Dutch is spoken by about 28 million people as a native language. The vast majority are in the Netherlands and Belgium but it is also an official language in Suriname, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. Notable minorities of Dutch speakers exist in Indonesia. It also evolved into Afrikaans in South Africa; the two languages remain mutually intelligible to a high degree.
Due to its Germanic roots, which are shared with English, Dutch is reckoned to be one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Much of the vocabulary is easily recognizable (e.g. appel, tomaat, spook, glas, drillen, etc.) and the grammar is more simple than German.
Roughly 10% longer than English.
Spoken dialects can be very different but are in decline in the Netherlands. Flemish is a variant of Dutch spoken in Flanders, Belgium, but the variant of Dutch spoken in Belgium is still called “Dutch”. In some cases terminology can be different – an oft-cited example is that Dutch speakers in Belgium will sometime use “fourchette” (the French word for “fork”) instead of the Dutch “vork” due to the influence of French in Belgium.
Notable Grammar and Spelling Differences
Capitalization: Similar to English. However, be careful with digraphs like “IJ” which used to be one letter: “Y”. In names beginning with this digraph you will see both letters capitalized, e.g. IJsselmeer, IJmuiden.
Quotation marks: Usually low to high: „ ”
Numbers: The comma is used where English would use the decimal point and vice versa, e.g. 5.5 (English) = 5,5 (Dutch), but 5,000 (English) is 5.000 (Dutch).
For more information contact us here: Dutch Translation Services.