Flemish far more than a dialect of Dutch
I'd like to congratulate you on the fact that you make a difference betweenDutch and Flemish in your feature on Languages across Europe. Some people here in Belgium and the Netherlands are stillfighting over the question whether there even is one. Officially Flemishdoes not exist, but every day life proves that it does. It pleases me evenmore that you indicate the nuances correctly. By the way, I'm Flemishmyself.The question whether Flemish is simply a local variation of Dutch is relatedto the similar question whether American is one of English. There is one bigdifference however. I can't imagine English television programmes beingsubtitled in the States and vice versa. Flemish drama seriesare! That is an important indicator of the language being similar, but notquite the same. It's a fact that most people in Flanders understandDutch when they speak their language, but almost none of Dutchinitially understand Flemish or rather what they mean. The grammar andthe spelling are identical, but as far as vocabulary is concerned there is a significant difference. You onlystart realising that when you talk to somebody from Holland.I'd like to add that I find it downright arrogant to labelFlemish as a dialect of Dutch. It's far more than that. Maybe once it usedto be only that, when the French-speaking bourgeoisie ruled the region. Butby now, it is my strong believe that it at least deserves to be treated inthe same way as American English.
Sent by: Sven