Dialect levelling on the island of Ameland

Jansen, Mathilde Maria

Meertens Instituut, Netherlands, The


When dialects are levelling they converge to neighbour varieties in the first place, which is also the case for the two dialect varieties spoken on the island of Ameland. Although the islanders are very much aware of the geographically determined differences within their dialect, most of the distinctive features have disappeared among the youngest generations. However, hardly no convergence takes place between the Ameland dialect and Frisian mainland dialects, which is mainly caused by the geographical boundaries. Another characteristic of dialect levelling is the change in the direction of a dominant language, mostly the standard language. The influence of the surrounding standard languages is very strong on the island thanks to education, the mass media etcetera. A central question is this PhD study is whether the Ameland dialect changes towards the Frisian or Dutch standard. The results show us that the Dutch language is the most influential one in the case of the Ameland dialect, especially in the speech of young female speakers. Male speakers on the other hand prefer more local variants and develop even stronger dialectal features for which the old western male speakers, who can be considered as the NORM (non-mobile; old; rural and male) speakers, serve as a reference group. All these different behaviours will be explained in terms of the speakers' identity and speakers' attitudes towards surrounding languages.

Session: Paper session
Levelling 1
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 09:00-10:30
room: 15