Learning All About Dutch Grammar
As the national language of the Netherlands, Dutch is also spoken in a number of countries around the world like Belgium, Suriname, and the Dutch Antilles. Although the language used in the Netherlands is referred to by English speakers as “Dutch,” and the language used in Belgium is called “Flemish,” they’re actually the same language. Within the Netherlands, Dutch is often called Hollandish or Netherlandic.
Just as English has grown and changed over the centuries, Dutch has also taken words from other languages, such Hebrew and even French. To those who have not grown up knowing the Dutch language, speaking it for the first time is a rather rough experience, as the consonants and words are very harsh sounding to English speakers.
Germanic Roots Tie English and Dutch Grammar
Unlike Spanish and Italian, which are labeled “romance languages” that have heavy Latin influences, English and Dutch share a common language ancestry as Germanic languages. As a result, there are several words in Dutch grammar that are spelled almost the same in English, although pronunciations may differ. For example, the word “apple” in English is written as “appel” in Dutch and the word “tomato” in English is written as “tomaat” in Dutch.
Additionally, heavy Dutch influences in the Americas in the 1600s meant that several Dutch words were introduced into the English language, further connecting the two languages. Words like “coleslaw” and “cookie” originally came from the Dutch. Interestingly, the Dutch-variant Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa, also contributed words to the English language with words like aardvark and apartheid.
Differences Between English and Dutch
One of the areas where Dutch and English are different is in how articles are used. English simply uses “the” placed before each noun while Dutch has two articles with “de” and “het.” This is somewhat easier than German, which has “der,” “die,” and “das.” In addition to memorizing each noun in the Dutch language, it’s also essential to memorize the article that goes with it to learn Dutch properly.
Another of the differences between Dutch and English is the number of incredible long words in the Dutch language. Like the German language, which has only 1/3 of the words of English, the Dutch language often features a single word where English might use two or three. This means that some words exceed 30 letters. Sometimes a very long word might be a phrase while other long words may represent a single thought that English speakers take a few words to convey. These exceptionally long words are often last on a list of vocabulary lessons used to learn Dutch.
English speakers often hear some similarities when they hear German spoken and then hear a Dutch speaker, but there are some significant differences in pronunciation. In fact, the way words are said in Dutch is so specific for some phrases that the Dutch could identify a native German speaker during World War II just by hearing him speak certain Dutch words that required hard-hitting use of consonants.
Choosing to Learn Dutch
An English speaker who chooses to learn Dutch will fare well with some vocabulary because of the common ancestry between the languages; however, the pronunciation of many words is quite different between the two languages. By choosing to learn Dutch grammar with Babbel, concentrating on those stark alphabetic differences is much easier as we don’t crowd a student’s screen with annoying advertisements and other distractions.
Babbel offers the most effective method for learning Dutch grammar, writing, reading, and pronunciation, for an attractive price that also allows the student to work at his or her own pace. Some students take much longer to take in and learn a language fully, and this is where Babbel excels with flexible lessons and a fun interface. Additionally, you can get any of our mobile apps to keep learning and training while on the go!