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Likewise, Hoogduits ("High Dutch") came into use as a Dutch exonym for the German language, spoken in neighboring German states.However, 19th century Germany saw the rise of the categorisation of dialects, and German dialectologists termed the German dialects spoken in the mountainous south of Germany as Hochdeutsch ("High German").The West Germanic varieties of the time are generally split into three dialect groups: Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic), Istvaeonic (Weser-Rhine Germanic) and Irminonic (Elbe Germanic).It appears that the Frankish tribes fit primarily into the Istvaeonic dialect group with certain Ingvaeonic influences towards the northwest, which are still seen in modern Dutch. A notable exception is the Bergakker inscription, found near the Dutch city of Tiel, which may represent a primary record of 5th-century Frankish.During that period, it forced Old Frisian back from the western coast to the north of the Low Countries, and influenced or even replaced Old Saxon spoken in the east (contiguous with the Low German area).On the other hand, Dutch has been replaced in adjacent lands in present-day France and Germany.The Romans referred to the region as Germania Inferior ("Lower" Germania).
The early form of Dutch was a set of Franconian dialects spoken by the Salian Franks in the fifth century, and thus, it has developed through Middle Dutch to Modern Dutch over the course of 15 centuries.
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In Western Europe this term was used for the language of the local Germanic populace as opposed to Latin, the non-native language of writing and the Catholic Church.
Although in Britain the name Englisc replaced theodisce early on, speakers of West Germanic in other parts of Europe continued to use theodisce to refer to their local speech.