2004
Volume 72, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0039-8691
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1214

Abstract

Abstract

This research considers the pronunciation of the Standard Dutch vowel /œy/ in the Achterhoek region, where it is typically realised as a monophthong. Previous studies (eg. Kloeke, 1927; Van Reenen, 2005; 2006; Gerritsen and Jansen, 1979) have shown a variable use of [y] and [u] in this area of the Netherlands. However, this research follows on from previous studies by considering the links between rural and non-rural pronunciation, as well as a geographical split between the north and south of the region. During the summer of 2015, 34 Achterhoeks speakers (aged from 26-73) from different towns in the region were recorded completing a picture task and reading sentences designed to elicit marked dialectal pronunciations. F1 and F2 formant frequencies were analysed in Praat (Boersma and Weenink, 2014) and a formant editor developed by Sóskuthy (2014), and then compared in order to arrive at the results. These were then compared with the findings from a 1979 corpus designed by Leendert van Prooije. A system of classifying Dutch vowels into lexical sets (cf. Wells, 1982) was developed in order to more concisely discuss pronunciation differences; under this system, the vowels in question would fall under what has been termed the HUIS vowel.

The first result is that variations in the position of the vowel following some rhotics were observed in the speakers. Grouped into age, gender, and location, and measured through normalised formant frequencies, it was found that the more retracted vowel [u] was observed in rural speakers, whereas the fronted vowel [y] was seen in speakers from non-rural areas. Where the vowel appeared in any position other than following the rhotic consonant, it was realised as [y], without any observable differences between speakers. However, further analysis of the FAND II corpus revealed that this effect was not always consistent.

In the case of the HUIS vowel, it would appear there is variation based on the status of participants’ locations. The vowel [y] in this area of the Netherlands resulted in a shift from the older [u] of West Germanic dialects (Kloeke, 1927; Van Reenen, 2006), so here the [u] pronunciation after /r/ could be considered a relic of the older dialect of the area. This result was then considered alongside the possibility of a /ru/ isogloss involving more locations within the area of the Achterhoek. Using data from the FAND II database, it was found that there was some evidence for the existence of such an isogloss as a possible alternative explanation.

This study therefore presents the conclusion that, based on the HUIS vowel, the style of speakers residing in the north-eastern part of the Achterhoek is likely to be more representative of the traditional dialect. Further exploration of this conclusion could be set up in other aspects of speech, and thus we can consider the implications for the future of the dialect in the southern and western areas.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Achterhoeks; dialectology; Dutch; sociolinguistics; sociophonetics
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