Dutch (Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by over 22 million people as a native language, and over 5 million people as a second language. Most native speakers live in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, with smaller groups of speakers in parts of France, Germany and several former Dutch colonies. It is closely related to other West Germanic languages (e.g., English, West Frisian and German) and somewhat more remotely to the North Germanic languages.
Dutch is the parent language of several creole languages as well as of Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa and the most widely understood in Namibia. Dutch and Afrikaans are to a very large extent mutually intelligible, although they have separate spelling standards and dictionaries and have separate language regulators. The Dutch Language Union coordinates actions of the Dutch, Flemish and Surinamese authorities in linguistic issues, language policy, language teaching and literature.
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