Dutch, German, Teutonic

Posted by R. Berg on September 06, 2001

In Reply to: Dutch from Holland posted by Bruce Kahl on September 06, 2001

: : : In an earlier thread, numerous "Dutch" derivations (courage, treat, etc., etc.) were exhaustively examined.

: : : My question is more basic: Why are the citizens of the country of Holland, aka "The Netherlands" called "Dutch"? I know that "Hollanders" and "Netherlanders" are occasionally used, but "Dutch" seems to be more popular. Where did this come from?

: : Here is my understanding:

: : "Dutch" literally means "The people" (in their language)
: : Holland is a city (or a section of the country)
: : The country is called "The Netherlands"
: : People from this country prefer to be called "Netherlanders" and take offense to the word "dutch".
: : Can anyone collaborate?

: The word "Holland" is from "holt-land" which means woodland. This area of Europe is called "Netherlands". "Netherlands" refers to the low-lying nature of the area ("nether" means low). The lowlands also include Belgium and Luxembourg but the term "Netherlands" usually refers to "Dutch Nederland" which we Americans know as "Holland". In actuality, "Holland" refers to two Western coastal provinces of Dutch Nederland called North and South Holland: North Holland (capital: Haarlem) and South Holland (capital: The Hague) are two provinces of The Netherlands.
: The adjective of "Netherlands" is not "Netherlandish" but "Dutch", as in Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM). Also the language and the people of The Netherlands are called Dutch.

: The residents of Dutch Nederland speak a language called "Dutch". Dutch is any of the Germanic languages of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Low Countries. Dutch is the first language of more than 21 million Dutch and Flemish people. Dutch is thus a middle ranking language, roughly the 30th largest in the world.

According to some dictionaries, "Dutch" used to mean German (the language or the people of Germany--i.e., Deutschland) but that use is now archaic or slang. German and Dutch are distinct languages. The language of Germany is sometimes called High Dutch, and the language of the Netherlands is sometimes called Low Dutch. The word "Dutch" comes from the Middle Dutch "duutsch" through Middle English "Duch(e)" and is etymologically related to "Teutonic." "Teutonic" goes back to the hypothetical Indo-European root "teuta-," tribe, from which "total" also comes (by way of Latin "totus," all, whole (from the meaning "of the whole tribe").