Dutch ( Nederlands) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people, mainly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname, but also by smaller groups of speakers in parts of France, Germany and several former Dutch colonies. It is closely related to other West Germanic languages (ie. English, Frisian and German) and (to a lesser degree) the North Germanic languages.
Dutch is a descendant of Old Frankish and is the parent language of Afrikaans, one of the official languages of South Africa. Dutch and Afrikaans are to a large extent mutually intelligible, although they have separate spelling standards and dictionaries and have separate language regulators. Standard Dutch (Standaardnederlands) is the standard language of the major Dutch speaking-areas and is regulated by the Nederlandse Taalunie ("Dutch Language Union").