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The Dutch Language

If you’re learning a language,
I personally recommend Italki. Study with online tutors for around
30% of the price of offline tutors Buy your first lesson and get your second lesson free. Check out the link in the description Hello everyone. Welcome to the LangFocus channel
and my name is Paul. Today’s topic is the Dutch language. Dutch is a language that’s spoken mainly in Europe
but also in a few other places around the world. It has 23 million native speakers and around 28 million
speakers in total, including second language speakers. It is most widely spoken in the Netherlands
where it has around 16 million native speakers. It is also spoken by around 60% of the population
of Belgium, mostly in the northern region of Flanders. That’s around 6.5 million people It’s also spoken by a small number of people across
the border in French Flanders, which lies adjacent
to Belgium. But only around 20,000 people there
still speak it on a regular basis. It is also spoken in the South American nation
of Surinam where it has around 350,000 native speakers
as well as around 250,000 second language speakers it is also an official language on the island of Aruba, along with the language papiamento. But few of the 100,000 people there actually use Dutch,
even though they all learn it in school. It is also spoken in Curacao where it is spoken
by around 15,000 people as a native language and by many of the other 140,000 people
as a second language. It is also an official language
in Sint Maarten along with English. A couple of thousand people there speak Dutch
but English is actually much more common. There is also Afrikaans, a language spoken
in South Africa and Namibia which is a daughter language of Dutch
and is mutually intelligible to some extent But i’ll leave Afrikaans out for now and I’ll speak
about it in a different video in the future. Dutch is a member of the West Germanic branch
of the Germanic language family, which also includes Afrikaans, Frisian, English
and German, among others. Dutch is one of the languages
that is most closely related to English. Actually, Frisian is more closely related to English
than Dutch is but Dutch is a close second. And a lot of people say that Dutch is
quite similar to German too. In fact, some people say that Dutch lies
somewhere between English and German. Now that’s not a very precise statement
but I think there is some truth to it. The history of Dutch All Germanic languages developed from Proto-Germanic
which was spoken around 500 BCE in northern continental Europe
and also in Scandinavia. By the 2nd century CE, it had begun diverging
into distinct northern, western and eastern dialects. The Western dialect is the ancestor of Dutch
and of all of the West Germanic languages. Variation developed in the Western dialect but all of its
varieties remained intelligible until around the 8th c. CE. But, by then, a series of sound changes have begun
to take place that made Old High German, the ancestor of modern German, much more distinct
from the other West Germanic languages. For more information on German and its history,
check out my video on German right here Old Dutch, also known as Old Low Franconian, remained
unaffected by the changes that affected Old High German. Also unaffected were :
Old Saxon, Old Frisian an Old English But those languages underwent
a different series of sound changes. But again Dutch was mostly unaffected
by these changes too. Middle Dutch Old Dutch developed into Middle Dutch, which was
spoken and written between 1150 and 1500 CE. It was a rich literary period. And literature from this time period is often quite
readable for speakers of Modern Dutch,
because Dutch is quite a conservative language. Middle Dutch developed into Modern Dutch
by the middle of the 16th century. The process of the standardization of Dutch began
in the year 1477 at the end of the Middle Dutch period. The dialects of Flanders and Brabant
were most influential at that time. Then, in the 16th century, the move to standardization
became stronger with the Antwerp dialect
being the most influential. In the year 1637, the first major Dutch Bible translation
known as “Statenvertaling” had been published.
(“Statenvertaling” means “translation of the States”) It had been translated in such a way that people
from all over the country could read and understand it. This Bible was read by nearly everyone and it helped
greatly in the standardization of Dutch. The southern Netherlands, now Belgium and Luxembourg
were separate and under Spanish, Austrian and then French rule. More than half of the people in Belgium spoke a dialect
of Dutch but French was most widely used in public life
in schools, etc… So Dutch remained unstandardized there
until the 19th century, when the Flemish movement started standing up
for the rights of Dutch-speakers. They adopted the same standard
language used in the Netherlands. Nowadays in both the Netherlands and in Flanders,
the northern Dutch-speaking region of Belgium,
the situation is similar. There are a number of spoken varieties of Dutch
as well as a standard language. So the difference lies mainly in pronunciation
of standard Dutch and in the local dialects used. The dialects of Flanders tend to be more conservative
and use more older Dutch vocabulary. Regional languages. There are Dutch dialects but there are
also different regional languages, that are West Germanic languages
and closely related to Dutch, but not as closely related as the dialects
that are considered part of Dutch. Regional languages in the Netherlands include:
– Frisian, in the northern province of Friesland – Low Saxon in the northeast
and there are various dialects of Low Saxon – and Limburgish or East Low Franconian in the southeast. Low Saxon spreads across the border with Germany
and forms part of a dialect continuum between Dutch
and German. If you’ve seen my German video, you know that
the dialects in northern Germany are referred to as
Low German and can be considered a separate language. The Dutch Low Saxon dialects are closely related
to the Low German dialects across the border. This is also true for Limburgish which is related to Franconian dialect spoken across the border in Germany. It should be noted that Dutch dialects
and regional languages are in decline
with standard Dutch becoming more widespread. And with some people speaking a kind of combination
of standard Dutch with some dialectal features. So what is Dutch like? Dutch is not mutually intelligible with English
but you will often notice cognate vocabulary. and at the most basic level,
you will notice similar grammar, if you disregard the details and just look
at the most basic sentences. Occasionally there are sentences in Dutch that might
be strangely familiar to English speakers. For example: This means: “What is pour name?” This means: “My name is Luke” This means: “The bear drank beer” (The guy must have gotten that one in Duolingo) This means: “It is not far” This means: “That is good news” Now, if all Dutch sentences were so similar to English, then the two languages could probably be
quite intelligible with each other. but most Dutch sentences are not that similar to English.
But you will see a lot of cognate vocabulary. Grammar Similar to German, Dutch is a language that places verbs
at the end of the sentence, after the first initial verb. So its underlying structure is basically SOV,
but the first verb is in second position after the subject. So, if there’s only one verb in the sentence,
then it’s basically like SVO. Here’s a sentence with one verb. This means “I am writing a letter”. Word by word, this is like : ” I – write – a – letter ” Just like English, with the verb in second position. Here’s a sentence with two verbs: This means: “I want to give you some goodies”. Word by word, that is
“I – want – you (indirect object) – some – goodies – give”. In this sentence, the first verb is in second position but the next verb comes at the end of the sentence. Nouns Gender When it comes to gender, Dutch traditionally has 3 genders:
masculine, feminine and neuter But, in modern spoken Dutch, the distinction between
masculine and feminine gender has almost become
irrelevant, because they don’t look or sound different. It used to determine which pronoun would be used
to refer to those nouns, whether it’s “he” or “she”, but people generally just use “he” these days. So now the two genders are basically:
common gender and neuter. The noun’s gender agrees with articles as
well as the forms of adjectives PLURAL There are two types of plural endings in Dutch One is “-en” and the other is “-s” There are some – well, not rules but – patterns for when
to use each one but there are a lot of exceptions. So you have words like : Deur – DeurEN =”Door(s)” Boot – BOTEN =”Boat(s)” and you have words like: Sleutel – SleutelS=”Key(s)” Lepel – LepelS=”spoon(s)” A few neuter nouns have a plural form “-eren”.
For example: Kind – KindEREN=”child – children” Cases Dutch used to have noun cases similar to German. There were four cases:
nominative, genitive, dative and accusative. These were part of standard written Dutch until
the 1940s but they were dropped because
nobody use them in speech anymore. There are several different articles in Dutch. There is an indefinite article : “een” And there are definite articles for singular
and for plural nouns. For singular masculine: “de” For singular feminine: “de” For singular neuter : “het” And the definite article for plural for all genders : “de” An interesting thing is there is a negative article: “geen” This is the same for all genders and
for both singular and plural. Verbs There are two verb tenses in Dutch :
past and present, or non past. But saying there are two tenses is kind of misleading,
because, similar to in English, the verb can be used in combination with different auxiliary verbs
to express different meanings. And there are participial forms that can be
used to show passive or continuous actions For example: Here’s a sentence using the simple past: This means “He built a house” So we start with the infinitive “bouwen” And this is the verb stem “bouw”
and this is the past tense form : “bouwde” Now here’s a present perfect sentence:
“Hij heeft een huis gebouwd” This means: “he has built a house” so we start with the infinitive “hebben” and here’s the verb stem : “heb”
and here’s the past tense “heeft” and the second verb is a past participle This is formed by adding the prefix “ge-” and the suffix “-d” Notice again that the second verb is at the end of
the sentence, even though the first verb is
in second position after the subject. There are three different ways to
express the future tense: One of them is to use this auxiliary verb “zullen”
This means something like “shall” or “will”. The sentence means “I will do it tomorrow”. You can also use this verb
meaning “to go” (“gaan”) plus the infinitive This is similar to using “going to” in English. For example: This means “It’s going to rain” And you can also use the present tense for the future. This means “They won’t come until later” Literally “They come only later” So the verb system in Dutch is rather similar
to the one used in English. The main difference being that any verb
after the first one comes at the end. Pronunciation One of the hardest parts of learning
Dutch might be the pronunciation because there are some sounds
that can be a challenge for learners. And native speakers of dutch seem quite
conscious of the challenges we face. That was kind of an indirect way of saying:
“they think our pronunciation sucks” Some of the sounds that require special effort
are the Dutch G sound. For example: and the sound which “CH” often represents.
For example: Notice that this is the same sound
as the one represented by G. But in other cases, CH represents the “ch” sound and sometimes those sounds come at the beginning of
a word which is a little bit of a challenge but sometimes, they come right after the letter S
like in the word for “school” This sound combination is quite common in Dutch. There are a lot of long words in Dutch.
Some of them can be over 30 characters long. Here are a couple extreme examples: This one means “multiple personality disorder”
and that is 35 characters long. This one means: “preparation activities for a children’s carnival procession” and this is 53 characters long. And Dutch has also has a lot of colorful idioms.
For example: This means “make the cat wise” This means that someone is saying something so
outlandish or unbelievable that even the cat won’t believe it. Another example: This means “he has a beard and his throat”. This idiom describes the situation when a boy
reaches puberty and his voice starts to change. How hard is Dutch to learn? For English speakers, a lot of Dutch will seem strangely familiar. And of course that will help. But there are some issues in learning the pronunciation
as well as the finer details of grammar. But maybe the hardest thing about learning Dutch is that
Dutch speakers usually speak English very well. So it will be hard to practice. When you try to speak Dutch with people,
they will probably answer you in English. But you can solve that problem by taking
some lessons or doing a language exchange and practicing on your own until you
a fairly good level and have a fairly good base Then, after that, you can speak to people in Dutch
without totally pissing them off. The question of the day for native speakers of Dutch: How well can you understand the speakers
of regional languages that are related to Dutch? Languages like Frisian or Low Saxon. And for people who have studied Dutch: What was
your experience with trying to learn and practice Dutch? How do people respond to you?
Did they answer you in English? What was the best way for you
to learn and practice Dutch? Leave your answers and your comments down below. Be sure to follow Langfocus
on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram. And thanks again to all of my patreon supporters
for your wonderful contributions every month. Thank you for watching and have a nice day.

80 Replies to “The Dutch Language”

  • I am a frisian and no one can understand me from noord-Holland or Limburg Belgium etc but You got something wrong in the far past Friesland was vriesland and it was bigger it contained Groningen and noord/south Friesland in Germany idk witch one…
    Frisian is a own lanquage it isn’t a dialect

    Groningers jullie moeten nu niet gaan zeggen dat dat niet klopt want je moet het toch een keer gaan zien dat het klopt xD

  • Limburgs and friesch are for me as a native dutch speaker impossible to understand or even to read, i can sometimes pick out a few words but thats about it

  • I’m Dutch and I mostly can understand some stuff of the regional languages. That’s mostly because I have a very broad background in languages that I’ve learnt at school (Besides Dutch and English, also French, German, Latin and Ancient Greek). I don’t control these languages all fluently (by far not), but with the background, you can see a language pattern and so I can actually understand quite some Spanish, Italian, Scandinavian languages, and so on. Frisian is a very easy language to understand (English + Dutch = Frisian. I don’t speak it, but I understand songs and such for big parts) but Frisian is a language and not a dialect. Limburgian (I’m sorry, I don’t know how to write these Dutch names in English) is just Dutch while a little in the need of professional speaking help (sorry not sorry) so that’s also kind of easy. But the Anglosaxian, or as we call them, “Tukkers”, to me they just speak complete gibberish. I don’t really think it’s related to German (not in a very special way) but I haven’t analysed it so I’m probably wrong. It just doesn’t sound German to me.
    Fun fact: a lot of Dutch people constantly make jokes about Friesland being unnecessary and that their language just sounds like someone having a stroke. But when I showed some friends of mine, who make those jokes a lot, one of the most famous Frisian songs that is also known in the rest of the Netherlands, they actually liked the song. All those jokes are mostly bluffing: everyone wants to joke about others;)

  • Ik heb Nederlands geleered toen ik Belgie woon… The only way I learnt the language by living in Belgium for some years and taking free language courses, provided as a condition of residence.

  • Dutch was the first foreign language I studied. when I was there, I had no problem in communicating, unlike in Ireland, when one (an obvious tourist) spoke in Irish, they were answered in English. I felt that was a bit rude.

  • in dutch we don’t say ‘i love you’ but ‘wil je een frikandelbroodje? ik hoef niet meer’ and i think that’s beautiful

  • I love how you only need one word about something to do with the Netherlands in your title or the Dutch flag in your thumbnail and 90% of the viewers are dutch

  • Limburgish!! The most beautiful language there is, spoken by 2 million people. The gender of nouns do matter in Limburgish btw

  • 9:03 you also should have talked about " 't kofschip X' because when the stam ends on any of these letters: 'T, K, F, S, C, H, P, X' you do not add a D but a T….

  • You forgot to mention how difficult the pronunciation of ui, eu, au and ou can be for foreigners. Especially ui and eu are difficult for native English speakers, because they don't have similar sounds in English. The au sound is tricky because there are two pronunciations, the one in original Dutch words ('gauw' ) and the one in words of French origin ('bureau')

  • I cannot believe that you left out one of the largest counties on earth and the largest in South America- Brazil. Heb je geslapen in de geografie klas? UFFDA!

  • Trying to teach myself Dutch. When to use "het" and when to use "de" seems completely random to me. I basically flip a coin and hope I'm using the right one (it's usually "de").

  • "Wijs" in "Maak dat de kat wijs." doesn't mean "wise", the verb "wijsmaken" ("Maak … wijs") means lying and having them believe you. Dutch has a lot of words that get different meanings when combined with other words (most often with verbs). If you translate each word separately then yes, "wijs" means "wise", but "wijsmaken" doesn't mean "making wise".
    PS: I hope this explanation makes sense.

  • One more thing; We dutch are really, REALLY good at gluing words together.
    A few examples:
    Pedestrian Crossing > Zebrapad (Literally Zebra and Path)
    Bully > Pestkop (Literally Plague and Head)
    Sandwich > Boterham (Literally Butter and Ham)
    Peanut Butter > Pindakaas (Literally Peanut and Cheese)

  • Here you're only talking about Dutch from the Netherlands when talking about pronunciation etc, which has a disgusting accent that makes it look also we, belgian people, are just some people without manners who can't properly talk

  • In your face lazy americans😼 Dutch is mostly similar to English, why do all Americans have to be too lazy to understand that, english is a Germanic language😊,

  • Just a little sidenote to the "ch"-sound
    You said it's the same sound as a "g" however we do hear it a difference 😉
    It's like a "g" but softer

  • What about west flemish. That isn't standard dutch by a long shot . Limburgs is more closely related to Dutch then that.

  • The Dutch language is not 100 % Netherlands .
    The Dutch language is a mix language with Germaans, English, en About 4.500 Greek Words, and nu the last 20 years more Words like Turks and Marocaine.
    Netherlands are the best to make any copy from orher country’s ..

  • people in high school in the Netherlands with a low level, or VMBO, did not say "mama" or "daddy" as the first word. no, they said: F R I K A N D E L B R O O D J E

  • I have just woken up. I saw the title of this video for the first time several minutes ago: Bahasa Belanda. There is something wrong with my mobile phone. The setting, maybe. Kenapa judul video ini pakai bahasa Indonesia? Aneh!

  • yeah as a native Dutch, it's not hard to understand other dialects but you can only understand 40-60% of Frisian I would say

  • I am dutch and i can say that i can quite wel unserstand flemish, but frisian and Afrikaans are a different thing. Most of the Words and prenounsiatiton look familior bit it is still hard to understand

  • I've always wondered if there's a connection between the Dutch pronounciation of the "ch" or "k" sounds and the Liverpool accent for the 'ck' sound. It sounds so farmliar and as far as I know it's the only English dialect or accent containing a hard G, which is usually very difficult to pronounce for English speakers.

    Also: Dutch speaker here: I find regional dialects extremely difficult to understand. Often I don't understand them at all. I'm talking about the Saksen dialects in the eastern part of the Netherlands primarily but also Flemish is realy hard sometimes if it's regional. Mere accents are usually not that hard. We have something called ABN (or in English GSD: General Standerd Dutch) and most people can speak this besides their regional accents. So it's usually not even a real problem.

  • It's funny but almost all foreigners I came across like the word sowieso and when they say it it also sounds funny. The meaning is quite vage, but you could say it means 'in general' or 'in either way' but is also used as 'certainly'. It has a catchy pronunciation. You could pronounce it like zoweezo.

  • I'm Dutch ⊙﹏⊙(⊙_◎)ミ●﹏☉ミ and half English so if I mix it together I get GERMANY (☞゚∀゚)☞←(>▽<)ノ

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