English not displacing Dutch despite some societal fears

Dutch flag (Photo: Ninane/Wikimedia Commons)Dutch flag (Photo: Ninane/Wikimedia Commons)

The Dutch language is still very popular among its speakers and is not being displaced in any significant way by English, according to a study by the Meertens Institute, Taalunie and Ghent University, Trouw reports.

According to the report, titled The state of the Dutch language, there are about 24 million Dutch speakers worldwide. The language is dominant in almost all sectors of society. And almost all speakers consider it a "beautiful language" that must be passed on to the next generation. The report describes Dutch as a "very vital language with excellent chances of survival".

Dutch does contain a number of "borrowed words", especially from English. But according to the researchers, the language does not suffer from that. English words are often "Dutch-ified". Such as the Dutch word "appen", which means to send messages via a smartphone app, or "streamen", for streaming music, shows or movies online. Some sectors, including the IT, aviation and maritime sectors, are more English than others. 

The researchers also found that more and more often Dutch speakers are reading news in English. In the Netherlands 28,3 percent of respondents said they regularly read news reports in English or other foreign languages. In Flanders it was 21 percent.

The study was done among a panel of 3,003 Dutch, 3,419 Flemish, 133 Friesland inhabitants and 113 Brussels residents. The respondents were all from different regions, descents and age groups.