TweetPeople all over the world speak Dutch without even knowing it! A new Dutch dictionary of loan words in other languages has just been published. One such word is ‘baas’. It turns up in no fewer than 57 languages, in forms ranging from ‘boss’ in English to ‘bosi’ in a Chinese dialect. This is most likely because, over previous centuries, the Dutch set up plantations around the world, all of them with Dutch ‘bosses’. And so the word was adopted by these regions.
The word ‘gas’ also turns out to be a Dutch invention – or Flemish, to be precise. The term was apparently coined by Jan Baptist van Helmont around 1600.
Some Dutch words have even been packed off abroad and then re-imported in another form. Bolwerk (bulwark) and manneke (little man) were taken up by the French, and then ended up back in the Netherlands years later as boulevard and mannequin, for example.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the former Dutch colony of Indonesia that has absorbed the most Dutch words – 5,568 in total. They range from gotperdom (which stems from Godverdomme, God damn) to hip-hip-hura!
Angelo from Amsterdam, The Netherlands