Test Driving Languages – Dutch

Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svgThe next language to take a look at is one that is probably closest to English than any other language (other than Scots). It’s the native language of The Netherlands, and is also spoken in several other places, such as Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and is also the mother language of Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa and Namibia. Considering it’s similar to English, it’s said to be one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Let’s find out.

Ik ben een man.

— I am a man.

Alphabet

Basically the same as in English. There are a few accents, though. But quite easy.

Pronunciation

For an English speaker, the pronunciation based on the spelling takes a little getting used to. It’s not as expected. For example, “j” has a “y” sound. The vowels can sound different than expected, as well. It’s not as straightforward as some of the Romance languages, but I think I can get used to it after a short time.

Grammar

Quite similar to English with a few exceptions. Some pronouns have several forms (“zij” and “ze” for “they”, “wij” and “we” for “we”, etc) and nouns have gender. Articles can also be a bit different. “Een” is “a”/”an”, and pronounced similar to “an”. However, the definite article, “the” is either “de” or “het” in Dutch. The rules don’t seem clear for these, so they just have to be remembered. Verb conjugation seems fairly straightforward, though.

Overall Impression

I found it easy to remember the words and grammar, and could translate the very simple introductory sentences into English quite easily. I retained the vocabulary pretty well, and needed little review. I think pronunciation will need the most work. I enjoyed Dutch, and look forward to learning it. I believe I’ll be able to learn it quickly, compared to some other languages.

Have you studied Dutch? Are you interested in it? Let me know in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Test Driving Languages – Dutch”

  1. Your assertion is not strictly true Jay. Our language has more in common with German, French and the Scandewegian languages, (Danish, Swedish and Finnish) which are also Germanic in origin. πŸ˜‰

    1. Huh. Seems I get different information from different sources. I did a search and neither Dutch nor German is closest to English. Turns out it’s Frisian. And Finnish isn’t Germanic, it’s in the Uralic family, which includes Hungarian. But Norwegian is in the Germanic family. Having already looked at that language, I found it very easy to remember.

        1. Yeah, it sounds much more like German than it does to English. I think English has moved away from the other Germanic languages so much because of French influences.

  2. As a native Dutch speaker I find nothing about the language interesting. I may be able to send you a link explaining when to use “de” or “het” but I don’t know if you have a link ban or not. πŸ˜›
    It’s very interesting since I don’t remember learning the rules (I mainly “feel” if it’s right or wrong) but, they are present. πŸ˜‰

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