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Thread: The Distribution of Dutch Dialects

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    Lightbulb The Distribution of Dutch Dialects

    Intricately detailed map showing the geographical distribution of the various Dutch dialects, courtesy of Frans Jozef.

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    Post Re: The Distribution of Dutch Dialects

    Hmm. I wonder what is different nowadays? For instance, in Flevoland do they speak the Amsterdams dialect?

    I found this:

    Indigenous Language Varieties in the Netherlands

    A large number of different dialects are [=A large, -Thiudans] spoken in the Netherlands in addition to the standard language, i.e. standard-Dutch. Dialects, which lie very close to each other in geographical terms, are often fairly easily understood by people living in a particular area. As the distance between the dialects increases, it becomes more difficult for people to understand each other. It is therefore not easy to make a clear classification of separate dialects. Dialectologists often divide the Netherlands into a number of dialect groups (for an overview see Daan & Blok, 1969).

    Within the Netherlands, the 'Randstad', which is situated in the provinces of Noord-Holland , Zuid-Holland and Utrecht , is the economic, demographic, political and cultural centre. The Randstad is a conurbation in the mid-west, which encompasses the four biggest cities of the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Outside that area the population density (largely rural areas) is much lower, in particular in the north (Friesland and Groningen ) and the east (Drenthe ) and south-west (Zeeland ). In the latter provinces about half of the working population is employed in agriculture. The two southern provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg and the (eastern) provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland can be characterised as urbanised rural areas. Flevoland is the newest Dutch province, in fact a polder that has been reclaimed from an inner sea. In the west of the Netherlands, the area between Amsterdam, Utrecht, the Hague and Rotterdam, most people speak standard-Dutch. The dialects spoken in this area, in the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland, are closest to the standard language. Most people therefore do not see themselves as speakers of a dialect, even though their use of language has characteristics of a dialect (Van Hout, 1984; Hagen, 1989). Dialects have a relatively strong position in the north, east and south of the country. The general pattern is, the greater the distance from the west of the Netherlands, the greater the distance from the standard language (Hagen & Giesbers, 1988).

    The Netherlands is one of the most urbanised areas in Europe. A lot of dialects are therefore also city dialects, which largely have a low prestige. City dialects are often associated with a lower social class. There are a few exceptions to this, such as the city dialect of Maastricht, which is spoken by all social strata of the Maastricht population and is more of an expression of regional or local identity (Hagen, 1989). The city dialects of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland (e.g. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague) are judged most negatively because the link between dialect usage and socio-economic status is most evident here. One result of this stigmatisation is a reduction in the size of the dialect-speaking group. We increasingly see this development taking place also in cities outside the west of the Netherlands (Hagen & Giesbers, 1988).

    Dialect-usage is more common in rural areas and in small towns than it is in the cities. Rural dialects often have less of a stigma attached to them because they are an expression of regional identity rather than low social status. Here it is often the case that people learn the standard language without giving up their dialect (Hagen & Giesbers, 1988).

    In Friesland, situated in the north of the country, a minority language is spoken. Despite the strong influence of the standard language, the Frisian Language also has a strong position in particular in rural areas. In the cities of Friesland a city dialect is spoken, which is a mixture of old Frisian dialects and Dutch. Thanks to efforts of the Frisian movement and the Fryske Akademy , Frisian has been recognised by a European Charter. One of the reasons for recognising Frisian as a language is that there is a Frisian standard-language in addition to the Frisian dialects. This political recognition of Frisian as a language has had important consequences for instruction in the language and educational practice in the province of Friesland. Frisian has in the meantime become the language spoken at all primary schools in Friesland, with the exception of some exempted schools (Van Hout, 1984, Ytsma & De Jong, 1993). In addition to Frisian, Low Saxon and Limburgs have recently been recognised as vernacular by a European Charter. National figures on the use of dialects in the Netherlands, such as the ones that are available for Low Saxonin Germany (Stellmacher, 1994), do not exist. Careful estimates have been made, however, for example, by Boves & Vousten (1996).

    According to their analyses on average 12% of all parents speak a Dutch dialect or Frisian with their child. They did however find major regional differences in this respect: in particular in the provinces of Overijssel, Drenthe, Limburg and Friesland a dialect is often spoken in the home situation. There are, furthermore, a number of sociolinguistic studies available carried out at a local or regional level, such as the one by Van Hout (1989) for Nijmegen.

    In the Netherlands the use of dialect has declined considerably over recent decades. The reduction in the use of the 'old' dialects is not only evident from the smaller number of speakers, but also from the sociological and demographic characteristics of dialect- usage. The number of domains in which dialect is spoken has very much been reduced. There is a clear trend, which shows that dialect-speaking parents are increasingly starting to speak the standard language with their children. It is becoming less common for people to speak only dialect; they usually command the local dialect as well as standard-Dutch.

    In addition, the linguistic structure of dialects is moving more closely towards that of the standard language: new linguistic variants are developing including varieties that lie somewhere between a dialect and the standard language. This development of interim forms, 'regiolects', is taking place at all levels of the language (Van Hout, 1984; Hoppenbrouwers, 1990).


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    Frisian Relics in the Dutch Dialects

    Frisian Relics in the Dutch Dialects
    By Eric Hoekstra

    In H.H. Munske in collaboration with N. Århammar, V. Faltings, J. Hoekstra, O. Vries, A. Walker and O. Wilts. Handbook of Frisian Studies. Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen, 138-142.
    1. Characterisation of the subject
    This article presents an overview of research on Frisian substrate in the dialects of the Dutch provinces of Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland, Groningen en Drenthe. We leave undiscussed the provinces, in which Frisian substrate is uncontroversially absent. Historical evidence is distinguished from dialect-geographical evidence. An excellent overview article on this subject is Van Bree (1997). His booklet deals with Ingweaonic en Frisian substrate in Dutch dialects, and discusses the problem of distinguishing Frisian from Ingweaonic.

    2. Classification of Frisian relics per province and per area of grammar

    2.1. Zuid-Holland

    The linguistic evidence for Frisian substrate in Zuid-Holland is mainly historical-phonological in nature. It comes from sound changes inferred from medieval spellings of names and specialised, mainly agricultural, lexical items (Blok 1959, 1968, 1969, Bremmer 1997). Examples include:de Hoghe tioch 1484 from *tech "cooperatively worked land" with OFr. breaking; the element til "wooden bridge" in placenames, with OFr. th > t, cf. Du. th > d.
    Part of the lexicological evidence stems from the present-day dialects. Bremmer (1997) associates the beginning of the process of language change away from Frisian with the increasing power of the Frankish ruling class of the County of Holland ("Graafschap Holland") and with migrations to drained land causing linguistic levelling: this took place from the ninth century onwards. Bremmer's article not only contains new evidence but is also an excellent overview article. There are no substantial dictionaries for the dialects of this province, but there are some informative grammars (Goeman 1984, Lafeber & Korstanje 1967, Overdiep 1940).

    2.2. Noord-Holland

    There is extensive historical-phonological evidence coming from medieval spellings of names and of specialised, mainly agricultural, lexical items (Blok 1959, 1968, 1969). In addition, there is a large amount of syntactic and morphological evidence coming from the typological comparison between the present-day dialects of Noord-Holland and Frisian (Daan 1956, J. Hoekstra 1992, 123-125, J. Hoekstra 1997, 120-121, E. Hoekstra 1993, 1994a,b).

    Striking was the discovery in E. Hoekstra (1993) that some texts from Westfriesland (a region in Noord-Holland!) feature a syntactic distribution of infinitives in-e and -en that is nearly identical to that of Frisian. The complexity of this distribution rules out both the possibility of borrowing and the possibility of an independent development in Noord-Holland that is "accidentally" identical to the development in Frisian. Studies in language change (Van Coetsem 1988) have shown that morphosyntactic properties which are phonologically inconspicuous are among the most stable substrate elements, that is, they can easily survive language change under the influence of a dominant language. E. Hoekstra (1994a, 95) associates the onset of the process of language change away from Frisian with the period following the loss of Westfriesland's political independence in 1289, when it was annexated by the County of Holland. Word-geographical and historical-phonological evidence in favour of a Frisian substratum had already been critically discussed by Van Haeringen (1921, 1923a,b).

    The evidence includes the following phenomena: ie from wgmc. ai(general in North-Holland) and ê from wgmc. âin the Zaanstreek (part of North-Holland). Words with Frisian vocalism in Standard Dutch are also given, such as baken "beacon", from Frisian umlaut of ô is found in nholl.stieme, engl. steam. Word-geographical ingwaeonisms were presented in Heeroma (1935). These were claimed by Heeroma (1935 and elsewhere), Schönfeld (1946) and others to be non-Frisian. Most of their arguments were rebutted in Miedema (1971). Dictionaries for this province include Boekenoogen (1897), Karsten (1931/1934), Keyser (1951), Spoelstra (1983) en De Vries Az. (1910); these dictionaries contain little information about the use of words in idiomatic collocations. A lot of grammatical information can be found in Pannekeet (1979, 1995).

    2.3. Groningen

    Phonological-historical onomastic evidence was given in Schuringa (1923), lexical evidence from present-day dialects in Heeroma & Naarding (1961), morphological and syntactic evidence from present-day dialects was given in E. Hoekstra (1998). The laws of Groningen are written down in Old-Frisian. Those legal documents make it very plausible that Frisian was once spoken in Groningen.

    The morphosyntactic arguments for Frisian substrate in Groningen, based on the comparison between Frisian and present-day Groningen dialects, do not differ substantially from the morphosyntactical arguments for Frisian substrate in Noord-Holland, where the evidence of attested Old-Frisian is lacking. The Groningen case allows us to test the reliability of morphosyntactic substrate arguments taken from present-day dialects, since the prediction from the dialectgeographical comparison fits in with the historical evidence. This strengthens the case for Frisian substrate in North-Holland, where the evidence of written Old-Frisian is lacking. The big research problem for Groningen is: how and when did the language change from Frisian to Saxon take place, which resulted in the Friso-Saxon dialect we still find in Groningen to date? The youngest Frisian texts found in Groningen date from the fourteenth century (Huizinga 1914, 30).

    Schmitt (1942), a very stimulating article, relates the language change to the reclamation of land in East Groningen. Settlers seem to have come from the East, where Low German was spoken. Saxon immigration in the East of the province reinforced the saxonisation due to the City of Groningen, which was caused by immigration of Saxons from the province of Drenthe. This account, in so far as it differentiates the East of the province from the North and the West, is supported by the present-day dialect landscape of Groningen, as analysed in E. Hoekstra (1998), and by historical evidence from place-names (Schuringa 1923) and contemporaneous evidence from the geographical distribution of person names (Miedema 1964): Frisian substrate is practically absent in the East, while being strongly present in the North and the West, that is, the old land where the "terpen" or "wierden" ("artificial mounts thrown up against the water") are largely to be found. Word-geographical evidence for a Frisian substratum is given in Heeroma & Naarding (1961), and it is occasionally touched upon in the articles in Heeroma (1951). An example of a word-geographical ingwaeonism is the word arend for a part of a scythe.

    It is found in Frysl_n, Groningen and part of Oostfriesland (as well as in Southholland and smaller adjacent areas). Heeroma (in Heeroma & Naarding 1961) is rather reluctant about finding Frisian substrate outside the province of Frysl_n, whereas Naarding is reluctant about not finding it. Neither pays much attention to idiomatic collocation. Kloeke (1951), however, had already pointed out the existence of many similarities between idiomatic collocations from Groningen and Frisian. There are two good dictionaries (Molema 1887 en Ter Laan 1929), which both contain a lot of information about the use of words in idiomatic collocations. There are two informative grammars (Ter Laan 1953 and Reker 1991).

    2.4. Drenthe Naarding (1947, 79-108) gave onomastic evidence from charters in support of Frisian substrate. Drente frequently participates in morphosyntactic phenomena which are otherwise restricted to Groningen, Fryslân and North-Holland and which have their centre in Frisia, suggesting the existence of Frisian substrate. An example is provided by the maps of noun-incorporation in Gerritsen (1991, maps 39-42), and by the maps of verb selection in E. Hoekstra (1997a,b). An alternative would be to ascribe these similarities to the existence of a pre-Germanic substrate, present alike in Frisian and Saxon. Of the four provinces discussed here, Drente has received least attention from linguists. The first substantial dictionary of Drente dialects has only very recently come out (Kocks, Vording, Beugels and Bloemhoff 1996). An excellent dictionary is Bloemhoff (1994, 1997), on the Stellingwarf dialect; this Saxon dialect is spoken in the extreme south and east of the province Fryslân. We mention it here because the Stellingwarf dialect is linguistically closer to the dialects of Drente than to those of Fryslân. Another notable exception to the deplorable lack of research on Drente or Drente-related dialects is the excellent grammar of Sassen (1953). The question of Frisian substrate in Drente remains unresolved, however.

    3. Some issues

    3.1. Distinguishing Frisian from Ingweaonic

    It is difficult to distinguish Frisian from Ingweaonic, or, more explicitly, to distinguish Frisian Ingweaonic from non-Frisian Ingweaonic. An attempt was made in Schönfeld (1946, 1947) but the distinctions he made were refuted by Miedema (1971). Van Bree (1997, 26) considers as Frisian Ingwaeonic those developments which have their centre in the province of Frisia and which are found in Frisia and adjacent areas. He emphasizes that a very rigid distinction between Frisian and non-Frisian Ingweonic cannot be made anyway because of the gradual nature of dialect boundaries.
    3.2. The research barrier imposed by national boundaries

    Dialectgeographical research tends to stop at national boundaries. The inquiries of the P.J. Meertens Instituut are sent out to correspondents in The Netherlands and in Belgium (Flanders) but not to Germany.

    E. Hoekstra's (1998) discussion of similarities between Frisian and the dialects of the adjacent province of Groningen remains somewhat inconclusive because no comparison with the Low German dialects on the other side of the border between The Netherlands and Germany is carried out. Hence we do not know whether a given Frisian-Groningen similarity is exclusive or whether it is also found in Low German. In the former case, it counts as an argument for Frisian substrate; in the latter case it may not. Of course, there is literature about Low German. But this literature often covers different subjects or does not cover them at all, simply because dialectology is an undermanned area of research when compared with the study of standard languages. Within dialectology, too much attention is usually given to a narrow sort of sociolinguistic research, with predictable research results. If more is to be learned about the genesis of the dialect landscape in North-West Europe, grammars have to be written and compared on an inter-national scale. Here morphology and syntax are as important as phonology, because it has been shown by several researchers following Van Coetsem (1988), that syntax and morphology tend to be surprisingly stable when language change takes place under the influence of a dominant language. With respect to the vexed question of Frisian substrate, the next step to be taken is to closely compare the dialect data from the North of The Netherlands with those of the various Low German dialects found in the North of Germany (see II.2 (34)).
    3.3. Word-geographical and phonological arguments for the presence of a substratum
    The problem with word-geographical evidence for a substratum is that it is hard to prove that the words in question have not been borrowed. Word borrowing is an ongoing process between languages. Thus in the ideal case it must be shown that the alledged substratum word could not have been borrowed, which is very difficult. Phonological arguments for substratum influence are usually more telling. However, the problem here is that a dialect may have more than one linguistic ancestor, in case it arises out of a language contact situation. Now, it has been shown by Van Coetsem (1988) that the phonology of the mother language is generally replaced by the phonology of the dominant second language.

    Assuming that this is correct, it follows that the phonology of a dialect, which arose out of language contact situation between a first (mother) language (say, Frisian) and a dominant second language (say, Dutch), tells us very little about the phonology of the mother language. According to Van Coetsem, then, syntax, morphology and idiomatic collocations of the mother language survive much more easily in a language contact situation than phonology. Hence it is not surprising that phonological evidence for a Frisian substrate in North Holland is scarce, whereas there is plenty of syntactic, morphological and idiomatic evidence.
    4. Conclusion
    To sum up, Frisian substrate is uncontroversially present in the dialects of the adjacent coastal provinces of North Holland and Groningen. Frisian substrate is absent in the present-day dialects of South Holland, though old charters feature some indications of Frisian substrate of an onomastic nature. The case of Drente remains unresolved: the linguistic facts of Drente regularly pattern with those of North Holland, Fryslân and Groningen, but this subject has not been systematically investigated.
    5. Select Bibliography

    Bloemhoff, Henk (1994), Stellingwarfs Woordeboek. Diel 2, F-K. Oosterwolde.
    Bloemhoff, Henk (1997), Stellingwarfs Woordeboek. Diel 3, L-R. Oosterwolde.
    Blok, Dirk P. (1959), De vestigingsgeschiedenis van Holland en Zeeland. In: Bijdr. en Meded. Naamk. comm. K.N.A.W. 17,13-38. Amsterdam.
    Blok, Dirk P. (1968), Plaatsnamen in Westfriesland. In: Phil. Fris. 1968, 11-19.
    Blok, Dirk P. (1969), Holland und Westfriesland. In: Frühmittelalterliche Studien 3, 347-361.
    Boekenoogen, G.J. (1897), De Zaansche Volkstaal.Leiden. Met aanvullingen door G.J. Boekenoogen en K. Woudt ... opnieuw uitgegeven. Zaandijk 1971 (2 volumes, the "idioticon" in vol. 2).
    Bree, Cor van (1997), Een oud onderwerp opnieuw bekeken: het Ingweoons. Afscheidscollege te Leiden (no publisher, no place).
    Bremmer, Rolf H. (1997), Het ontstaan van het Fries en het Hollands. In: Negen eeuwen Friesland-Holland. Geschiedenis van een haat-liefde verhouding, 67-76, eds. Philippus H. Breuker/A. Janse. Zutphen.
    Coetsem, Frans van (1988), Loan phonology and the two transfer types in language contact. Dordrecht.
    Daan, Johanna C. (1950), Wieringer Land en Leven in de Taal. Alphen aan de Rijn.
    Daan, Johanna C. (1956), Onze Friese familie. In: West-Frieslands Oud en Nieuw 23, 106-110.
    Gerritsen, Marinel (1991), Atlas van de Nederlandse Dialectsyntaxis (AND). Amsterdam.
    Goeman, Antonius C.M. (1984), Klank- en Vormverschijnselen in het Dialect van Zoetermeer. Publikaties van het P.J. Meertens Instituut. Amsterdam.
    Haeringen, C.B. Van (1921), Sporen van Fries buiten Fiesland. In: TNTL 40, 269-300
    Haeringen, C.B. Van (1923a), Sporen van Fries buiten Friesland. II. In: TNTL 42, 266-291
    Haeringen, C.B. Van (1923b), Friese elementen in het Hollands. In: DNT 17, 1-16.
    Heeroma, Klaas H. (1935), Hollandse Dialektstudies. Groningen.
    Heeroma, Klaas H. (1951), Oostnederlandse Taalproblemen.Meded. K.N.A.W., Lett. N.R. 14, 265-307.
    Heeroma, Klaas H. en Jan Naarding (1961), De Ontfriesing van Groningen. Zuidlaren.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1993), Over de implicaties van enkele morfo-syntactische eigenaardigheden in West-Friese dialecten. In: T&T 45, 135-154.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1994a), Oer de oerienkomst tusken de dialekten fan Noard-Hollân en it Frysk. In: Phil. Fris. 1993, 81-103.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1994b), Positie- en Bewegingsaspect bij Selectie van de Infinitief op -E of -EN in het Westfries en het Fries. In: T&T 46, 66-73.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1997a), Selectierestricties van het hulpwerkwoord KOMEN. In: Taalkundig Bulletin 27, 48-56.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1997b), Werkwoorden van rust in het Ruinens en varianten in de Germania. In: DmB 49, 97-112.
    Hoekstra, Eric (1998), Oer de oerienkomst tusken de dialekten fan Grinslânsk en it Frysk. In: Phil. Fris. 1996, 117-137.
    Hoekstra, Jarich (1992), Fering TU-infinitives, North Sea Germanic Syntax and Universal Grammar. In Fries. Stud. I.,99-142.
    Hoekstra, Jarich (1997), The Syntax of Infinitives in Frisian. Leeuwarden.
    Huizinga, J. (1914), Hoe verloren de Groningse Ommelanden hun oorspronkelijk Fries karakter? In: DmB 14, 1-77.
    Karsten, G. (1931/1934), Het Dialect van Drechterland, 1/II. Purmerend.
    Keyser, S. (1951), Het Tessels. Inleiding, vocabulaire en teksten. Leiden.
    Kloeke, G.G. (1951), Over provincialismen. In: DmB 3, 109-115.
    Kocks, G.H., J. Vording, A. Beugels, H. Bloemhoff (1996),Woordenboek van de Drentse dialecten. Assen.
    Laan, K. ter (1929), Nieuw Groninger Woordenboek. Groningen. Reprint 1977.
    Laan, K. ter (1953), Proeve van een Groninger Spraakkunst. Winschoten.
    Lafeber, A. met medewerking van L. Korstanje (1967), Het dialect van Gouda. Oudheidkundige Kring "Die Goude" te Gouda.
    Miedema, H.T.J. (1964), Inleiding. In: Nederlands Repertorium van Familienamen. III. Groningen, ed. P.J. Meertens. Assen, 5-22.
    Miedema, H.T.J. (1971), Noordzeegermaans en Vroegoudfries. De niet-friese ingweonismen in Schönfeld's Historische Grammatica. In: LB 60, 99-104.
    Molema, H. (1887),Woordenboek der Groningsche Volkstaal in de 19de eeuw. Groningen. Reprint 1985.
    Naarding, Jan (1947), Terreinverkenningen inzake de dialectgeografie van Drente. Assen.
    Overdiep, G.S. (1940), De Volkstaal van Katwijk aan Zee. Antwerpen.
    Pannekeet, Johannes Antonius (1979), Woordvorming in het Hedendaags Westfries. Amsterdam.
    Pannekeet, Johannes Antonius (1995), Het Westfries. Inventarisatie van Dialectkenmerken.Wormerveer.
    Reker, Siemon (1991), Groninger Grammatica. Veendam.
    Sassen, Albert (1953), Het Drents van Ruinen. Assen.
    Schmitt, L.E. (1942), Die Stadt Groningen und die Mundarten zwischen Laubach und Weser. In: ZMF 18, 134-170.
    Schönfeld, M. (1946), Ingvaeoons. Ntg 39, 55-59.
    Schönfeld, M. (1947), Historische Grammatica van het Nederlands. Zutphen.
    Schuringa, F.G. (1923), Het Dialect van de Veenkoloniën in verband met de overige tongvallen in de provincie Groningen. Groningen.
    Spoelstra, Sjoerd (1983), Enkhuizer Woordenboek. Amsterdam.
    Vries Az., J. De (1910), Westfriesche Woorden. Nieuwe Niedorp.


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