I probably should have skipped Dutch.
I thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt due to its resemblance of German. But nah … I still didn’t like it. If anything, I would rather learn Afrikaans, which I might have to reconsider.
SUMMARY: Dutch is spoken by about 30 million people worldwide, mostly in the Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba and Suriname. It’s a descendant of Old Frankish, which comes from Low German. In a nutshell, Old Frankish, spoken in what is now the Netherlands, split in half by the northern and southern dialects, with the northern ones being called Old Low Frankish, also known as Old Dutch. Middle Dutch saw a cluster of dialects and was later standardized, leading to Modern Dutch. Dutch from the 1600s (which saw the advent of the Dutch Bible) differs little from Dutch spoken today.
FINAL IMPRESSIONS: I wonder if Dutch is like German in disguise? Maybe so, considering that vocabulary is 75 percent the same. From listening to it, it sounded like German except softer, with the exception of the “g” sound which seemed to stand out a lot. And of course, the double vowels stand out quite a bit in written, along with the “lj” digraph, which sounds like an English “ay.”
As for grammar, I consulted the resources located at Indo-European Languages, a really great site for language beginners. Apparently, it’s not so bad for English speakers. All nouns are either common or neuter; common nouns use the article “de” while neuter ones use “het”, both of them meaning “the.”
Conjugation is also easy because most Dutch verbs are regular. They end in -en and follow this pattern (using the verb roken, which means “to smoke”):
Ik rook – I smoke
U rookt – you smoke
Hij/Ze rookt – he/she smokes
Wij roken – we smoke
Jullie roken – you (all) smoke
Ze roken – they smoke
The “I” form just takes the stem of the infinitive (with a minor spelling change), while the “you” and “he/she” forms add a -t. All the plural forms are just the infinitive.
As for word order Dutch, like closely related Afrikaans, is a V2 language, which means the verb must always come second or rather after the subject it relates to (even if the subject is a cluster of words). Words are negated by adding niet at the end of clauses (Ik rook niet, “I don’t smoke”). However, nouns use the negative indefinite article geen, which roughly translates as “no” “not a” or “not any” when it comes after a noun (for example, Ik wil geen kopje koffie, “I don’t want a cup of coffee”).
As for the major differences between Afrikaans and Dutch, Afrikaans doesn’t use definite articles has the definite article “die” (the) for all nouns while Dutch uses “de” and “het” as mentioned before. Also, the “lj” translates to a “y” in words. The are also differences in vocabulary and as noted before, Dutch speakers would have more difficulty understanding Afrikaans than the other way around, even though both languages are mutually intelligible.
With all this being said, I’m not sure why I tuned into Afrikaans and was turned off by Dutch. Conjugation is slightly easier because verbs don’t conjugate in the present tense. Also, Afrikaans doesn’t have definite articles. But they both sound the same to me … hmm. I just know I don’t want to pursue Dutch at all.
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