Dutch language is a West Germanic language split from the Indo-European family. It originated around 450 to 500 AD after the second Germanic consonantal shift divided the Old Frankish language. The northern dialects where unaffected and became Old Low Franconian, also referred to as Old Dutch. Dutch language passed through three development phases – Old Dutch, Middle Dutch and Modern Dutch. In the 16th century, when people from Antwerp came to Holland, there was a push to standardize Middle Dutch.
Today, Dutch language is native to the majority of the population in Netherlands along with being indigenous to 60% of Suriname and Belgium. The 22 million Dutch speakers taken collectively equate to all the speakers of Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Frisian. Pennsylvania Dutch is spoken by a small population living in the United States and Canada. The official language of South Africa, Afrikaans is actually derived from the Dutch language.