Mutual Intelligibility of Standard and Regional Dutch Language Varieties

Leen Impe, Dirk Geeraerts and Dirk Speelman

in Computing and Language Variation

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780748640300
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671380 | DOI:
Mutual Intelligibility of Standard and Regional Dutch Language Varieties

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This chapter discusses the results of an experimental study which investigated the mutual intelligibility of various Dutch language varieties by performing a computer-controlled lexical decision task in which ten target varieties are evaluated — the Belgian and Netherlandic Dutch standard language as well as four regional varieties of both countries. The study auditorily presented real as well as pseudo-words in various varieties of Dutch to Netherlandic and Belgian test subjects, who were asked to decide as quickly as possible whether the items were existing Dutch words or not. The experiment's working assumption is that the faster the subjects react, the better the intelligibility of (the language variety of) the word concerned. This chapter briefly describes the mechanisms underlying the intelligibility results and discusses their relevance for this and other studies in the humanities, addressing non-linguistic determinants such as the informants' attitude towards or familiarity with certain language varieties as well as linguistic factors such as phonetic distance.

Keywords: intelligibility; Dutch; language varieties; Belgian; Netherlandic Dutch; humanities; linguistic factors; phonetic distance

Chapter.  6081 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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