Dutch and Flemish
Posted: 19 December 2007 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was in Brussels and Bruges recently (for the Tottenham v Anderlecht fixture in the UEFA cup) and reading the Flemish adverts and signs around the place made me wonder how similar Dutch and Flemish are. Is the difference more like two dialects than languages or are they less similar than that? Could a speaker of one be reasonably able to understand the other? I noticed bits of Flemish that were very like English (’dank u’, ‘trein kommen in an’) but not enough that I could follow even a simple conversation in Flemish.

Dutchtoo?

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Posted: 19 December 2007 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You nailed it. Dutch and Flemish differ only in some minor dialectal aspects. They are the same language.

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Posted: 19 December 2007 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dutchtoo may grimace, but there was a time, albeit about 6-8 hundred years ago, when Flanders was the predominant region and hence Flemish was the primary dialect in terms of culture, money, and power. Now, of course, Flemish (Vlaams) has to share the stage with French and a smattering of German, within Belgium, so it has a tendency to remain a local dialect.

I remember, BTW, seeing a little Belgian girl in San Francisco airport on the way to Europe who was gripping a large-leafed tropical plant. She said several times: “Regardez cette groot blad!” ("Look at this big leaf!” in a mixture of French and Flemish)

[ Edited: 19 December 2007 08:29 AM by Iron Pyrite ]
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Posted: 19 December 2007 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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True about the Flanders influence - and oddly a lot of them ended up here in Haarlem (in Holland). They brought skill with linen and bleaching and the town ended up quite well off thanks to their efforts, amongst others. The interesting thing is that the equivalent of ‘Received Pronunciation’ or RP here in Holland is the Haarlem accent. May be a bit of an old-fashioned concept, but ironic (or unsurprising?) that accent was also the favoured , ‘proper’ one till recently amongst the Dutch.

If you fancy some more background, there’s a quick overview of the language in this article: The Dutch Language

quote from the article:

The Dutch spoken in Belgium is often referred to as Flemish though in recent times a standardised version has been recognised by both countries (Dutch and Flemish are about as different as UK and American English).

I would only add to that that despite the standardised version, the newspapers in each country have their own rules due to basic vocabulary differences, again as with UK and US English.

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Posted: 21 December 2007 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thankyou Dave, Iron Pyrite and BlackGrey

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