Dutch language area
is a Germanic language (>link),
which means that it belongs to the same language group as Afrikaans,
Danish, English, Faeroese, Frisian, German, Icelandic, Norwegian,
and Swedish. It is spoken by over 21 million people in Europe: 15
million of them live in the Netherlands, the other 6 million live
in Flanders, which comprises the northern half of Belgium. We can
put these figures into context: there are more speakers of Dutch than
of all Scandinavian languages put together, but more people in Europe
language situation in Belgium is fairly complex in that there are
three official languages: Dutch (in Flanders), French (in the Walloon
provinces), and German (in the east). >>Brussels, the capital, is officially
bilingual (Dutch and French). Not many people abroad realize that
Dutch is the largest language in Belgium, spoken by about 60% of the
population. You should not use the term Flemish (>link)
when referring to the language used in Flanders. Despite some minor
differences in usage, the Flemish and the Dutch share the same standard
language, rely on the same grammar books and dictionaries, and write
according to the same spelling rules.
survived in a number of former Dutch colonies including Suriname,
Indonesia, and the Dutch Antilles. The influence of indigenous languages
and local dialects often led to the emergence of hybrid forms, creoles
(>link) or pidgins
which is spoken in South Africa, originates from the dialect spoken
by the first Dutch settlers in the seventeenth century. It is now
recognized as a separate language. Frisian, the language spoken in
the northern province of Friesland, has also obtained official recognition
as a Germanic language in its own right. The use of Frisian, which
is historically closer to English than Dutch or German, is actively
promoted by the Frisian Academy (@link) [Multilingual website of the Fryske Akademy (Frisian Academy), the research and education centre for Friesland and Frisian].
click (>link) to
see a linguistic map of the Low Countries.
to read more about the different standard languages and dialects spoken
in Belgium [English-language, personal website on Belgian dialects, offering maps, sound files etc].
many (indigenous) standard languages are used in the Netherlands?
your answer (>link)
(>link) to start with the linguistic
history of Dutch.