How similar is Dutch to English

Dutch or Flemish - what's the difference?

Many assume that the same Dutch is spoken in both the Netherlands and Belgium. However, this is not the case. Because there are some notable differences between Dutch and Flemish. In writing it does not differ much from Dutch. In the sound and vocabulary, however, there are certainly some discrepancies. In this article, we want to bring you closer to some of these differences.

Two different languages?

Belgium and the Netherlands are neighboring countries with their own structures and languages. While there is only one official language in the Netherlands, Belgium has three official languages. These are French, German and Dutch. The Dutch spoken in the northern part of Belgium is also called Flemish. This has some notable differences from ordinary Dutch. It can best be compared with Standard German and Austrian-German. The languages ​​sound different and have peculiarities, but in general they understand each other very well.

Examples of linguistic differences

There is a significant difference in the way people are addressed. What is commonplace for the Belgian often sounds formal and old-fashioned to a Dutchman. Dutch people differentiate between the more informal “jij / je” (du) and the polite “u” (you). Belgians usually call their counterparts with “u”, even children often address their parents with “u”. The Dutch find this too formal. Another example from everyday life is the word for the unpopular radar control, which we also call speed cameras. In Dutch they say “flitser”, which would be a direct translation from German. In Flemish one speaks of “vallende sterren”, which translates as “falling stars”.

Other terms can also cause confusion. Widespread in the Netherlands, for example, is serving rusks with a sweet topping for the baptism of a child, which is known as "beschuit met muisjes" (roughly rusks with mice ’). In Belgium, on the other hand, a sugar-glazed treat is served, which is known as a "doopsuiker" (roughly "baptismal sugar"). Something that is great or beautiful is what the Belgians would call “plezant”, although for the Dutch it is “leuk”. The truck is called “Vrachtwagen” in Dutch, but “Camion” in Flemish. There are many other examples of differences between Dutch and Flemish, but it is beyond the scope of this article to list them all. Therefore we leave it with these examples and hope that we were able to give you a brief insight into the most important differences between these languages.

Dutch and Flemish - have it translated?

As you can see, the differences between Dutch and Flemish can be quite big. So should you have important texts translated, where the correct tone and the correct technical terms are important? The answer is yes. As with all translations, small differences in the use of words can have big consequences. However, if you want to translate short, informal and non-subject-specific texts from Dutch into Flemish or vice versa, it sometimes makes more sense to save yourself the professional translation. And yet, note that not all Dutch are always Flemish and do not be surprised if some confusion does arise in the communication between Dutch and Flemish people.

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