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Difference Between Dutch and German

dutchDutch vs German

Dutch is a Germanic language spoken in numerous European territories. Countries that speak Dutch as a native language are Belgium, Netherlands and Suriname. There are smaller communities as well, in France and Germany, as well as many former colonies of the Dutch, that use it as a first language. The Dutch language is very similar to various West Germanic languages, for instance, German and English. It gave rise to many other creole languages, including one of the official languages spoken in South Africa, Afrikaans.

Like Dutch, German is also a West Germanic language that is closely related to English. In Europe, it is the first language spoken in Germany and Austria, and amongst a large section of the natives in Switzerland. There are other communities outside of Europe that widely speak German, especially in the US, Canada, Argentina and Brazil.

Roughly speaking, Dutch lies somewhere between German and English (Germanic). There are some conspicuous similarities between the vocabularies of English and Dutch, as well as between Dutch and German. Letters that are identical in Dutch and German are pronounced more or less the same, except that German has a variation in pronouncing some letters, for instance, when speaking German, an aspirate is used for the letter ‘K’, whereas for Dutch, aspiration is not used. Also, ‘S’ in German is pronounced between ‘S’ and ‘Z’, and ‘G’ as ‘gamma’ just like in Greek, but in Dutch it is ‘kh’.

That said, however, certain regional dialects in German make use of Dutch pronunciation, or speak only Dutch, as they find it easier than German. In German, it is claimed that there are very complex declensions, subjunctive tenses and pronoun usage. Whereas Dutch has only one rudimentary case, German has four. Dutch pronunciation is quite straight forward, with most of the consonants sounding English-like, apart from just a few exceptions. However, there are aspects of the language that make it seem hard, especially to English speakers, like spelling, and the way vowels should be placed..

Like German, Dutch has got a lot of guttural sounds, especially ‘ch’ and ‘g’. The two sound quite similar, a lot like the ‘ch’ in ‘bach’. Speaking these sounds means that you have to manipulate your mouth and throat, which can be a bit odd at first.

Summary:
1. Dutch is the first language in Belgium, Netherlands and Suriname, while German is the first language in Germany and Austria.
2. German pronunciation, for some letters, uses aspiration, whereas Dutch does not, e.g. for the letter K.
3. German has got more complicated declensions and subjunctive tense, while Dutch is perceived as simpler.
4. German has got four cases, while Dutch has one rudimentary case.


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4 Comments

  1. Great article. Being a persnickety English speaker and writer, I find it odd that you chose to write “has got” instead of “has.” Any reason? Is that a personal dialect choice?

  2. I have to disagree here with the assertion that Afrikaans is a ‘creole’. It is Dutch-derived, yes, and it has been influenced in some ways by African languages; but it is in its own right a separate language, with its own codified grammar and regulation body.

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