In this video America First, Netherlands Second, the narrator says with intent to satirise Trump:

German is not even a real language. It’s a fake language.

(Satirising Trump's claim of fake news.)

Looking at the history of the German language we see that the country was divided into individual states – without a collective force to standardise the language. (But the assumption is that there was a common unstandardised language.)

Looking at the history of the Dutch language we see in its origins – around the 2nd Century AD – there was a common link to the Germanic and Franklish languages spoken at the 3rd century, before it arose as a distinct language (Old Dutch) in the 6th Century AD.

If anything, it seems that German has a slightly better claim to being a real language than Dutch. I don’t understand why the Dutch would make this joke.

It feels like a in-joke I’m missing.

My question is: Why would Dutch people (jokingly) claim that their language has a better historical claim over German?

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    For satirical reasons, the whole video consists of clearly ridiculous Trump-ish claims that are grounded on alternative facts only. Why would you want to see any reasoning behind specifically this one? – tofro Feb 8 '17 at 10:06
  • The rest of the video is about real things talked about in a silly way. I thought this might be talking about a real thing (like an artificial composite language process like Chinese) – hawkeye Feb 8 '17 at 11:26
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    Dutch people claim all kind of things jokingly about Germany or Germans. I don't think the producers of that video checked the origin of the languages. Also I don't think "We built an entire ocean." is real... – user1583209 Feb 8 '17 at 11:35
  • @user1583209 Not sure. Maybe Deltaplan was bigger than we thought, after all ;) – tofro Feb 8 '17 at 12:09
  • You might want to watch (and link) the uncut version youtube.com/watch?v=ELD2AwFN9Nc to get the real point. – tofro Feb 8 '17 at 12:12

You can go for a really big strech and say the following:

  • the entire bit of central Europe that is now Flandern, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, parts of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, South Tyrol and the bits of neighbouring countries were German was spoken before World War II historically formed a dialect continuum. To people from neighbouring towns would always understand each other, the further away people would come from the more difficult it would become and those from the southeasternmost corner would have trouble understanding those from Amsterdam.

  • At some point in history, the northwestern corners split off as the Netherlands and Belgium; the language that used to be the local dialect was promoted to a full language. (‘A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.’) Since it practically entirely derived from a local dialect, it can be considered self-consistent.

  • As a process in history, attempts were made at standardising the German language more and more; most of them not top-down but somewhat bottom-up. Luther’s Bible translation was just one of them. These processes resulted in somewhat of an amalgamation of northern and southern influences. Therefore, German nowadays could be considered a melting pot language with some words derived from Low German precursors and some from High German precursors.

In ‘purity’ terms, that would put Dutch above German, and if you wanted to strech it, you could say German be fake.


Jokingly, we might say that there are lots of German(ic) languages and dialects, but there is only one Dutch language (Dutch being the proper equivalent of deutsch), and it is not Dutch from Germany, but Dutch from the Netherlands.

But I don’t really think the video goes into such historic-etymological depths.


The Dutch language (and people) are derived from the North Sea and Weser-Rhine Germanic variants. Located as they were on the western edge of "Germanic" territory (especially the North Sea branch), they were the most insulated from "outside" influences.

There were also Germanic groups in modern Bavaria, and the former East Germany, but they had more contacts with Alpine, "French," Celtic and Slavic peoples, so their language and culture would be less "pure."

Within the North Sea branch, the Dutch were least susceptible to foreign influences (except during the time of Charles V and his son, PHilip II of Spain), because of their exceptional isolation against the North Sea. Elsewhere, on the other hand, Hannover and Britain were under one king through the eighteenth century, and Schleswig-Holstein was part of Denmark until the 19th century.


Well, I think Dutch just like to make jokes about Germany and the example is just some harmless stuff. Not so serious as football.

  • ...and vice versa... – tofro Feb 9 '17 at 9:13

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