Flemish/Dutch: Is one a dialect of the other?

panjabigator

Senior Member
Am. English
How do they label Flemmish a Dialect of Dutch? Why is it not the other way around? Was Nederlands the standard till the Belgians became independent?

Thanks
 
  • Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    I think one obvious reason is that, while the Netherlands became independent in recent centuries (and a colonial power, in fact), Flanders remained subject to Belgium, where, as I understand, French was the preferred language until the 20th century.

    By the way, judging from the Wikipedia's entry on Dutch, the naming of the dialect of Dutch spoken in Belgium is a sensitive issue.
     

    moldo

    Senior Member
    Dutch, Netherlands
    Goede avond allemaal,

    Belgium is divided by a virtual language border. South of this border the language spoken is French. North of this border the language spoken is Dutch.
    When the state of Belgium was created it consisted of a part of the area in which Dutch was spoken. This is the Netherlands in the north.
    The south of Belgium originates from French speaking areas. France is the southern neighbour of Belgium.

    The region in the north is called Vlaams. (Flemish) The south is called Waals.

    So, the Flemish speak Dutch with a certain accent. Not the other was around.

    Dutch is a language which was spoken and written already in the middle ages. The state Belgium was created some 150 years ago.


    Kind regards,

    Moldo
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    panjabigator said:
    Is it actually French or Wallon that is spoken in Belgium?
    Both Wallon and French are spoken on the South, more French now-a- days.
     

    ALOV

    Member
    Belgium- du, fr, eng, sp
    Dutch is a language which was spoken and written already in the middle ages. The state Belgium was created some 150 years ago.

    I think both in the Netherlands and in Belgium people spoke and wrote local variations of Dutch (dialects) since the Middle Ages. I have the impression nowadays Dutch is more uniform in the Netherlands than in Flanders (Belgium). Maybe for two reasons: 1) Netherlands are independant for a longer time, Belgium only since 1830. 2) In the Netherlands is only one language, whereas in Belgium there are two official languages. And as French was the dominant one for almost 100 years in Belgium (first University in Dutch only in 1930!!!), the 'organization' or 'standardisation' of Flemish/ Dutch in Belgium is more recent.
    Today dialects remain both in Belgium and in Holland, depending on the region. It's a very complex situation: there are dialects linked to a region, to 1 city or even 1 village. In fact dialects are never written, they have no grammar, it's spoken language (except chat, e-mail or sms context). Nowadays dialects are getting rarer (contacts with other regions, influence of TV etc.. Most people speak standard dutch but you can still recognize the regional accent. Others speak dialect with family and friends, and standard dutch p.ex. at work.
    In Wallonia (french speaking part of Belgium), French is more uniform as well (influence of France). So unlike Flemish, less people speak Walloon(french dialect) but I heard it's written and has a grammar, and can even be teached.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Wallon is not French but a separate language, it is related to French as Spanish and Italian. See link in my previous post. Belgium has three official languages, approx 1% German.
     

    KingSix

    Member
    Dutch
    How do they label Flemmish a Dialect of Dutch? Why is it not the other way around? Was Nederlands the standard till the Belgians became independent?

    Thanks

    Flemmish can be seen as a collection of variety of dialects. Even though Flanders isn't big, the differences in words and especially pronounciation is enormous. Every province has it's own specific dialect and some are very difficult to understand for a non-native dutchspeaker, heck, it's even difficult for me (I live in Antwerp) to understand someone from East Flanders.
     

    ALOV

    Member
    Belgium- du, fr, eng, sp
    So do the Dutch on the border with Belgium speak the same as the Belgians do on the border? What is taught in school?


    Both in the Netherlands as in Belgium (Flanders), the languange thought at school is Dutch (one grammar, one orthograph etc., some different words). The main difference is pronounciation. You can compare it with Brittish English and American English: movie-film, elevator-lift etc.

    Concerning dialects, there are not only Flemish dialects but also dialects in the Netherlands (someone from Maastricht has a different dialect than someone from Amsterdam). In fact, whole 'dutch speaking zone' is a continuum, there is no abrupt transition between dialects (I think even at the country borders).
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    Is it actually French or Wallon that is spoken in Belgium?

    French in Wallonia is the standard language (or rather, Kultursprache -- I don't know the word in English). However, there are various Romance dialects, one of them being called Walloon, another one Picard.
    For more information: the Walloon language page. Needless to say that within the Walloon-speaking area there are many different varieties.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    How do they label Flemmish a Dialect of Dutch? Why is it not the other way around? Was Nederlands the standard till the Belgians became independent? Thanks
    Depends on what you mean by 'Dutch', I think. If you mean by 'Dutch' a collection of language varieties which share features XYZ, then the answer is yes.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    KingSix

    Member
    Dutch
    In other words, everything is being done in order to complicate the life of a language learner:)

    Considering pronunciation, yes, 'Flemmish Dutch' is different then 'Holland Dutch' (these aren't official terms :)). Especially the 'g' is quite different and in some regions the 'r'.
    Considering vocabulary, not really, as already staded: you can compare it with American
     

    Lugubert

    Senior Member
    The Stockholm University professor of Dutch tells students that anyone overheard referring to the language as "holländska" instead of "nederländska" will be banned for life from her institute.

    It is an official agreement between Belgium and the Netherlands that the predominant language of northern Belgium and the Netherlands is "Nederlands". The differences are to my ears and eyes restricted to a few items of vocabulary and a couple of pronunciation variations.

    The difference between French and Walon, on the other hand, is quite another kettle of fish. They are clearly two different languages. One conspicuous feature of Walon is that it, like the Scandinavian languages and no others that I know of, uses the letter å. Try the link in post #7.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    So when the Belgians and Dutch politicans speak with one another, it would be in their own dialect of Dutch, but it's comparable to say Tony Blair talking with Georgy boy;)
     

    jippie

    Senior Member
    Dutch living in Mexico
    So when the Belgians and Dutch politicans speak with one another, it would be in their own dialect of Dutch, but it's comparable to say Tony Blair talking with Georgy boy;)

    Don't want to complicate things, but Belgians and Dutch speak different forms of Dutch: the same language with the same grammar, just some different words and pronounciation. A dialect is another thing. Dialects are spoken (as said above) per region, per city and per village and their structure is different form the Dutch. I'm from the southern Dutch province of Limburg and I speak (apart from Dutch) the dialect of the region. Someone from the north of the Netherlands doesn't understand me when I speak dialect, but a person from the Belgian province Limburg (that has a similar dialect) does understand most of what I say.
    So: all Flemish and all Dutch speak the Dutch language, which is the official language at school, work, etc. and apart from that some speak their regional dialects. Does this help?
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I think part of the confusion is the fact that in English the word "Dutch" is used to refer both to the language and to the Dutch nationality.

    It would be more useful to refer to the language as "Netherlandic," and to "Dutch" and "Flemish" as two large dialectal groups (cf. "American" and "British"), each consisting of many smaller dialects.

    Unfortunately, however, the term "Netherlandic" is not at all common, so I fear that confusion will continue.
     

    Qcumber

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Flemish Dutch is also spoken on the French side of the border. Cities and towns like Dunkirk, Zuydcoote, Hondeschoote, Steenvoorde, Hazebrouck were Dutch-speaking originally, and a certain number of people still speak Flemish, particularly in the villages.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    I think part of the confusion is the fact that in English the word "Dutch" is used to refer both to the language and to the Dutch nationality.
    It would be more useful to refer to the language as "Netherlandic," and to "Dutch" and "Flemish" as two large dialectal groups (cf. "American" and "British"), each consisting of many smaller dialects.
    Unfortunately, however, the term "Netherlandic" is not at all common, so I fear that confusion will continue.
    That would be a partial solution...

    But the big problem with this thread is the question itself: in 'Flemish' has a different meaning than 'the Dutch as spoken in modern days Flanders, the modern political unit called 'Flanders'. Several people already did their utmost best on this MB to differentiate and explain, but apparantly the confusion goes on and on and on...
    Another major problem is the simple fact that people misuse the terms 'language' and 'dialect' throughout, because they seem to mix all the possible meanings of both terms.


    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    In some cases, dialect DOES mean language. Many people call the indigenous languages of Mexico dialects, without the intention of saying they are related to Spanish.
     

    Frank06

    Senior Member
    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Hi,
    In some cases, dialect DOES mean language. Many people call the indigenous languages of Mexico dialects, without the intention of saying they are related to Spanish.
    "There are no linguistic criteria for differentiating between a language and a dialect (or vernacular or patois)."
    This quote I took from a very clear article which can be found here. The view in that article is shared by most linguists.

    Groetjes,

    Frank
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    The term Vlaams (Flemish) does officially NOT refer to a Flemish language. The language in Flanders is Dutch. Education is in Dutch in all schools. .
    Vlaams can be a historical or a geografical term.
    Van Dale:
    Vlaams = van, betrekking hebbend op, uit, eigen aan Nederlandstalig België of zijn bewoners
    Flemish= having relation to or be proper of Dutch speaking Belgium or its inhabitants.
    No mention of language, other than Dutch...

    The complete definition of Vlaams does nowhere define Flemish as language, and very rightly so. . Flemish as a language or common dialect does not exist. It's unhappy and troublesome that the Flemish themselves tend to refer to it (=Flemish) as a language or a common dialect. "Of kende gij geen Vlaams misschien" ="Or don't you know Flemish perhaps?". Sometimes jokingly used when the other person doesn't seem to understand what is said. Which of course, with all those dialects spoken in Flanders, happens all the time...:D
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    The term Vlaams (Flemish) does officially NOT refer to a Flemish language.
    Wrong. I'd read the complete entry of "Vlaams" in van Dale if I were you.

    In II, it says: Het Nederlands zoals het in Belg. gesproken wordt. = "Dutch as it is spoken in Belgium".
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    I wrongly used the definition of the adjective, the noun has a double meaning indeed:

    Vlaams2Vlaams (geen afbreking)zelfstandig naamwoord • het 1 de taal van de bewoners van Oost- en West-Vlaanderen2 het Nederlands in België•op zijn Vlaamsnaar Vlaams gebruik•uitdrukking in (het) plat Vlaams
    (Dikke Van Dale)

    Nevertheless the Dikke Van Dale (most authoritative Dutch dictionary) marks in its definitions and lemmas the
    kind of language commonly shared and used by all Flemings (as opposed to the Dutch) as "Belgian Dutch" (most of the time BE, short for Belgian ), and not "Flemish". Which tells a lot.

    We are all educated in Dutch, not Flemish. Media communication is in Dutch. I can't use my native Flemish (dialect, definition 1) here, it's ruled out by forum rules.

    Flemish points to and is commonly regarded as a collection of dialects . It's not a separate language. . Wikiwoordenboek is right to call that "the better definition or meaning":

    Vlaams
    •het Nederlands dat in Vlaanderen gesproken wordt, beter: de verzameling dialecten die in Vlaanderen gesproken wordt.
    Gevonden op Vlaams - WikiWoordenboek

    I interpreted "Flemish" always that "better" way.
     
    Last edited:

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Nederlands (België)
    Flemish can refer to:
    -the Dutch dialects spoken in West Flanders, East Flanders, Zeeuws Flanders and French Flanders
    -all Belgian dialects of Dutch
    -an official minority language in France (=the dialect of French Flanders)
    -Standard Dutch with any Belgian accent (that isn't French or German)

    It can mean anything, really.

    @Peterdg: The forum rules disagree :D
     
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