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William Patten Primary School
Stoke Newington Church Street
London N16 0NX

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020 7254 4014

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Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by around 22 million people. It is the official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles. Dutch is the English name for the language. In Dutch it is called Nederlands.

It is closely related to both English and German. It is also the parent language of Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa. Dutch and Afrikaans are to a large extent mutually intelligible.

One of the major dialect groups of Dutch, Flemish, is spoken in the southwestern Netherlands and the northern half of Belgium.

For many English speakers, basic Dutch, when written, looks recognizable, but the pronunciation may be markedly different. This is true especially of the letter <g>, which is pronounced as “ch” as in Scottish “loch”.

Like English, Dutch includes words of Greek and Latin origin.The Dutch vocabulary is one of the richest in the world with a huge proportion originally coming from German.

The following are a few of the many Dutch words used in English:

cookie, cockatoo, coleslaw, knickerbocker, boss, yacht, easel, waffle

  • Santa Claus is from the Dutch Sinterklaas (St Nicholas), a bishop in Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) who became a patron saint for children.
  • Although Anne Frank was German, she wrote her famous diary in Dutch when she was living in Holland after her family fled there from Germany during the Second World War. She wrote in her diary “My first wish after the war is that I may become Dutch! I love this country, I love the language and I want to work here.”