West Flemish

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: European Geography; Languages

This article is a part of

the Dutch dialects series.

The Dialects
West Flemish
East Flemish
Dutch Low Saxon

Position of West Flemish/Zealandic within the Dutch speaking area (mainland only)
Position of West Flemish/Zealandic within the Dutch speaking area (mainland only)

West Flemish (West Flemish: Vlaemsch, Dutch: West-Vlaams) is a group of dialects, spoken in parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.

There is a dialect continuum between West Flemish and some neighbouring Dutch dialects, being called East Flemish, and many linguists still consider West Flemish a Dutch dialect. The main reason to set it apart is that West Flemish remained distinct from the main stream of Dutch regional languages, which had evolved since the 17th century from the Brabantic version of Dutch. This gives West Flemish a distinct sound and flavor.

West Flemish is spoken by around 1.05 million people in West Flanders (in Belgium), 90,000 in the neighbouring Dutch coastal district of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, and approximately 20,000 in the northern part of the French département of Nord where it is classified as one of the Languages of France.

The dialects of the Dutch province of Zeeland, Zealandic, are sometimes also classified under West Flemish Hollandic Dutch but this is sometimes disputed. The dialects of Zeeuws-Vlaanderen however do count as West Flemish variants. In fact, both regional languages are linked by a dialect continuum, which proceeds further north into Hollandic.

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