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Why West Flanders is considered a dialect stronghold: 4 conclusions from the Great Dialect

Why West Flanders is considered a dialect stronghold: 4 conclusions from the Great Dialect

For those who still hear the thunder in Cologne: “Swim through the bites” It means as much as “party building”. The expression is at the top of the word list that the more than 12,000 participants in the Great Flanders Dialect Test want to continue to cherish. This list also contains more West Flemish words. classics like: mare (sandwich) and Jack, Nick, Gus, Nice (discharges yes and no).

1. West Flanders above

It’s “West Flanders at the top” on the list, which makes perfect sense. Nearly half of the people who completed the test were also from that province. According to the researchers, this basically shows that the dialect in that region is still very much alive. This can also be explained in historical terms, says Anne-Sophie Ghislaine, a linguist in the Dutch department of the UGent Linguistics Department. I worked on dialect testing with three other classmates and wrote together too Atlas of dialect in Flanders. “West Flanders is an area that hasn’t been urban or industrial for a long time, so fewer people from abroad have settled in,” says Gislin. “This means less language or dialect contact, so that there is less need for slang that was commonly understood.”

2. Women are less impressed

Another surprising fact in the test results: Women have more objections to accent than men. They know and use it less than men, and are more likely to find it marginal when they hear kids talking about it. They also find it less enjoyable to hear the accent on television and music than men. Ghyselen: “We’ve already seen this in international research. Accent is often associated with roughness, which is more likely to appeal to men. So fathers tend to insist on ‘clean’ language more with their daughters than their sons. By speaking the dialect, men sometimes think that they can emphasize their masculinity more. We also note from our data that this pattern clearly persists today.”

3. Tone lower

But there’s also less pleasant news for dialect lovers: the dialect is spoken less and less. 93% of those surveyed say they still understand dialect well. But only 74 percent said they speak the dialect of the municipality in which he grew up well. And only 55% say they often speak that dialect.

The younger, fewer participants indicated that they understood and spoke the dialect. Researchers say this loss of tone has several causes. In the 1960s to 1980s in particular, schools began to spread “clean Flemish” among students of all social classes, and linguistic purists campaigned for the introduction of Standard Dutch. Because according to them, that was the language that would help you move forward in life. As a result, many Flemish spontaneously began to associate the dialect with a lack of education and civilization. So parents began to raise their children more and more in this standard language.

4. Young people are not alienated

Dialects may be less spoken, but young people don’t seem to hate them more than old people. Although they look at it differently. While the older generations still see the dialect as their mother tongue, the language used in private life, they consider it normal for a news reader to use, say, Standard Dutch, and the same is true for young people. Younger generations are raising their children less and more with the dialect, because they do not want to jeopardize their school and career opportunities, but have fewer problems with hearing the dialect on the radio, television or in public. “If the dialect or intermediate language contributes to the originality of the presenter or singer, then it should be possible, according to Young,” says Ghislaine.

Three out of four young Flemings believe they can still hear where someone is coming from. They clearly recognize the West Flemish Wannes Cappelle or Antwerp of Slongs Dievanongs. Ghyselen though believes that distinction is fading. “People over 65 can still hear whether someone came from Ostend or Kortrijk, from Antwerp or Mechelen or from Ghent or Aalst. Those under 35 only hear the difference between West Flemish, Antwerp, Limburg or Ghent.

In almost all provinces, there is a loss of dialect, although not everywhere at the same rate. As mentioned, West Flanders remains the most vibrant dialect stronghold. There, too, young people seem to be more resistant to dialect than other provinces. Ghyselen: “For example: the word hug (singular) It occurs in both West and East Flemish. But it turns out that West Flemish youth more than East Flemish youth know the meaning.”

But what gave the researchers the most fun was that the test participants sent them messages automatically after they completed it. “Lots of people have really enjoyed this. For us, this is a sign that there is still a very high level of interest in these dialects.”

Atlas of dialect in Flanders By Johan De Caluwe, Veronique De Tier, Anne-Sophie Ghyselen and Roxane Vandenberghe Posted by Lannoo.

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