Language facts: Flemish

Flemish, or Vlaams in Dutch, is the standard Dutch variant spoken in the Belgian region of Flanders by around 6.1 million speakers, sometimes also referred to as Southern Dutch. It includes several dialects, all of which (depending on who you ask) are interrelated with the southwestern dialects of Dutch. 

Differences between Flemish and Dutch

Flemish, or Vlaams, is actually highly similar to the Dutch language used in the Netherlands. The official language in Belgium's Flemish region is indeed Dutch, and along with German and French you then have the country's three official languages. In essence, the Dutch languages are the same, and the only main differences are in pronunciation and frequency of some words. Because certain expressions (around 3-4,000) are more frequent in Belgian Dutch, many people refer to the language as Flemish, however, the words are really part of standard Dutch. There are no spelling differences between Dutch in Belgium and Dutch in the Netherlands.

Dutch pride

However, in actual practice, many Dutch nationals often question Dutch text content when they find it 'suspicious' or slightly off. This is probably a natural reaction and similar to what Germans things of Austrian and Swiss German: it simply sounds wrong.

Loan words in Dutch

In case of loan words, interestingly, Flemish speakers tend to apply Dutch pronunciation, whereas speakers in Netherlands maintain the original foreign pronunciation. Compared to Dutch, Flemish has also adopted many more loan words from French. The main difference between the languages is exposed in informal usage though. The pronunciation, slang expressions, and also common phrases can be very different, so different that Dutch television programs are sometimes even subtitled in Belgium and vice versa.

Alphabet

The Flemish alphabet is identical to the Dutch alphabet. The most frequently used letter is "e". Also, notice the unique IJ character.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y IJ Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y ij z

Language facts: Dutch

Dutch is a West Germanic language primarily used in the Benelux region and an official EU language. It is closely related to other West Germanic languages (e.g., English, West Frisian and German) and somewhat more remotely to the North Germanic languages. Because of former ownership of colonies on the African continent, Dutch has considerably influenced Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa and the most widely understood language in Namibia. 

Nowadays the language is spoken by 24 million people around the world, primarily in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, where Dutch is one of the official languages, next to French and German. The Belgian version of Dutch is often referred to as Flemish (Vlaams), which covers a group of Dutch dialects with slight differences from standard Dutch. But what are the differences exactly?

Difference between Dutch and Flemish

Flemish, or Vlaams in Dutch, is the standard Dutch variant spoken in the Belgian region of Flanders, with approximately 6.1 million speakers. It includes several dialects, all of which are interrelated with the southwestern dialects of Dutch. The main differences are in pronunciation and frequency of certain words. Because certain words (around 3-4,000) are more frequent in Belgian Dutch, many refer to the language as Flemish, however the words are indeed part of standard Dutch. These different Flemish-preferred expressions are often considered as "old-fashioned" in Dutch. A slightly more old-fashioned sense of Flemish in comparison with Dutch is underlined also by a more formal tone of communication among speakers of Flemish. While Dutch people tend to switch from formal to informal tone rather quickly, Flemish speakers use more formal expressions (for which they are sometimes considered cold or unpleasant). However, there are no spelling differences between the Dutch language used in Belgium and the Dutch one used in the Netherlands. 

Alphabet

In addition to the standard English alphabet, Dutch ends with (…) X Y IJ Z. The alphabet is shared also with the Flemish dialects.

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y IJ Z

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y ij z

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