Similarities Between English and Dutch

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similarities between english and dutch

We can’t deny the fact that English is one of the most dominant languages in the world as this is the medium of communication all over the world be it global trade, cultural exchange programs, etc but did you know that Dutch is the closest language to English after Frisian? Dutch and English both belong to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European Language family with some similarities like words and phrases identical to English. Interesting fact isn’t it? In today’s blog, we will take a deep dive into the similarities between English and Dutch, their shared history, and how close these two languages are so if you are planning to learn a new language or considering studying abroad this blog can be extremely beneficial for you.

The Historical Connection Between English and Dutch

English and Dutch have a long and intertwined history. The earliest forms of these languages emerged in the 5th century AD when Germanic tribes invaded Britain. These tribes spoke different dialects of a language that linguists call Proto-Germanic, which was also the ancestor of the German language. There are also factors that influenced both these languages where the Norman Conquest of 1066 in England and many words were absorbed during Viking raids and while global trade exchanges at that time especially from the Jewish merchants who spoke Hebrew. Over time, these dialects diverged into different languages due to geographic isolation, political changes, and cultural influences and both English and Dutch were influenced by Latin, the language of the Roman Empire and the Catholic Church, as well as by Celtic languages.

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The Similarities Between English and Dutch

As we have seen, English and Dutch have a common origin and a long history of contact and influence. This explains why they have many similarities. We have hand-picked some of the similarities in terms of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, etc so kindly take a look below:


One of the most evident similarities between English and Dutch is their vocabulary. Many words in both languages are cognates, meaning they have the same origin and meaning and they even sound pretty similar. For example:

  • apple – appel
  • banana – banaan
  • tomato – tomaat
  • work – werk
  • place – plaats
  • dry – droog
  • clean – kuis
  • rain – regen
  • fall – val
  • board – bord
  • ear – oor
  • phone – telefoon


The second thing you will notice when you hear Dutch spoken is that it sounds somewhat familiar to English. That’s because as we mentioned earlier both are West Germanic languages, which means they share a common ancestor and have many words that sound alike. For example, pronounce these words in your mind:

– water (water)

– huis (house)

– boek (book)

– appel (apple)

– kat (cat)

As you can see, these words are almost identical in both languages, except for some minor differences in spelling and accent. This makes it easier for English speakers to memorize and remember Dutch words.


Another aspect of similarity between English and Dutch is spelling. As we mentioned before, many words are spelt almost the same way in both languages. This makes it easier for English speakers to read and write in Dutch.


English and Dutch also have similarities in grammar as it primarily uses 26 Latin Alphabets which is also used in English. However, they do not come without some differences. The Dutch verb system is similar to the English one although there are some exceptions and we will obviously discuss them later on this blog.

List of Similar Words in English and Dutch

Here we have listed below a few words that have some meaning, and sound the same in both English and Dutch:

cheese kaas

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Differences Between English and Dutch

Even after having significant similarities between English and Dutch, these languages differentiate themselves to gain individual attention, and it can also be difficult for English speakers to learn the Dutch language 


  • The Dutch “g” is a raspy, guttural sound that sounds like you’re clearing your throat. For example, goed (good), groot (big), goud (gold).
  • The Dutch **r** is a trilled or rolled R. While this sound is very common in many European languages but it doesn’t exist in standard English. For example rood (red), raam (window), reis (trip).


  • Dutch uses diacritics (accents) on some vowels to indicate different sounds or stress. For example: één (one), café (cafe), hè (huh).
  • Dutch also uses double vowels to indicate long sounds. For example- maan (moon), boot (boat), zee (sea).
  • To indicate short sounds Dutch use double consonants. For example- bakker (baker) and zitten (to sit).


Loanwords are basically words that are borrowed from one language and incorporated into a different language with bare minimum modification or no modification at all to the original word. 

Loanwords in English from Dutch- 

English has borrowed many words from Dutch over the centuries. A few of them are:

  • Jacht- yacht
  • Koekje- cookie
  • Ezel- easel 
  • Landschap- landscape
  • Brandewijn- brand 

Loanwords in Dutch from English– 

Dutch has also borrowed many words from English, especially in the fields of technology, entertainment, and sports. For example:

  • computer – computer
  • internet – internet
  • email – email
  • film – film
  • tennis – tennis

Also, Read- Best Foreign Language to Learn


Q1. What do Dutch people think of English as a Language?

Ans. According to a news article by DutchNews, English is no longer a foreign language in the Netherlands so if you are considering studying in the Netherlands, this can be good news for you as English is widely accepted in the Netherlands, and can also easily learn Dutch at your own pace.

Q2. Which countries speak Dutch?

Ans. Dutch is mainly spoken in Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname and is also the official language of Aruba and St. Maarten.

Q3. Is learning Dutch hard for an Indian?

Ans. Learning any language can be a bit difficult at the beginning stages but if you spend time, understand the Dutch language, and deal with patiently then learning Dutch won’t be so hard for you.

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