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As a result, Nederduits no longer served as a synonym for the Dutch language, and Nederlands prevailed as sole Dutch endonym.
It also meant that Hoog ("High") had to be dropped in one of the two meanings of Hoogduits, leading to the narrowing down of Duits as Dutch exonym for the German language, and Hoogduits as reference for southern German dialects.
From 1551, the designation Nederlands received strong competition from the name Nederduits ("Low Dutch;" Dutch is used here in its archaic sense that covers all continental West Germanic languages).
It is a calque of the aforementioned Roman province Germania Inferior and an attempt by early Dutch grammarians to give their language more prestige by linking it to Roman times.
The division into Old, Middle and Modern Dutch is mostly conventional, since the transition between them was very gradual.
One of the few moments when linguists can detect something of a revolution is when the Dutch standard language emerged and quickly established itself.
Old Dutch branched off more or less around the same time as Old English (Anglo-Saxon), Old High German, Old Frisian and Old Saxon did.
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.
All Germanic languages are subject to the Grimm's law and Verner's law sound shifts, which originated in the Proto-Germanic language and define the basic features differentiating them from other Indo-European languages.
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The Franks emerged in the southern Netherlands (Salian Franks) and central Germany (Ripuarian Franks), and later descended into Gaul.
The name of their kingdom survives in that of France.