Dutch is a language spoken by about 20 million people in the Netherlands and Belgium. This region is not only characterised by a complex dialect situation, but also by the use of two institutionalised varieties of the Standard language: Netherlandic Dutch is spoken in the Netherlands and is documented in Collins & Mees (1982), Mees & Collins (1983) and Gussenhoven (1999), while Belgian Dutch is spoken in the northern part of Belgium (Flanders) by approximately 6 million speakers. This variety is the same as what is commonly referred to internationally as ‘Flemish’. However, the term ‘Flemish’ is avoided here since it erroneously suggests that this language is different from the one spoken in the Netherlands: the lexical and syntactic differences between the two language varieties are very small. Nevertheless, there are significant phonetic differences as well as substantial regional variability within the two speech communities.
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