New State of Dutch report shows less English being used on social media


Dutch speakers in Flanders are using a bit more English at university but less on social media, according to the latest report from the Dutch Language Union

West-Vlaams biggest dialect

While English is being used less among Dutch speakers on social media in Flanders, its use in Brussels has increased over the last two years. That is one of the hundreds of findings of the State of Dutch, the latest report on the use of the language in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname.

The State of Dutch is published every two years by the Taalunie, or Dutch Language Union. The report shows how the Dutch language is being used in various social, work and educational situations. Nearly 2,600 Dutch speakers in Flanders and Brussels were surveyed.

One notable change reported is on social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc – where Dutch-speakers users in Flanders posted in English 22.7% of the time over the two-years period. That is down from 24.6% of the time in the previous report. In Brussels, however, the use of English among Dutch speakers on social media is increasing rapidly – from 20.2% in 2017 to 24.7% today.

Support for English at uni

Twice as many people in Flanders speak a dialect than in the Netherlands, with one in three in the Netherlands speaking either a dialect or a mix of dialect and standard Dutch. In Flanders, the number is two in three.

West Flanders has the greatest concentration of such speakers, with 12.3% of respondents saying they speak West-Vlaams. Less than one in 10 speak Antwerps, while only 3% of respondents say they speak Gents. Among Dutch speakers in Brussels, 22.7% are capable of speaking West Vlaams, while only 6.8% can speak the Brussels dialect.

Universities in Flanders, meanwhile, have some English-language post-grad courses, but the numbers are not remotely shooting up. The current figures is 2.8% of all courses. Interest in English-languages courses however has significantly increased. While 71% were in favour of more English programmes two years ago, the number now is 75.3%.

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