Thursday, October 08, 2009
It's no secret that the two are quite similar, and that the first impression one receives from Dutch (especially after learning a bit of German) is that it's kind of like German but the grammar is a cakewalk in comparison, and in many ways it also resembles English more.
English - the old man sees the pretty woman
Dutch - de oude man ziet de mooie vrouw
German - der alte Mann sieht die hübsche Frau
English - make
Dutch - maken
German - machen
(insert Frisian into there and you can see a further progression towards English as well, such as the ch sound in words like church and cheese)
Okay, but that's common knowledge. Are there any other ways to give a quick introduction to the similarity between German and Dutch? Yes, right here in a video I found yesterday:
It's a video of Germans learning Dutch for a Dutch TV station, and since they are still learning the language the interview is done in German with Dutch subtitles, so you can compare the two there.
According to this source from Wikipedia, 70% of those in the Netherlands have a good knowledge of English, 55-59% of German, and 19% of French. That number alone probably tells the story since French and German have a similar GDP but the German number is a great deal higher than that of French, likely largely due to the fact that a working knowledge of German is very easy to acquire compared to French.