chapter  9
16 Pages

Double Dutch: The Dutch Spelling System and Learning to Spell in Dutch

ByAnna M. T. Bosman, Saskia de Graaff, and Martine A. R. Gijsel

Dutch is spoken by about 20 million people and is the standard language of the Netherlands and one of the three standard languages of Belgium; the other official languages of Belgium are French and German. Dutch is also the standard language of the Netherlands Antilles, formerly known as the Dutch West Indies, and Suriname, a former colony of the Netherlands. However, daily conversations in the Antilles are mostly in Papiamentu (Creole Spanish) and in Suriname in Sranan (Creole English) or Sarnami (a language from India). Despite the name and its historical relation to Dutch, Afrikaans or South-African Dutch has been a separate language since the 19th century as a result of the interaction among Dutch, Hottentots (a native-African language), and languages such as Malay and Portuguese (van der Wal, 1992).