I read and article on Dutch News that claim that the Dutch language has many ‘laborious’ elements which make it more difficult to learn and to use.
According to this research, comparing 22 languages looking for unnecessary grammatical elements and rules the research concluded that Dutch ‘is complicated and long-winded’.
Here is the researchers justification for this:
The difference between ‘de’ and ‘het’, both of which mean ‘the’ in English. When the Dutch language began to be used in South Africa, that difference was soon replaced by ‘die’. The ‘het’ in ‘het sneeuwt’ is an example of an empty element that adds nothing. A clearer way of saying ‘it is snowing’ would be to say ‘sneeuw valt’.
Constructions such as ‘er loopt een hond door de straat’ (there walks a dog through the street) are also inefficient. This could be replaced by the simpler ‘een hond loopt door de straat.’
Other pointless elements in Dutch grammar include the multiple forms for verbs – hij loopt and wij lopen – and dual plurals like ‘ziektes’ and ‘ziekten’.
There are also three different ways of combining words to create new ones.
Leufkens, the researcher, suggests that Dutch could have become so full of ‘historical junk’ because so few people have used Dutch as a second language. Tell me about it! It isn’t widely spoken in the world and finding classes for it in the UK is very hard to do. Maybe the reason for this is that over 85% of Dutch people speak English. Does that make us English speakers lazy? I think so. I think we are complacent. This research suggested that if the language was adopted en masse by people a more simplified version would emerge. Would it? How do you get people to adopt a language en masse? I think this researcher is living a little bit in cloud-cuckoo-land thinking that the world will adopt a new language and make everyone learn it. Perhaps by increasing trade and business partnerships we could increase the connection but the fact of the matter is that I think Dutch language is hard and you need the motivation and passion to work hard at it.
You can read the full story at DutchNews.nl: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/01/dutch-is-full-of-historical-junk-says-language-expert.php/
What are your views on learning a second language? I’m doing some of my own research and I would really love your input. Would you fill in my questionnaire? Click on this link and let me know what you think about the reasons why you do or don’t speak that second language.