Dutch language

Dutch (Nederlands [ˈneːdərlɑnts] (listen)) is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language[4] and 5 million people as a second language, constituting most of the population of the Netherlands (where it is the only official language countrywide)[5] and about 60% of the population of Belgium (as one of three official languages).[2][3][6][7] It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Pronunciation[ˈneːdərlɑnts] (listen)
Native toNetherlands and Flanders
RegionNetherlands, Belgium, Suriname;
Additionally in Aruba, Curaçao, Indonesia, Sint Maarten and French Flanders
Native speakers
25 million (2021)[1]
Total (L1 plus L2 speakers): 30 million (2021)[2][3]
Early forms
Signed Dutch (NmG)
Official status
Official language in
 European Union
Regulated byNederlandse Taalunie
(Dutch Language Union)
Language codes
ISO 639-1nl
ISO 639-2dut (B)
nld (T)
ISO 639-3nld Dutch/Flemish
Dutch-speaking world (included are areas of daughter language Afrikaans)
Distribution of the Dutch standard language and Low Franconian dialects in Europe
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A Dutch speaker

Outside the Low Countries, it is the native language of the majority of the population of Suriname where it also holds an official status, as it does in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and are located in the Caribbean. Historical linguistic minorities on the verge of extinction remain in parts of France[8] and Germany, and in Indonesia,[n 1] while up to half a million native speakers may reside in the United States, Canada and Australia combined.[n 2] The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have evolved into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language[n 3] which is spoken to some degree by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia.[n 4]

Dutch is one of the closest relatives of both German and English[n 5] and is colloquially said to be "roughly in between" them.[n 6] Dutch, like English, has not undergone the High German consonant shift, does not use Germanic umlaut as a grammatical marker, has largely abandoned the use of the subjunctive, and has levelled much of its morphology, including most of its case system.[n 7] Features shared with German include the survival of two to three grammatical genders—albeit with few grammatical consequences[n 8]—as well as the use of modal particles,[9] final-obstruent devoicing, and a similar word order.[n 9] Dutch vocabulary is mostly Germanic and incorporates slightly more Romance loans than German but far fewer than English.[n 10]

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