If you’re thinking about learning Dutch it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Dutch language facts:
The Dutch language is a West Germanic language derived from the Frankish language, which also influenced Old French. The earliest documents written in Dutch date from the 12th century.
There are 28 million Dutch speakers worldwide, including 22 million native speakers. Dutch is mostly spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium, where it has official status, as well as in the Dutch Antilles and Suriname.
Several Dutch words made it into English, often via the Dutch colons settling in the American colonies in the 17th century. Examples of Dutch loanwords include apartheid, bamboo, bazooka, blink, bluff, brandy, coleslaw, cookie, cruise, drill, gherkin, gin, iceberg, Santa Claus and waffel.
As a Germanic language, Dutch has numerous compound words, that is words created by adding up several smaller words. Such words include:
Dutch has incorporated many foreign words. Borrowed words actually account for 75% of Dutch, with most words originating from French. Many of these still have the same spelling as in French, for example capuchon (“hood of a coat”), chantage (“blackmail”), horloge (“clock”), jus d’orange (“orange juice”), pantalon (“trousers”), and plafond (“ceiling”).
Cactus offers Dutch Group Evening Language Courses in London, and private and corporate Dutch language tuition throughout the world. For information on our courses check our Language Course Questions page, call us on 01273 830 960 or email us. Our multilingual team will be happy to answer any question you may have.