Dutch Language Blog

Dutch between German and English Posted by on Oct 22, 2008 in Dutch Language

Dutch: More like German or more like English?

Dutch is often called the bridge language between German and English. And it is understandable why. In one case Dutch seems very alike German and in the other Dutch seems very alike English. I think it’s both true.

Okay, important differences between Dutch and German you’d have to keep in mind: in Dutch we don’t use cases for noun words. And we don’t have the ‘ringel-s’ à β

Some say that Dutch has an overlay of German likeness due to linguistic influence, but that on a basic level, Dutch is more like English. While others say that Dutch is more like German because like German it is a ‘verb second language’ and sends the finite verb to the end of the sentence in subordinate clauses. I think this is also the case in English though.

In the next few examples, you can clearly see how Dutch is more similar to German one time and more similar to English the next.

ENGLISH: Stop the world, I want to get off!
DUTCH: Stop de wereld, ik wil eraf!
GERMAN: Haltet die Welt an, ich möchte aussteigen!


DUTCH: Ik wil

GERMAN: Ich will

ENGLISH: On the road

DUTCH: Onderweg

GERMAN: Unterwegs

ENGLISH: The other

DUTCH: de andere

GERMAN: das andere

ENGLISH: often

DUTCH: vaak


ENGLISH: sometimes

DUTCH: soms

GERMAN: manchmal


DUTCH: tien

GERMAN: zehn

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  1. letopmannekke:

    Spoken Flemish in particular has an uncanny resonance of Brooklynese.

  2. mark:

    halo yes that make’s sence i find some dutch
    quiet easy it’s the g’s thats the problem
    but am getting there
    doei doei mark

  3. Rebecca:

    Yes, I’am going to have to agree with you when saying that Dutch is closer related with English. There are tons of words in Dutch that are related to English it’s incrediable.

    Dutch: Tim helpt in de keuken
    English: Tim helped in the kitchen

    English: table
    Dutch: stoel
    English:chair, stool
    English: house

    I could probably go on forever. so, I’ll stop now. But before I post this I do have to say that German is does have a similrity with Dutch.

  4. Bart Reemeyer:

    You state “your email is never shared”, but what I believe you mean is “your email address is never shared”

    Significant difference !!
    Bijzonder verschil !!
    Bisonderes unterschied !!

  5. Kevin Chilton:

    As an English expat living in Friesland, I have learned that the original Angles in the Anglo-Saxons were from the greater Friesland that then existed, and that Friesan is in fact one of the roots of English

  6. nancy:


  7. Janna:

    Halo, that is a great site, great

  8. mercy:

    dutch less in a complecated words sometimes is easy but i want to learn more

  9. gyongyi:

    The reason why Dutch is so similar to English and German at the same time can be found if we study histroy of language.
    All the three languages belong to the same language family.
    Around the 5th century the Second Germanic Sound Shift took place when some consonants changed (e.g. instead of P people started to use F, instead of D they used T). This was the point when the three languages became different from each other. The process of the shift depends on the area where the language was spoken. Old English was unaffected by the shift since it was far away.
    The Germanic-speaking area in Europe was divided into two: High Germanic and Low Germanic. High Germanic (German) was spoken in the south, Low Germanic (Dutch) in the north.
    The Low Germanic languages did not experince the shift.
    So in Old English and in Low Germanic the above mentioned consonants were not shifted.

    Let’s make a contrast:

    P-F contrast:

    shiP (English) SchiFF (German) shiP (Dutch)
    sleeP (English) schlaFen (German) slaPen (Dutch)

    D-T contrast:

    Day (English) Tag (German) Dag (Dutch)
    Do (English) Tun (German) Doen (dutch)

    But I think if we look at the structure of the language, grammar, Dutch is much more similar to German (since they developed together on the same area), regarding the words (the consonants) it is similar to English.

    Have a nice day.

  10. Anonima Artist:

    Hello, i speak all three languages!

    But i’m speaking italian and serbian too and i think, that dutch have som words from italian

    Italian: Camera
    Dutch: Kamer
    Eng: Room

    It: Ma
    du: Maar
    Eng: But

    Dutch has a lot of french words Presis, Avonturr. Its smilar to swedish

    Dutch: Tijd
    Swedish: Tide
    Eng: Time

    and and and

    But the similarst language to dutch is german or low german, but i’ dont speak low german and have learned the dutch door de duitse taal

    • Cristina Ungstad Yu:

      @Anonima Artist I learned so much from your fascinating comment. Thanks for posting it! Informative posts like this are the reason why I make the effort to read comments. There are lot of nasty, worthless comments out there (although not on this site, thank goodness), but it’s gems like this that make the effort worthwhile.

  11. Peter:

    I see another similarity between English & Dutch/difference between German & Dutch. The Dutch like to express themselves in short sentences in a pragmatic way, just like English speaking people do. Don’t overdo when talking. Maybe that was one of the reasons for the French to call Dutch a language for kitchen helps. It’s a simple, straightforward language, what you hear is what you get. German on the other hand is a language that was “invented” by writers, a language intended for literary purposes. Germans have the tendency to talk in long sentences, adding information that is not strictly needed to convey the message. Even a simple conversation in a German grocery shop sounds like a philosophic discourse.

  12. sackeus:

    i think dutch is more close to afrikaans, i.e


  13. Marco van de Voort:

    Saxon, Frisian, English and Scotts are so called Ingveoic (West-) Germanic languages, and closely related.

    /Standard/ Dutch is from Frankish descent and together with Hessian Istveonic. The dialect of Holland had quite some influence on it though, and the Holland dialect, specially the more Northern parts have significant Frisian influence. The extreme South Eastern dialects (Limburg) have some German (-sound shift) traits.

    /Standard/ German orginates mostly in southern Germany and is of the Irmveonic kind.

    North German (not North Germanic!) is called Low German, and is Saxon in origin and thus Ingveonic (same group as English). There is a small pocket of Saxon dialects in the Netherlands too (Drente)


    The example of ;on the road/onderweg/unterwegs; the English phrase should be ;on the way, not on the road