The official and national language of the Netherlands is Dutch. Dutch is an Indo-European language, belonging to the West Germanic group of languages which falls under the category of the Low Franconian languages. The language has 26 letters in its alphabet, 21 consonants, and 5 vowels. Dutch is a close relative of both the German and English language. The vocabulary of Dutch is mostly Germanic and includes slightly more Romance loan compared to German.

Dutch is spoken by almost everybody in the Netherlands. Dutch, after English and German, is the third most popular Germanic language in England and Germany. Dutch is spoken by over 22 million people all around the world as either a first or second language. In Netherlands, about 80% of the population speak Dutch as either there first or second language. The Dutch Sign language, which is still awaiting national recognition, has approximately 17,500 users in the country.

Most Dutch vocabulary is of Germanic origin. About 20 % of Dutch vocabularies are loan words. It has highly borrowed words from English, German, and Latin. The Latin Script is used in the writing of Dutch language. Keeping syntax and word morphology in mind, Dutch has a great similarity to the German language. Dutch uses the same word order as German, Subject-object-verb.

English is the most widely spoken of all the minority languages in the Netherlands. In fact, some municipalities such as Amsterdam recognize English as an official language after Dutch. English is an official language of in the municipalities of Saba and St Eustatius. Most education in Saba and St Eustatius is conducted in English. Approximately 90 % of Dutch natives can sustain a conversation in English. Other common minority languages spoken in the Netherlands include German, French, and Spanish. West Frisian, which is spoken by approximately 453,000 people in Netherlands, is recognized as an official language of Frisian Province. Papiamento is an official language spoken in the special municipality of Bonaire.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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