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Differences between NL and BE Dutch

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Mattvonparis
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France
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 Message 1 of 5
14 March 2014 at 4:11pm | IP Logged 
Hi all,

I am currently studying Dutch quite intensively, with the help of an Assimil course and online resources. The Assimil course is entirely targeted at Dutch spoken in the Netherlands (Allgemeen Nederlands).

As I am learning Dutch because I spend quite a lot of time in Flanders, Belgium, I am wondering what the differences are between standard Dutch and Dutch spoken in Belgium. I know the question is quite tricky because Dutch spoken in Belgium (Flemish) is in fact a set of local different dialects. But I read that Flemisch people tend to use a kind of common dialect when speaking to somebody not speaking the same dialect, which may be refered as Belgium standard Dutch (ABN) or Tussentaal (Did I get this right ?).

At this point of my studying, I am more interested in differences between AN and ABN but would gladly welcome any input on differences with/between dialects.

I am interested in any differences on vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation (especially about how the letter G is prononced in these different variants of Dutch).

I searched on the internet but did not find any satisfactory answer.

Thanks for your input, ideas, or help on this question.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
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 Message 2 of 5
14 March 2014 at 4:23pm | IP Logged 
See this thread. ReneeMona links to a word list in Dutch while blauw's explanation is quite clear on what can be meant by "Flemish" (i.e. it can refer to Standard Belgian Dutch or some non-standard form spoken in Flanders which is not fully mutually intelligible with any variant of Dutch)
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tarvos
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 Message 3 of 5
14 March 2014 at 4:39pm | IP Logged 
Mattvonparis wrote:
Hi all,

I am currently studying Dutch quite intensively, with the help of an Assimil course and
online resources. The Assimil course is entirely targeted at Dutch spoken in the
Netherlands (Allgemeen Nederlands).

As I am learning Dutch because I spend quite a lot of time in Flanders, Belgium, I am
wondering what the differences are between standard Dutch and Dutch spoken in Belgium.
I know the question is quite tricky because Dutch spoken in Belgium (Flemish) is in
fact a set of local different dialects. But I read that Flemisch people tend to use a
kind of common dialect when speaking to somebody not speaking the same dialect, which
may be refered as Belgium standard Dutch (ABN) or Tussentaal (Did I get this right ?).


Every Dutch-speaking person speaks local dialect first (unless they're from a mixed
heritage). These dialects, however, are in the Netherlands often subsumed under Dutch
because especially in the west, they closely mirror the standard (though people from
different cities are easy to tell apart - you could give me 30 people and I could tell
you the province easily, sometimes down to the city). In Belgium, the diglossia is more
marked because the standard language is based mostly on Hollandic (and a bit on
Brabantian dialects), but Flemish has nothing to do with Hollandic at all, and
Brabantian dialects only form a part of the substrate of dialects in Flanders. Thus the
difference between speaking and writing in Belgium is larger than in the Netherlands -
but if you come across someone from Groningen, Friesland, Limburg, Twente or Brabant
(and also Zeeland) then you will hear that they often deviate from the norm too. The
general rule is that the degree of dialect is older with age - younger people speak a
more streamlined Dutch. In Belgium, I am told this differs, and in Belgium younger
people defend dialect more fiercely. Younger people tend to be easier to understand,
although they will have a local accent. And I know younger people with very marked
accents too.

However, the problem arises when you start mixing people from different dialectal
variants. In Flanders, someone from Bruges and from Genk speak entirely different
variants which are hard to mix. Thus, there's a need for a common denominator, that's
the standard language with local accent and in Belgium local vocabulary (there is a set
of words that have equivalents in Belgium that are never used in the Netherlands. It's
important to know these if you are in Flanders - for example a student dorm is called a
kot in Belgium but a kamer in Dutch, and so on). Belgians usually speak this variant
when they need to talk to someone that is not from their hometown, and even then the
dialect tends to slip through somewhat.'

The take-home message: Flemish people will probably speak dialect, but not to you as a
foreigner, unless you're really in very informal private situations. And don't feel
left out - they do this to countrymen with another dialect as well.

Quote:
At this point of my studying, I am more interested in differences between AN and
ABN but would gladly welcome any input on differences with/between dialects.


In writing, it's the same language, with exception to vocabulary items. The grammatical
differences are minimal (Belgians insist on three genders, that IJ is two letters, and
that you can use alternative forms for 2nd person pronouns - however the latter also
exist in some Dutch variants. In speech the difference is huge.

Quote:
I am interested in any differences on vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation
(especially about how the letter G is prononced in these different variants of Dutch).


G above the rivers is velar or even uvular. Compare it to the Ach-laut of German, the
Chaf of Modern Hebrew, etc. Below the rivers, that is, in the Netherlands, below the
Meuse and the Rhine, the g is soft (so also in Brabant, Limburg. Not necessarily in
Zeeland). Soft means that the g is pulled more towards the front of your mouth. I think
it's palatal, but opinions on where to place it differ. It certainly is not uvular and
I doubt it is velar. Palato-velar maybe? You'll recognise the difference.

In Zeeland and West-Flanders h and g get mixed up. Furthermore, in Flanders the r is
almost exclusively rolled; some diphthongs have more monophthong-like qualities in
Flanders - the sentence melody is different - vowels can get elongated (like saying
tüssen for tussen, which in the Netherlands is a schwa), and there's some other stuff
as well.



Edited by tarvos on 14 March 2014 at 5:01pm

8 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
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 Message 4 of 5
14 March 2014 at 6:32pm | IP Logged 
How would you compare the h and g to Russian? (I assume you're familiar with the "Ukrainian" kind of it too since many Russians use it)
1 person has voted this message useful



tarvos
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Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
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 Message 5 of 5
14 March 2014 at 7:22pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
How would you compare the h and g to Russian? (I assume you're
familiar with the "Ukrainian" kind of it too since many Russians use it)


Yeah. Russian х is velar. That is the same as our "ch". h is a voiced English h in
principle, but in many dialects voiced and voiceless tend to merge (except for the d/t
and b/p pairs and sometimes v and z intervocalically), so often it resembles the
English h. I think H in Dutch is the same as that of German. It definitely contrasts
with g and has a fair amount of minimal pairs (hoed vs goed).

Dutch g is, nominally, the Ukrainian/southern Russian /г/ (voiced variant of /x/), but
in the Netherlands often realised as a uvular variant, merging with "ch" also becoming
uvular. (The exact realization depends on the speaker). In the Netherlands g tends to
merge with ch and become voiceless, except for the south.

In Belgium, it is usually lighter than both, and palatal or palatal-velar (never
exactly velar I think). Belgians maintain voiced/voiceless distinction as well, which
is something Dutch people rarely do (except people from Brabant and Limburg).

In Zealand and West Flanders they are the same thing and come down to a "h" (the city
of Goes in Zealandic pronunciation is jokingly called Hoes).

This is why /g/ in Russian transliteration is always realised with a г, never with a х,
although the pronunciation х is usually closer (and in the Netherlands often even
correct). For г you should assume that the г is as in Ukrainian/southern Russian when
transcribing Dutch names and places. But /g/ contrasts with /ch/, never with k!!!!!!

One thing is certain - whatever the realisation, /g/ is a fricative, NEVER a stop.

One way to tell /g/ is historically voiced - the rules for past tense formation (as
well as the participle) hinge on the last consonant of the verb stem - if it ends in g,
you get a d (which is voiced).



Edited by tarvos on 14 March 2014 at 7:35pm



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