2004
Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5845
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1171

Abstract

Abstract

This paper reports on an explorative sociophonetic study of the phoneme /s/ in the Dutch language area. Our aim is to investigate the regional variation in the realisation of this phoneme, and to test experimentally the observation of Collins & Mees (2003) that /s/ is sometimes pronounced more like [ ʃ ], especially in the Randstad area (called ). One hundred native speakers of Dutch produced nineteen monosyllabic words containing /s/ in different syllabic contexts. The speakers were born and raised in one of five regions of the Dutch language area (West Flanders, Flemish Brabant, Netherlands Limburg, South Holland and Groningen). Spectral centre of gravity (CoG) and duration were used to measure the degree of s-retraction. CoG values turned out to be significantly lower (consistent with more retraction) in the regions in The Netherlands than in the Flemish regions. Speakers from South Holland produced significantly shorter /s/ than the other speakers. In conclusion, /s/ shows patterns of regional variation that are not fully in line with the observation forwarded by Collins & Mees (2003). The difference between the Flemish and Dutch regions shows that s-retraction is found in an area larger than the Randstad, possibly pointing towards a North-South pattern of variation.

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2019-09-01
2021-10-20
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): alveolar fricatives; regional variation; s-retraction; sociophonetics
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