• Stefan Israel

Dutch and Deutsch: so similar, so dissimilar

Updated: Feb 11


Plate with the Lord's Prayer in Dutch - Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

We’ve talked before about why we call the Netherlanders Dutch and call the Deuttsche Germans (Dutchland-Deutschland-Germany); let’s take a first look at how Dutch and German differ as languages as well.


We’d talked in January 2020 about how much the German dialects vary, looking at dialect forms of the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s compare High German and Dutch that same way:


You’ll recognize the cadences:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”


You’ll see the same word diverging into each language:

father - vader - Vater

heaven - hemel - Himmel

name - naam - Name

will - wil - Wille

forgive - vergeef - vergib


and you’ll see where different words have been used;

who art in - die in...zijt - im

temptation - bekoring - Versuchung

evil - het kwade - das Böse

even as - zoals - wie auch


This is just a first peek- we’ll take a fuller look in just a bit into how English, Dutch and German are related and different.

(a print of the Vaterunser from the late 1800’s)

I can’t resist throwing in the Lord’s Prayer in Low German from the 1600’s. Low German and Dutch are both as close to English as they are to High German- and still very different from both. You can compare this Low German of the 1600's to modern Low German in that dialects blog.

Use Vader in dem Hemmel.

Dyn Name werde gehilliget.

Dyn ryke kame.

Dyn wille geschee / op Erden / alse im Hemmel.

Onse dachlike Brodt gyff uns hüden.

Und vorgyff uns unse schülde / alse wy unsen schüldeners vorgeven.

Unde vöre uns nicht in vorsökinge.

Sünder vorlöse uns * van dem övel.

Wente dyn ys dat Ryke / unde de krafft / unnde de Herlicheit in ewicheit/

Amen

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