholars interpret /S/ [s_j] as an allophone of /s/ + /j/



/w/ (actually, /w/ is most often released as an approximant)








Back vowels

/A/ /Y/ /O/

Mid (central) vowels

/@/ Schwa: e in kunnen /kYn@/ /Y/ u in kunnen

Front vowels

/a/ maken /E/ best /e/ neer often pronounced as a diphthong) /2/ keuken (often pronounced as a diphthong) /I/ minst /i/ klieven /y/ Ruud


/EI/ jij, intimiteit /@Y/ huis /Aw/ vrouw

Many Dutch words have been derived from English, especially since the twentieth century. The reverse is much less common, but Dutch origins can be found in the following English words (although some might have been derived from related Low German words instead):

English Dutch meaning (if different)
ahoy hoi hello
to bluff bluffen to brag
boom boom or. tree
boss baas
brandy brandewijn lit. burn wine
bundle bundel
buoy boei or. something to bind to: boeien-to shackle
to cackle kakelen
coleslaw koolsla lit. cabbage salad
cookie koekje
cruise kruisen to make a cross
deck dek
dock dok
to drill drillen
dyke dijk
easel ezel or. donkey
to etch etsen
freebooter vrijbuiter
freight vracht
frolic vrolijk cheerful, gay
fuck fokken to breed
furlough verlof or. permission
gas gas Neologism from Huygens, derived from the Greek "Kaos"
to grab grijpen to seize, to grasp, to snatch
guild gilde
halibot heilbot lit. holy flounder
to hoist hijsen
holster holster
Hottentot Hottentot
keel kiel
to keelhaul kielhalen lit. to haul keel
knapsack knapzak lit. snapping bag
landscape landschap lit. landship
leak lek
lottery loterij
maelstrom maalstroom lit. milling stream
manikin manneken lit. little man
measles mazelen
morass moeras
offal afval lit. "that which falls off"
pump pomp
quack kwakzalver lit. someone who daubs ointments
roster rooster schedule, or. grating
to rove roven to rob
rucksack rugzak
Santa Claus Sinterklaas Saint Nicholas
scow schouw
skate, to skate schaats, schaatsen
sketch schets
skipper schipper lit. shipper
sled, sledge, sleigh slede, slee
sloop sloep
to slurp slurpen
smack smak
to smelt smelten to melt
to smuggle smokkelen
to snoop snoepen to (furtively) eat candy
snuff snuiftabak lit. sniff tobacco
splinter splinter
to split splijten
spook spook ghost
to stoke stoken to rake
stoop stoep pavement
stove stoof
waffle wafel
wagon wagen cart, carriage, wagon
yacht jacht or. hunt
yankee Jan Kees Personal name, originally used mockingly to describe pro-(french)revolutionary citizens, with allusion to the small "Kees" dog, then for "colonials" in New Amsterdam)

lit.: the literal meaning of the Dutch word (the actual meaning is similar to the English one)
or.: the word originally had the meaning specified, but is in Dutch also used with the same meaning as in English

See also Common phrases in different languages.