With similar Germanic origins to English, some Dutch phrases are easily understandable. There's no need for a phrasebook if someone in an Amsterdam nightclub asks you "Wil je met me dansen?"
Around 28 million people speak Dutch: outside of the Netherlands it is most commonly encountered in Belgium (Flanders), the islands comprising the Dutch Caribbean (such as Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten) and the former colony of Suriname in South America. In addition, around 15-20 million people in southern Africa speak Afrikaans - which is linguistically close enough to its parent language that a working knowledge of Dutch should get you by. (Although as with Dutch and German, the opposite may not always be necessarily the case).
There are excellent employment prospects with Dutch. As recent labour market intelligence by the University Council of Modern Languages (UCML) points out, UK industry demand by far exceeds the supply of graduates with Dutch! The Netherlands and Belgium are also among the largest trading partners of both the UK and the US.
Levels offered: Dutch
You have little or no prior knowledge of Dutch.
You can manage in basic situations using the present tense.
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Greeting: "Goedemorgen" (good morning)
Counting: één, twee, drie, vier, vijf...
Useful phrase: "Spring maar achterop!" (literally "jump on behind me") - an invitation to ride on the rear carrier of a bicycle (in Leicestershire parlance: a croggy).
Interesting points: The Dutch language, like English is also guilty of ‘stealing’ words, especially from French and Hebrew, as well as from several other languages. Given that the Dutch ruling classes historically spoke French to one another, many French words have filtered through into the lexicon. Among many others, Dutch words of French origin include: "au pair" (nanny), "bouillon" (broth), "bureau" (desk or office), "humeur" (mood), "jus d’orange" (orange juice) and "pantalon" (pants). Even some Hebraic words have also made it into Dutch as street slang, including: "bajes" (jail), "geinig" (funny), "jatten" (steal), "mazzel" (lucky) and "tof" (cool).
Nowadays, Dutch finds itself influenced by the variety of cultures that speak it and the multi-enthic society of the Netherlands. You might hear street slang comprised of Moroccan, Surinamese, and Antillean words, and of course English is pervasive in all modern genres of Dutch, especially social media language and in texting abbreviations.