The Differences and Similarities Between English and Dutch Language

The Dutch language is considered to have originated in about AD 700 from the various Germanic dialects spoken in the Netherlands region, mostly of (Low) Frankian origin. A process of standardization started in the Middle Ages. Dutch is part of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. It is, therefore, closely related to English, German and the Scandinavian languages. Dutch is spoken as a mother tongue by about 23 million people in the Netherlands, parts of Belgium and in the former Dutch colonies. Grammar rules, similarities, and differences between English and Dutch languages: •Dutch uses the same Latin alphabet as English.

•The Dutch and English sounds systems are similar, so Dutch learners tend to not have significant problems perceiving or producing oral English. Mispronunciation of vowel sounds may occur, however, in minimal pairs such as sit-set / set-sat / caught-coat. Many English words end with voiced consonants, for example /b/ (rub) or /d/ (bird). This feature does not exist in Dutch, so such words may be pronounced rup or birt. The English consonant sound /w/ is also problematic for some Dutch learners, leading them to say vine instead of wine.

•Verb/Tense: The Dutch verb system has similar tenses to English and is similarly uninflected. There are differences, however, that may result in negative transfer. For example, Dutch does not use the auxiliary do in questions or negatives, so beginners may produce sentences such as: Where you come from? / I drink not coffee.

•A more significant problem is the lack of correspondence between the tenses in which certain meanings are expressed in Dutch and the tenses in which those meanings are expressed in English. For example, English requires the past simple where Dutch uses the present perfect or the present perfect where Dutch uses the present simple. Mistakes such as the following are common: I have played chess yesterday / I am in Germany since 2003. Similarly, Dutch uses the present simple where English requires the auxiliary will: I meet you at the gate after school.

•Dutch follows the same basic Subject-Verb-Object as English but there are many differences in the positioning of adverbials. Furthermore, Dutch shares with German the need to invert subject and verb if an adverbial or other element starts the sentence. Like German, it also sends the verb to the end of the clause after modal verbs or if the clause is a subordinate one. Mistakes such as the following are common: I play often chess with my friend / I play everyday chess.

•Dutch uses definite and indefinite articles in much the same way as English. There are some minor differences that may negatively transfer, however. One example: My father is teacher. Dutch does not distinguish between adjective and adverb forms, resulting in interference errors such as She sings very beautiful.

•Differences in punctuation conventions between English and Dutch may result in ‘run-on’ sentences such as: I love Amsterdam, it’s an exciting city; or the unnecessary insertion of a comma in reported speech or sentences with relative clauses: I didn’t know, how to do it.

•Differences in conversation conventions may make the Dutch speaker of English seem uninterested or even impolite. For example: This film is good! – Yes. (instead of Yes it is. / Yes, you’re right.) What I didn’t know about the Dutch language:

At an academic level, Dutch is taught in over 225 universities in more than 40 countries. About 10,000 students worldwide study Dutch at university. The largest number of universities that teach Netherlandic can be found in Germany (30 universities), followed by France and the United States (20 each). Five universities in the United Kingdom offer the study of Dutch. Due to centuries of Dutch rule in Indonesia, many old documents are written in Dutch. Many universities therefore include Dutch as a source language, mainly for law and history students.