Flemish vs. Dutch

Dutch and Flemish. One in the same, or two distinct languages? Many seem to think the former, with the only difference between the two being that Dutch is spoken in The Netherlands, whilst Flemish is spoken in Belgium. But is that really the case?

In order to compare the two languages, the parallel is often made by comparing British to American English -- the same language, spoken with different vocabulary and pronunciation. That explanation does not extend fully to the Dutch - Flemish debate, with these two languages varying to a greater degree.

The greatest difference between Dutch and Flemish is the pronunciation. Even for people who have no understanding whatsoever of the two languages, one can hear a tonal difference. Many say that Flemish is "softer", using a less harsh and less guttural pronunciation than Dutch. 

And finally, Dutch can be considered as more informal than Flemish. With time, the formal U (you) has faded away in The Netherlands, finally becoming extinct, with Dutch speakers now instead using the informal je (you) when speaking to strangers. Flemish speakers, however, still differentiate between the formal and informal you.

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