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We offer a professional Dutch to English and English to Dutch language translation service. Here is some information which you will find useful as the Dutch language is full of interesting facts and essential tips when you are looking to communicate effectively in Dutch speaking countries.
Dutch Speaking Countries
LOCATION Western Europe and some Caribbean islands
POPULATION 16 million people in the Netherlands
LANGUAGE FAMILY Indo-European
RELATED LANGUAGES English, German
GLOBAL SPEAKERS 28 million
Interesting facts about the Dutch Language
The Netherlands is the fourth most densely populated country in the world after Bangladesh, Taiwan and South Korea. Economically, the Netherlands is ranked 16th largest in the world and sixth largest in the EU. Over 400 British companies trade in the Netherlands and this sector was worth £24 billion in 2013 to the UK economy. Areas where there are opportunities for UK businesses include, organic food, frozen food products, private label food products, new technologies and renewable energy sources such as offshore wind farms.
Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by over 22 million people as a native language, and over five million people as a second language.
Most native speakers live in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname, with smaller groups of speakers in several former Dutch colonies and parts of France and Germany. It is closely related to other West Germanic languages and somewhat more remotely to the North Germanic languages.
Dutch is the parent language of several creole languages as well as of Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa and the most widely understood in Namibia. The Dutch Language Union coordinates actions of the Dutch, Flemish and Surinamese authorities in linguistic issues, language policy, language teaching and literature.
Comparison of English and Dutch:
Dutch uses the same Latin alphabet as English and the sound systems of both languages are similar. In Dutch, English words within the language are generally accepted. There are also a large number of shared cognates between Dutch and English and also German which show how the three languages are linked.
There are some Dutch language elements which are distinct to English.
Telling the time in Dutch is different to English. In order to say half past you go to the next hour like in German. For example to say: 16.30 you would say ‘half to four’ instead of ‘four thirty.’
In Dutch in order to say ‘twenty to…’ you say ‘ten past the half’. For example: 16.40 would be ‘ten past the half to four’ instead of ‘twenty to four’.
The tenses are also similar to English however their use is sometimes different. Where in English the past simple would be used, Dutch would use the present perfect. But there is no do in questions or negatives.
In terms of word order Dutch has more similarities with German than it does with English. It sends the verb to the end of the clause when infinitives and past participles are used as well as sub-clauses.
For example: “Omdat Jan morgen zijn haar wast.” – Because Jan tomorrow his hair is washing (Because Jan is washing his hair tomorrow).
There is no auxiliary in Dutch to form a question. To create a question the verb will fulfil this task. For example: Eten jullie brood? Eat you bread? (Do you eat bread?)
Adjectives in Dutch are determined by the gender of the noun and the article before it and a strong form of the adjective will be used depending on this. The word ‘the’ in Dutch is ‘het’ for neuter words and ‘d’ for masculine or feminine words. Unlike English which has one definite article ‘the’. The indefinite article – ‘a’ has one form ‘een’. Nouns which are preceded by the indefinite article and are neuter will have a strong adjectival ending.
Het grote huis de grote boom
The big house the big tree
Een groot huis een grote boom
A big house a big tree
De grote huizen de grote bomen
The big houses the big trees