Online sightseeing of The Netherlands.
I speak Dutch – Dutch as a language
The English Dutch, the Dutch dietsch, and the German deutsch are cognate words. They have the same etymological origin, deriving from the Common West Germanic theodisca, which meant ‘(language) of the (common) people’. Nobility all spoke Latin. Theodisk in Dutch has become two forms: duits, meaning German, and diets meaning something closer to Dutch but no longer in use.
The English word Dutch has also changed with time. It was only in the early 1600s, with growing cultural contacts and the rise of an independent country, that the modern meaning arose, i.e., ‘designating the people of the Netherlands or their language’. Prior to this, the meaning was more general referred to any German-speaking area or the languages there (including the current Germany, Austria, and Switzerland as well as the Netherlands).
The Dutch language is closely related to German and English and is sort of in the middle of them. Dutch grammar is very like the English language. Words and the order of words in a sentence is closer related to German. Dutch has one additional character beyond the standard alphabet, the digraph IJ. It has a lot of doubled letters, both vowels and consonants. This is because we connect a lot of words together and to distinguish the many vowel sounds in the Dutch language. An example of five consecutive doubled letters is the word voorraaddoos (supply box).
Where is Dutch spoken en who understands whom?
Dutch is an official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname and Dutch Antilles. Dutch comes in many dialects, but still understandable. Each dialect in The Netherlands is named after the province spoken in. The Dutch spoken in Belgium we call flemish.
When Dutch farmers settled in South-Afrika they brought the Dutch language with them. The isolation from the rest of the Dutch-speaking world made the Dutch as spoken in Southern Africa evolve into what is now Afrikaans. Dutch and Afrikaans speaking people can still understand each other (with some effort!).
Although Dutch is related to English and German, all three languages are completely different. Dutch people already learn English and German at a young age in school and can therefore often speak these languages.
The word ‘Dutch’ is often used in English expressions like: Go Dutch, Double Dutch, Dutch Oven , Dutch Auction, Dutch Cocoa and Pennsylvania Dutch.
The last one -Pennsylvania Dutch- has nothing to do with the Dutch language. It comes from old German and was spoken by the mennonite immigrants from south-west Germany and Switzerland who moved to the USA. It’s the language spoken by the Amish.
Meaning of the other English expressions with the word ‘Dutch’ you can find in www.wisegeek.com.
I am Dutch – Dutch as a person
Dutch people are people living in the Netherlands, speaking the Dutch language. How they stand and from other cultures and what makes them typically Dutch? I’ll save that for a next blog. 🙂