Flemish language

Flemish language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages ). Generally regarded as the Belgian variant of Dutch (see Dutch language ) rather than as a separate tongue, Flemish is spoken by approximately 5.5 million people in Belgium, where it is one of the official languages, and by a few thousand persons in France. So closely are Flemish and Dutch related that the difference between them has been compared to the difference between American and British English however, some scholars hold that they have diverged sufficiently since the 16th cent. to be described as separate languages.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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