The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary

dutch

The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary
Second Edition
Routledge/Van Dale – £125.00

Even though the Dutch language, Nederlands), is spoken by twenty-four million people as a first language – obviously within The Netherlands itself as well as sixty per-cent of Belgium (predominantly within the Flanders region) – it remains the third most widely spoken of the Germanic language after English and German.

Outside of the Low Countries, it is the native language of the majority of the population of Suriname and also holds official status in Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maartin, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Then of course, there is South Africa and Namibia, where Afrikaans has evolved into a mutually intelligible daughter language of Dutch, spoken by a further sixteen million people.

This, in conjunction with the fact that I am half Dutch myself, is what triggered me into thinking it was nigh high time I owed a decent Dutch dictionary.

So where else/further to look than this?

The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary is literally the finest, if not the best Dutch/English dictionary available (especially this second edition). Reason being, this more than comprehensive and contemporary two-way dictionary is ideal for Dutch language learners and users at every level.

Some of its key features include over 32,000 Dutch entries in the first edition, with a further 9,000 new definitions and headwords – supported by a further 18,000 translations not to mention a really helpful pronunciation aid. And talking of headwords, there has been a substantial expansion of them throughout this dictionary, which, suffice to say, is in keeping with changes in both the Dutch and English languages themselves. As a result, this second edition includes a further 3,000 new examples.

Along with including the past tense and past participle forms of Dutch irregular verbs, all words also appear in an English spelling. Although interestingly, to avoid confusion, American spellings have not been included; which I do have to say I find of particular interest. For purposes of clarity if nothing else.

That said, perhaps a little clarification with regards the English and American spelling(s) might not go amiss: American spelling can be easily predicted on the pure basis of British spelling(s). For example, many words ending in ‘our’ (humour) and ‘tre’ (centre) are spelt ‘or’ (humor) and ‘ter’ (center) in American English.

Moreover, unlike British spellings, the American equivalents do not always use double consonants; thus American English has words such as ”traveler” and ”jeweler” as opposed to the British ”traveller’ and ”jeweller.” As such, where British and American English differ lexically, there are entries for both.

The New Routledge & Van Dale Dutch Dictionary also includes phonetic transcription, conjugational information (added to the Dutch verbs after relative headwords), while Dutch nouns have been gender marked, which I’m sure many students of the Dutch language will find particularly helpful (for speedy referral if nothing else).

Finally, this altogether handsome and easy to use Dutch/English dictionary benefits from easy referencing, along with an exceedingly well defined – if not improved – format and layout.

In all, the most agreeable and superlative of Dutch dictionaries currently on the market.

David Marx

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