Dutch is a West Germanic language primarily spoken by people from the Netherlands and Belgium, accounting for over 24 million individuals as first language speakers. It is also popular in other smaller countries such as Suriname and some Caribbean islands. The word "Dutch" originates from an old German word, theodisk, which refers to the language spoken by the people as opposed to the official Latin.
Before the Netherlands became an independent country in 1550, the word Dutch was used to refer to any Germanic language. The official standard form of language is Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands (ABN). It is taught in schools and used for official work in the Netherlands.