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Are You In Dutch?

Last updated May 20, 2014.



Improve your own language by learning more about foreign languages.
The Dutch language and the English language belong to the same language group: the Low German branch of the West Germanic group of Indo-European Languages. Because of that development, despite the way that Dutch may sound to the English "ear", Dutch and English are much more closely related than German and English. In other words, Dutch and English look more alike than sound alike.
Meanings of the following words are often mixed:
Holland and the Netherlands, Dutch, Deutsch, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Hollandaise sauce. Here's the scoop:

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands.
Dutch is the English word for the language that people who live in The Netherlands speak.
Dutch is one of the three official languages of Belgium, the other languages are French and German.
** Dutch is almost identical to the standard form of Flemish, but don't tell a Belgian that.
Dutch is also an ancestor of Afrikaans, a language spoken in South Africa.
Dutch and Papiamento is are the official languages of Aruba, one of the islands of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean.
Dutch is the offical language of Suriname, located in the northeast of Brazil.
English is the primary foreign language that Dutch students learn in schools.
'Nederlands' is the Dutch word for the language that Dutch people speak. Try saying 'nay dur lunts' and you're getting close.
Scholars like to use the term 'Netherlandic' when they talk about Dutch because scholars have bigger word processors.
'Hollands' is a Dutch word that some Dutch people use to refer to their language. Try saying ' 'hol lunts' and you're close.
'Deutsch' is the German word for the language that Germans speak.
'Duits' is the Dutch word for 'Deutsch' - the German language.
Pennsylvania Dutch has nothing to do with Dutch and everything with the United States and German settlers.
Pennsylvania Dutch refers to language and as well as to the people who settled in Pennsylvania.
Hollandaise is a 'Dutch' sauce.
Papiamentu, a Creole language spoken in the "ABC" Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) has Dutch influences.
Sranan, a Creole language spoken in Surinam has Dutch influence as well.
English is the language of choice in foreign language study in The Netherlands. In other words, English-only speakers will not be at a loss of words when visiting The Netherlands.

** Updated January 29, 2010:
The question of whether Flemish is a Dutch dialect or a separate language is of some debate. Furthermore, there is no standard form of Flemish, towns in Flanders having their own dialects and all these dialects together are called Flemish. What may lend to confusion, as stated above, the official language is Dutch, but is often referred to by its inhabitants as Flemish. "The Flemish Movement (Dutch: Vlaamse Beweging) is a popular term used to describe the political movement for emancipation and greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders, for protection of the Dutch language, and for the over-all protection of Flemish culture and history." Source: Wikipedia: Flemish Movement
For more information, see Wikipedia: Languages of the European Union

Some English words with Dutch origins are:

boom, boss
coleslaw, cookie
deck, dope
easel, etch
Santa Claus, smuggler, sloop, snoop, spook

History of the Word YANKEE Yankee is a word dating from the 18th century. See if you can figure it out how the word came into use....
A lot of Dutch settlers in New England were called "Jan", the Dutch equivalent of "John". The Dutch ate and still do eat a lot of "cheese". The Dutch word for cheese is "kaas".... In other words, imagine being surrounded at a Greenbay Packers' football game with the cheese heads but it's 1776.
By the way, to all lexicographers, don't bother writing in, this is the currently favoured explanation for the origin of this word (See note #1). All judges' decisions are final.
The 12 provinces of The Netherlands are:
The Netherlands is the official name for what most Americans commonly refer to as "Holland". The Netherlands is made up of provinces or states:

North Brabant
North Holland
South Holland
Overijsel (Twente!)

Notice that 'Holland' is the name used in two of the 12 provinces: North Holland and South Holland.
This is similar to the Carolinas or the Dakotas in the USA: North Carolina and South Carolina; North Dakota and South Dakota. When we use the name 'Holland' for the Netherlands it is equivalent to calling the United States of America using just one of the names of one of its 50 states: say Carolina, Florida, or New York. Most people who live in either North or South Holland don't seem to mind when they find out someone who lives outside of their provinces uses the name 'Holland' to refer to the entire country.
In case you're confused, don't worry. The distinction is becoming less critical.The people in North Holland and South Holland can't do too much about the improper usage.
There are some terms in which the adjective 'Dutch' has derogatory meanings. The use of this meaning supposedly dates back to the days when the British and Dutch were not on speaking terms. The following are some examples of derogatory meanings with 'Dutch':

Are You In Dutch?
If someone asks you to go out for lunch some where and they tell you it's
Dutch treat it means that you pay your own way and they pay their own way. (some treat...)
If someone says you have Dutch courage
you will need to get your blood alcohol level tested. It was used to describe someone who has imbibed too much and feels his oats. This supposedly comes from time when Dutch sailors defeated the English, and was used by the English as an explanation for the loss.
If someone says you are speaking double Dutch you are speaking something they do not understand. It is a slang term for something twice as hard as a language which is already considered difficult to learn. (Note #1)
If your house has Dutch doors you probably live on a farm. They are those doors you see at coat check counters. They are only half doors.
A Dutch uncle is a stern and reproving person, usually the pragmatist in the group.
If you are in Dutch you have gotten into trouble with someone. It is not usually serious.
If your Dutch is up you have gotten your dander up.
If you go to a Dutch auction you don't want to be the first to bid. At a Dutch auction, the prices drop until someone buys....
When you use two jump ropes, you are jumping double Dutch
style. Since a single jump rope is difficult enough for many people, jumping double Dutch is harder. This is similar to speaking double Dutch.

If you want to continue this course of study, why not drop in on the Michiganders? Check out their Dutch course.
The folks at Calvin maintain a selection of links pertaining to things Dutch and also sites with online Dutch lessons.
See here for more on the Dutch role in American History. The United States of America and the Netherlands Index By George M. Welling

Note #1. Source: The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford University Press, New York, 1992, editor Tom McArthur.

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Did you know that November 16, 1995 was designated as The Official Dutch-American Day in Tampa, Florida by none other than the Honorable Mayor Dick Greco, of Tampa? (Tampa Tribune, University Section, November 13, 1995). Print your own copy of the proclamation!
Contact Sammy

Updated: May 20, 2014. A tip of the hat to just a few individuals who have take the time to write me and offered some corrections to my long ago fractured Dutch:
Hartelijk bedankt, P.C. of U Hasselt;) March 18, 2008
Veel dank voor een correctie van Erik W, December 26, 2009
Veel dank voor correcties van Willem van L, January 29, 2010