Publication details

De distinctie tussen Nederlands-Nederlands en Belgisch-Nederlands door Centraal-Europese studenten Nederlands als Vreemde Taal

Title in English The Distinction between Netherlandic Dutch and Belgian Dutch Made by Central European Students of Dutch as a Foreign Language

ROYEAERD Sofie Rose-Anne W.

Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Brünner Beiträge zur Germanistik und Nordistik
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Netherlandic Dutch; Belgian Dutch; language variation; pronunciation differences; Dutch as a Foreign Language
Description In this article we examine the extent to which students of Dutch as a Foreign Language are able to distinguish between both European standard varieties of Dutch, i.e. Netherlandic Dutch and Belgian Dutch, and which phonetic indicators they use in doing so. In total, 66 students of Dutch in Central Europe participated in a distinction test, which was carried out in 2019 and 2022. The participants were native speakers of Hungarian or a Slavic language and had a minimal level of B1. Their task was to determine the national accent of 12 sound clips of ca. 30 seconds. The results show a correlation between language level and students’ ability to correctly distinguish between both varieties: upper-intermediate (B2) and advanced students (C1) scored significantly better (on average 76% and 84,5%) than intermediate students (B1), who determined only 61,7% of the stimuli correctly. Secondly, the students’ knowledge of (segmental) pronunciation differences between Netherlandic Dutch and Belgian Dutch was tested and they were asked which phonetic markers they use to determine the right accent. In both cases they were given a list of twenty consonants, consonants in certain positions and vowels, each category containing two “false” indicators (phonemes that do not show a north-south pattern of variation). This part was added to the distinction test in 2022, in which 24 students participated. We can conclude that students know and use a limited number of phonetic markers to distinguish between Netherlandic Dutch and Belgian Dutch and that the distinction between both varieties is not as obvious as for native speakers of Dutch, though this competence grows with language level (and supposedly, language exposure). In the last part of the article, we discuss the didactic implications of our findings.
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