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Dutch is spoken by the 15 million inhabitants of the Netherlands. It is also spoken across the border in northern Belgium, but there it is generally referred to as Flemish. It is the official language of Suriname, in South America, and of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba in the Caribbean. Afrikaans, spoken in South Africa, evolved directly from the Dutch that was brought there by settlers from the Netherlands in the 17th century.

Dutch, like English, is one of the Germanic languages, and thus part of the Indo-European family. It stands about midway between English and German and is the closest to English of any of the major languages. Dutch is the English name of the language; in Dutch it is called Netherlands.

Long a maritime nation, the Dutch have left their imprint on many languages of the world. Many Dutch nautical terms have been adopted into other languages. Dutch idioms and syntax are still evident in present-day Indonesian. English words of Dutch origin include dock, deck, yacht, easel, freight, furlough, brandy, cookie, cruller, waffle, coleslaw, maelstrom, isinglass, and Santa Claus. Many place names in New York City, such as Brooklyn, Flushing, Harlem, Staten Island, and the Bowery, are reminders of the old Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.

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Dutch falls between English and German, all being Germanic languages. Dutch carries forward many dialectical heritages of ancient Germany. Unlike the clarity of English and preciseness of German, Dutch grammar is full of irregularity and ruleless usages that becomes the barrier to many learners. With over a century of experience in language teaching, Berlitz offers you professional, native-speaking Dutch instructors who have been strictly trained in the Berlitz Method®. By teaching only in native Dutch through role playing and other methods, we combine courses with everyday scenarios to promote teacher-student interactions in a lively, pleasant atmosphere, and enable you to learn Dutch naturally as complicated grammar become a “conditioned reflex” in your minds after repeated use of words and grammar!

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