From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Language family
  • Germanic
    • West Germanic
      • Netherlandic
        • Amerikaens
Official status
Official language in
New Netherland
South Tussenland
Amerikaens Free State
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byTaelkomisie

Amerikaens ([ˌɑ.miriˈkɒːnz]) is a West Germanic language primarily spoken throughout North America. Along with Afrikaans and Tauaans, Amerikaens is a product of 17th-century Dutch settler colonialism. It is established as an official language in six sovereign states, several northwestern Mexican provinces, and the de facto Colombian territory of Panama. Since 1951, Amerikaens has also been been recognized as the primary working language of the Association of North American Nations.

It is the second most widely spoken Germanic language in the world, behind English and after Dutch. Only since 1910 has Amerikaens been subject to legal regulation by the Taelkomisie, allowing it to diverge greatly from its sister languages, eventually becoming mutually unintelligible with standard Dutch sometime in the 19th century. Its unique phonology, orthography, and grammar has been influenced by a diverse pool of European immigrants, indigenous languages of North America, the great geographic extent across which its dialects are spoken, and the rise of anti-Atlanticist ideology in the late modern era.


Dialects of the Dutch language in the Americas were referred to as Nederduytsch or Lîg Duyts ('Low Dutch') prior to the late 18th century. With the independence of New Netherland, the term Amerikaens gained popularity as the Amerikaener identity formed. The former two terms are still used extensively in academia, everyday speech, and regional dialects, especially when needed to distinguish it from other Germanic varieties.



Standard Amerikaens pronunciation, commonly known as the Juys Mondordt (lit. 'proper speech'), is the preferred formal register of the language originating in the 19th-century speech of bourgeois communities in coastal New Netherland.


Labial Alveolar Post-alveolar Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive vl. p t k
v. b d g
Affricate t͡ʃ 
Fricative vl. f s ʃ2 χ1 h
v. v z
Approximant w l j
Rhotic r

^1 /χ/ formed as a merger of the Dutch /ɣ/ and /x/. Its voiced allophonic contexts is [ʁ], often mistaken as a rhotic due to its similarity to the French 'r'.


Due to mutual conditioning with the umlaut process and the diverse origins of Amerikaens speakers, Dutch consonant sequences such as /sx/ were palatalized into /ʃ/^2 . Palatal consonants such as /t͡ʃ/, previously analyzed as the sequence /tj/, became distinctly phonemic.

The traditional and most common Dutch diminutive, -(t)je, is too palatalized in Amerikaens, One of the most popular examples is the given name Annetje ('Annie'), which according to the 1910 Taelbück is to be written as Annetia and pronounced [ɑnæt͡ʃə].


Front Central Back
Close i y
Mid ø1 ə o
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔː
Open æ ɑ ɑː
Fronting Centering Backing
ui ɛə iu
ɔi œu
ɑi ɑu

The Amerikaens vowel system, largely based on that of Hollandic Dutch, underwent a thorough counterclockwise vowel shift known as the Linksom. It also developed features found in some littoral Flemish or Rhenish German dialects, such as morphological umlaut.


Amerikaens has developed a system of i-umlaut mutation in long back vowels. This feature initially failed to spread to western Dutch dialects, such as the dominant Hollandic. According to the Palatalsprickel theory proposed by linguist Hans Meißen in 1924, the palatalization of certain consonants is responsible for the mutation of radical vowels (i-umlaut) in Amerikaens and other trans-Rhenish Germanic languages. This change can originally be traced back to the diverse stock of European immigrants who arrived in America between 1650 and 1800.

This mutation of /uː/ and /ɔː/, most commonly represented with /ø/^1 , only occurs in closed syllables with all coda except -s(t), -(n)t, or -r(t), which fail to trigger the preceding vowel and cause it to retain its backness. As a pure result of morphological umlaut, /ø/ is not a part of Amerikaens' underlying vowel inventory, unlike every other front vowel present in the language. Due to its proximity to other phonemic vowels, it may be realized as [ʏ], [ø̞], or even [ɵ] depending on the individual speaker and morphological context.

List of major sound changes

Dutch Amerikaens
ɪ ɛ
ɛ æ
ɔ o
ʏ ə
œy œu
ɛi ɑi
eːu iu
aːi ɔi
oːi ui
sx ʃ
tj t͡ʃ
ɦ h
ɣ χ


Modern Amerikaens orthography is based on the rules published by the Taelkomisie, specifically the Placaet of 19 August 1910 and the proliferation of the Taelbück. It was created during an era of intense Amerikaener nationalism and anti-Atlanticism. Unlike other Latin orthographies, Amerikaens orthography departs heavily from tradition and Latinate conventions. It has also been noted as over-representing phonological processes such as palatalization and umlaut to compensate for the lack of it in its sister scripts such as those of Dutch and Standard German.

Spelling to sound correspondences

Spelling Main values Minor values
b /b/ /p/
c /k/ /s/, /t͡ʃ/
ch /ʃ/ /χ/
ck /k/
d /d/ /t/
dt /t/ /d/
dsch /d͡ʒ/ /t͡ʃ/
f /f/
g /g/ /χ/
gh /χ/
h /h/
j /j/
k /k/
kh /χ/ /k/
l /l/
m /m/
mm /m(ː)/
n /n/ /ŋ/
ng /ŋ/ /n/, /ŋk/
p /p/ /b/
ph /f/ /p/
q /k/
qu /k/ /ku/
r /r/
s /s/ /z/
sch /ʃ/
t /t/ /d/
th /t/ /d/
tsch /t͡ʃ/ /d͡ʒ/
v /v/ /w/
w /w/ /v/
z /z/ /s/
zh /z/ /ʒ/
Spelling Main values Minor values
a /ɑ/ /ə/
ae /ɑː/ /ɔː/
aey /ɑːi/
ay /ɑi/ /ɔi/
au, auw /ɑu/
e /æ/ /ɛ/
ey /ɑi/
eu, euw /œ/ /ø/
i /i/ /ɛ/
î ɛə
ieuw /iu/
o /o/ /ɔː/
ö /ɔː/ /ø/
oy, öy /ɔi/
ou, ouw /ɑu/
u /ə/
ü /u/ /ø/
üy /ui/
uy /œu/
ue /y/
ÿ /ɑi/ /ə/


Compared to other Germanic languages, Amerikaens is considered weakly inflected, genderless, and by far more analytic of a language. The simplification of Amerikaens grammar is attributed to the need among early speakers of distinct ethnolinguistic backgrounds to communicate for purposes such as trade — thus, features like inflectional endings became redundant.

Nouns and pronouns

Amerikaens pronouns
Person Subject Object Possessive
1st singular Ik ('k) Mÿ (me) Mÿn (men)
2nd singular Jÿ (je) Jou (ju) Jouw (juw)
3rd singular, masculine Hÿ (he) Hem (em) Hÿs (hes)
3rd singular, feminine Sÿ (se) Her (er) Hers (ers)
1st plural Wÿ (we) Ons
2nd plural Jul Juls
3rd plural, for a person Hun Huns
3rd plural, for an object It Its

Amerikaens only differs between the singular and plural forms, much like English. The plural form is usually created by the addition of the suffix -s. If a word already ends in an s, then an -en is appended in order to signify plurality.

Amerikaens also preserves the possessive genitive case from archaic Dutch declension unlike other Netherlandic varieties. Its survival beyond the early 18th century most probably was influenced by the English language.

De vriend van de man lit. 'the friend of the man'
Des mans friendt lit. 'the man's friend'

Like Dutch, Amerikaens pronouns retain case distinction; subject (nominative), object (accusative), and possessive (genitive). Pronouns occur in a stressed form and an unstressed form (shown in brackets). The stressed form retains the whole original vowel and is used mainly in formal situations or when distinction is needed.


Only two articles, the definitive de 'the' and the indefinitive în 'a(n)' exist in Amerikaens. They may be inflected in the genitive form (for example, Koninckrÿck der Nederlandts lit. 'Kingdom of the Netherlands').

Singular Plural Indefinite
Nominative de în ('n)
Genitive des der îns ('ns)

Demonstratives are words used to distinguish entities being referred to. As grammatical gender does not exist, there are only four demonstrative determiners in Amerikaens. Proximal indicates that the entities are close to the speaker, while distal indicates that they are far away.

Singular Plural English
Proximal dese This, these
Distal dat That, those
Possessive dies dier Their's, the latter's


Much like its sister language Afrikaans, Amerikaens does not inflect or conjugate, nor is there a distinction between the infinitive and present forms of verbs. In order to form different verb forms such as tense, aspect, and modality, the infinitive form of the verb is accompanied by a pronoun and an auxiliary verb. The below table uses the example of the verb ît ('eat') in the perfect and continuous tenses.

Amerikaens Dutch English
Pronoun Auxiliary verb Infinitive
Present Ik ît Ik eet I eat
Past hab Ik at I ate
Future zal Ik zal eten I will eat
Present continuous Ik ben aan het eten I am eating
Past continuous dîd Ik was aan het eten I was eating
Future continuous zal dü Ik zal eten I will be eating

See also