Alternative name(s): Vlaams (nl), South Dutch (en), Zuidnederlands (nl), flamand (fr), flamenco (es), flamsk (da-no-sv)

Language family: Indo-European

Language Group: Germanic

Geographical use: Flanders and French Flanders

Information: Some linguists believe Flemish is not a separate language. Still, there is often made a distinction with Dutch because –just as for Hindi and Urdu- there are political and cultural differences.

Even though Flemish is not the official language of Flanders (officially the language is 'Dutch'), it is sometimes considered a separate language, depending on the point of view. In any case, there are considerable differences with Dutch regarding pronunciation and vocabulary.

Basically, if you speak about spoken language, then Flemish is a separate language from Dutch; as for written language, it is almost entirely the same as Dutch.

Historically the Flemish dialects were partly responsible in Flanders for the survival of the Flemish language during the French occupation (1794-1815) and the unification with Holland (1815-1830) when the Belgian establishment stubbornly continued to speak French. After a long struggle Flemish (officially 'Dutch') became the official language of the northern part of Belgium (Flanders) in 1938, and had –at least theoretically- the same legal status as French.

Some encyclopedias denote Flemish as the language spoken in the West Flanders province and in Frans Vlaanderen (Flemish France - northwest of France). Although not incorrect, this is an obsolete meaning that no longer reflects the current use of the term.

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