Flemish Language And Literature. The Vlaemsch or Duytsch, one of the many Teutonic dialects, is the vernacular of the Vlamin-gen (about 2,500,000) in the Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders, Antwerp, and Lim-burg, in North Brabant, Holland, and in some parts of the French department of Le Nord, and also scattered in the Wallonic (Gallo-Ito-manic) provinces of Belgium; French also being spoken in the large cities and used in official documents. It is akin to the Frisian and to the Hollandish or Dutch, which is its younger branch. It is more palatal and nasal than the Dutch, which is more guttural. The difference between the Flemish and Dutch languages consists principally in the orthography of words containing in Dutch the double vowels an, ii or ij, oo, uu, which in Flemish retain the older forms ae, y, oe, ue. All words containing these double vowels are pronounced alike in the two languages, with one partial exception. In West Flanders and the department of Le Nord, France, where the old Flemish is spoken in the greatest purity, the y has the sound of the English short i in pin, instead of that of long i in mine, like its Dutch analogue ij; as in Mynheer, Mijnheer. In the provinces of East Flanders, Antwerp, and Brabant, however, the y has the long sound.

The main difference between Flemish and High German consists in the change of sch (German) into s, and the harsh sz into t. So little alteration has taken place in the Flemish language, that many old manuscripts can be easily deciphered at the present day.-The earliest Flemish manuscript. Bei-naert de Vos ("Reynard the Fox"), attributed to a priest named Willem van Utenhoven (in the 12th century), was for many years considered of doubtful origin; but at the linguistic congress held at Ghent in 1841 it was conceded and proved beyond a doubt to belong to Belgium. The next monument of the early literature is an ordinance of Duke Henry I. of Brabant (1229). A printed copy of this ordinance, taken from the Book of Privileges in the archives of the city of Brussels, is to be found in the literary collection of J. F. Willems (Verhandeling over de Nederduytsche Tael en Lettcrkunde, 1824). The next work of any importance was Minneloep (Cours d'amour), by Dire Potter, 1230. The Rymbybel ( Bible in Rhymes"), the Spiegel historiael (" Historical Mirror") of Jacob Maerlant (about 1285), and the civic laws of Antwerp compiled by J. van Clere (1300), are the principal works of the 13th century. In the 14th century there were scarcely any writers of note.

The first religious play, St. Gomaire, written by H. Bal of Mechlin (1444), several others written by C. Everaet (1496), and a translation of Boe-thius by Jacob velt of Bruges, are the only literary monuments of the 15th century. In the 16th we have the Historic van Belgis, by Marc van Vaernewyck of Ghent (1514), and the Hive of the Catholic Church," by Philip van Marnix (1569). Many French forms of speech were introduced during the Burgundian reign, and also many Hollandish during the sway of the Hapsburgs, so that the old Flemish lost much of its purity and terseness. Hooft, Vondel, and Cats are the three most prominent names of the 17th century, which embraces the golden age of Flemish literature (coinciding with the stadtholdership of Frederick Henry of Orange, 1625-'47). The 18th century furnishes scarcely any work of note, if we except the Comparison of the Gothic and Low Dutch languages," by Ten Kate (Gemeenschap tusschen de Gothische Spraeke en de Nederduytsch, 1710), Gramscliap, a poem by the Jesuit Lievin de Meyer of Ghent (1725), and the beautiful poem Roosje ("Little Rose"), by Bellamy (1772), which has been translated into nearly all the European languages.

At the commencement of the 19th'century we have Feith, the imitator of Goethe and the apostle of the modern school of Flemish literature (1812); Willems, on the Flemish and Dutch mode of writing the language of the Netherlands (Over de Hollandische en Vlaemsclie Schryfwyzeii van het Ne derduytsch, 1824); and D'Hulster (1834). The prize poem on the subject of Belgian independence was written by Ledeganck, who was crowned poet laureate at Ghent in 1834. The most popular writer at the present day is Hendrik Conscience, born in Antwerp in 1812. His novels are translated into English, French, and German. Among the names of those who have exerted themselves toward the diffusion and improvement of the language are Blom-maert, Van der Voorde, Delecourt, De Laet, Dedecker, Van Ryswyck, Rense, Van Duyse, F. Blieck, Serrure, the abbe David, Bormans, Snellaert, and Lebrocquy. The Belgian government was at first opposed to this movement, or at least looked upon it with coldness; but latterly it has come to recognize it and give it countenance. On the occasion of the linguistic congress at Ghent in 1841, the members of the government for the first time publicly addressed the people in the Flemish language.

In 1860 there were 76 political and 31 other newspapers and periodicals published in Flemish.-See Vandenbossche, Nouvelle grammaire raisonnee pour apprendre le flamand et le hol-landais (Lille, 1825); J. Desroches, Grammaire flamande (Antwerp, 1826); the grammars of Van Beers and Van Heremans; Noel de Ber-lemont, Vocabulaire francoys et flameng (Antwerp, 1511); Plautin, Thesaurus Teutonicoe Linguoe perfected by C. Kilian (Antwerp, 1573); Corleva, Tresor de la langue flamande (Amsterdam, 1741); Halma, Grand dictionnaire frangois et flamand (Leyden, 1778); Desroches, Nouveau dictionnaire frangais-flamand et flamand-frangais (Ghent, 1805); Olinger, Nouveau dictionnaire frangais-fiamand (Mechlin, 1834). On modern Flemish literature see Ida von Duringsfeld, Yon der Schelde bis zur Haas (3 vols., Leipsic, 1861).