Babylon NG
The world's best online dictionary

Download it's free

The Dutch Alphabet

The Dutch alphabet is based on the traditional Latin alphabet, with the inclusion of an additional letter, "ij". The Dutch alphabet is ordered, in both uppercase and lowercase, as follows:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, IJ, Z

Dutch utilizes doubled vowels and consonants to accommodate compound words and distinguish vowel sounds.

The dieresis (¨) is used to indicate vowels are to be pronounced individually. The hyphen (-) is used to separate compound words that end and begin with the same vowel. The acute accent (´) is used to distinguish between Dutch words with the same spelling but different meanings, as well for emphasis. It is, however, used mainly for words borrowed from other languages that incorporate the acute accent. The grave accent (`) clarified pronunciation. It, too, is found in loanwords. It was formerly used to signify stress on short vowels but was replaced with the acute accent in the most recent spelling reform.

The Dutch word order is time-manner-place. The verb is always the second word, except for forming questions.

Nouns have either a common or neuter gender in Dutch. Feminine and masculine are "de", while "het" is neuter. Approximately one-third of Dutch nouns are neuter. Plural nouns are formed by adding either "en" or "s". Nouns that end with a vowel are pluralized by adding an apostrophe before the "s".

Dutch, like German, has noun compounds. The compounds are formed left branching. The first noun modifies the second. There are no spaces between the nouns.

Cases are no longer used in Dutch for nouns and adjectives, but they still are used for pronouns.

Possession is demonstrated by using possessive adjectives in front of the noun.

Prefixes are placed at the end of clauses or sentences when verbs are conjugated. Inseparable prefixes remain attached to their infinitives.

There are 14 simple vowel sounds and four diphthongs. All consonants at the ends of words are pronounced without vibration of the vocal cords ("devoiced"). When consonants are paired, the left consonant is devoiced and the right is voiced (spoken with vocal cord vibrations).

Two notable dictionaries of the Modern Dutch language are the Van Dale groot woordenboek der Nederlandse taal and the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal.

The Dutch vocabulary has approximately 268,826 headwords, under which sets of related entries are located in dictionaries. The vocabulary is heavily weighted with words of Germanic origin.

Dutch has loanwords from English, French, German, Greek and Latin. These words are pronounced differently in Dutch than then the originating language and may be spelled alternatively.

The official Dutch spelling is established by Wet schrijfwijze Nederlandsche taal, laws originating in the 1940's, which were amended after the 1995 spelling reform. Spelling changes in 2005 were incorporated into "The Green Booklet", so named because of the cover color. The spelling revisions in 2005 were not well received and an alternate booklet, "The White Booklet", was created to simplify rules and provide multiple spellings of words. The White Booklet is followed by the Dutch media.