Dutch Empire/Language

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Let us work toward greater cooperation with all Caribbean Countries, whether we speak English, Dutch, French or Spanish, whether we are independent or not, and whether we be island or continental territories.

—Said Musa

A small minority of Indonesians can speak a degree of Dutch. Many Indonesian lawyers and historians can speak Dutch due to historical ties, as do those of the older generation who were schooled in Dutch. Many Indonesian words have come from Dutch. One scholar argues that 20% of Indonesian words can be traced back to Dutch words.

The century and half of Dutch rule in Ceylon and southern India left few to no traces of the Dutch language. In Suriname, Dutch has left its mark as it is the official language of the country. About 60% of the population speaks it as their first language, and most of the remaining 40% know Dutch as well. In Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, Dutch is the official language but spoken as a first language by only by seven to eight percent of the population, although most people on the islands can speak the language and the education system on these islands is in Dutch at some or all levels. The lingua franca of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao is Papiamento, a creole language that originally developed among the slave population of the islands. The population of the three northern Antilles, Sint Maarten, Saba, and Saint Eustatius, is predominantly English-speaking.

The Dutch language today.

In New Jersey in the United States, a dialect of Dutch, Jersey Dutch, spoken by descendants of seventeenth century Dutch settlers in Bergen and Passaic counties, was noted to still be spoken as late as 1921. Former American President Franklin Roosovelt said he remembered hearing Dutch spoken when he was growing up in the Hudson Valley.

Arguably, greatest linguistic legacy of the Netherlands was in its colony in South Africa, which attracted large numbers of Dutch farmer (in Dutch, Boer) settlers, who spoke a simplified form of Dutch called Afrikaans, which is largely mutually intelligible with Dutch. After the colony passed into British hands, the settlers spread into the hinterland, taking their language with them. Today, there are 10 million people for whom Afrikaans is either a primary and secondary language, compared with 25 million worldwide speakers of Dutch.


Dutch Empire

Introduction • Bibliography • Authors • Glossary • Print Version

Origins of an Empire • Dutch Revolt • The Beginning of an Empire • Asia • The Atlantic • Culture During the Golden Age • Anglo-Dutch Wars • Wars With Sweden • Later Wars • Batavian Republic • Kingdom of Holland • Under the French • Belgian Revolution • Expansion in the East Indies • Suriname and the Caribbean • German Invasion of the Netherlands • Japanese Invasion of the East Indies • Indonesian National Revolution • Suriname Independence • Language • Place Names • Architecture • Kings and Queens • Stadtholders of Holland • Governors-General of the Dutch East Indies • Director-Generals of New Netherland • Governors of Cape Colony • Maps and Pictures

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