| Lecture at the Colloquium 'Dialect and
Standard Language', Amsterdam, 15-18 October 1990
As the dialects nowadays are disappearing because of loss of function,
so there is no longer place or function for a homogenous Standard
language in a modern society with a high degree of democracy and
with people of very different origins.
What we see is a shift of the Standard Language towards the dialects
and regiolects, and other kinds of 'lects'. In the Netherlands there
are many symptoms which support my convic-tion, that a uniform Standard
Language will never exist, because of the absence of interest and
need for it.
This is not a report or a description of any investigation or research.
My contribution is only an impressionistic view on some random but
- I hope - cohesive observations about the language situation in
the Netherlands. I conceived the idea for this paper when I realized
that all those immense changes in dialects within an area which
also has a Standard Language, can not take place without influencing
the Standard Language itself.
Around 30 years ago, several dialectologists argued that the dialects
in the Netherlands - as in other European countries - were disappearing
at an alarming rate. For dialectology this meant that the time for
real investigations and sampling was almost gone: the clock was
moving towards midnight, as we were saying to each other, almost
Nowadays these alarming messages seem to be fading, but this does
not mean that such prophecies have not come true. On the contrary:
dialects in the meaning the word was taken then, languages (grammar
and lexicon) which are used in a village or small area, have been
dramatically reduced. This means that they have lost a lot of their
specific elements, such as phonological, morphological and also
lexical items, in wich they differ from other dialects, their so
called primary dialect features (Hoppenbrouwers 1990, 40-41, after
Schirmunski), and that before too long they will be lost irretrievably.1
Nobody seems to worry about this anymore, because of drastic changes
in dialectology itself. No longer are static dialects the
object of investigation, but rather changing or even dying dialects.
Dialectologists and sociolinguists are so preoccupied with investigations
of dialect reduction, dialect attrition, dialect maintenance and
dialect loss, that only a few among them seem to have an ear or
an eye for what is going on in the Standard Language. Nevertheless,
the spoken Standard language is undergoing the same kind
of development as the original dialects: a shift from one extreme
of the languagecontinuum towards the other end, but, of course,
with the opposite result. Dialects are converging by dropping what
separates them, i.e. their primary features; the Standard Language
is diverging by adopting more and more elements from all kinds of
1. Views on Standard Language
In the Netherlands, the definition of "Standard Language" by Otto
Jespersen has been very popular for years. One of the most important
Dutch linguists of the recent past, C.B. van Haeringen, adopted
Jespersen's idea that proper, i.e. cultured Dutch is the speech
of a person without traces of the area from which he or she originates.
Van Haeringen wrote this in 1924. He accepted personal variations
but no variations that betray somebody's geographic origin. In many
grammars and schoolbooks for different kinds of teaching, Standard
Language without variations was propagated, but never openly discussed,
because everybody considered it was normal to try to speak without
any geographically determined accent. This opinion had already been
voiced in the Netherlands one hundred years earlier, i.e. in 1828.2
For the Netherlands one can say that, according to the Jespersen
definition, only people whose accent was that of the centre of the
provinces of Holland were cultured people, because that area was
economicaly speaking superior to the rest. But this does not mean
that all educated people spoke this "Hollandic-Dutch". On the contarary:
there has never been a time in Dutch language history when people
who were born and educated in other provinces spoke Dutch
without a local or regional accent.
The discussion about the state of the Dutch Standard Language continued
with the appearance of a small booklet by the famous Dutch dialectologist,
G.G. Kloeke, the author of the well known book about the Expansion
from the provinces of Holland. In 1951 Kloeke stated that the so-called
miserable situation of the Dutch Standard language and the neglect
of the mother tongue was due to some kind of loss of authority among
teachers and writers. On the other hand, however, he disagreed with
Van Haeringen since he speaks about "The Legend of the Standard
Language" (Kloeke 1951: 8 and 54). Kloeke did not believe in a standard
language which is uniform. Nevertheless, he recognized the need
to speak in a cultured way. Therefore his publication ends with
the statement that the effort to speak in a cultured way is something
all civilized people have in common, because it is one of the essential
marks of a culture. However, Kloeke's idea of a culture is clearly
a very narrow one. In fact, his statement means that only a person
who tries to speak in another way than he has learned to speak as
a child is a cultured person. I believe that this type of opinion
is a thing of the past. In modern, even in not too modern sociology,
a completely different idea about culture is normal, as we will
see later on (Wouters 1990).
The next sign of reflection on the character of the Dutch Standard
Language also comes from dialectologists. In 1988, a group of them
made a proposal for a research project to be funded by the Stichting
Taalwetenschap ('Dutch Foundation for Linguistics'). Its aim was
to describe the pronunciation of Standard Dutch, including the accepted
stylistic and geographic variation, and to establish a point of
reference, based on the subjective norm of pronunciation in the
Netherlands. The plan was to have a group of listeners judge different
kinds of speech and to reach a common idea about what kinds of pronunciation
are acceptable in Standard Dutch.
It is clear that this view of the Standard Language is totally
different from the older opinions. In fact, this plan no longer
deals with the Dutch Standard Language as it was defined in the
past: a uniform kind of language. Thus it illustrates a very important
change in the ideas about Standard Languages. The uniform Standard
Language as an ideal has disappeared. Clearly, Dutch society accepts
a large degree of variation, but that does not mean that we have
to redefine 'Standard Language', which was the point of view of
the researchproject leaders. In my opinion, the essence of a real
Standard Language, as a fact or even as an ideal, is exactly its
uniformity. A community that has given up this ideal accepts a common
language which is allowed every further development.
2. The Change of the Standard Language
Anyone who thinks that a language with all kinds of accepted variation
can function as a Standard Language is wrong; it is a contradiction
in terms. A Standard Language, even as an ideal, is only a realistic
concept if it is uniform and homogeneous. Variation is contrary
to that idea. It is either Jespersen or nothing at all. A Standard
Language which is developing towards another position on the socalled
language-continuum is on its way out.
If we keep in mind that famous language-continuum, we see the dialects
and the sociolects at one end and the homogeneous Standard Language
at the other. As becomes clear from many investigations, most dialects
are changing towards the Standard end of the continuum, by giving
up first the most extreme features and later on the rest. The result
will be a number of socalled 'regiolects' (Hoppenbrouwers 1990:
84). But in the meantime, the Standard Language itself is moving
in the opposite direction by adopting more and more elements from
regional languages , urban dialects and so on. This is in fact the
result of a sort of depolarization. When the original dialects were
still alive, the Standard Language offered a very sharp contrast.
From the moment dialects lost their most extreme characteristics,
the need for a contrastive Standard Language was no longer so great.
And so we see both ends of the continuum moving towards one another.
Someday they will become one and the same. Since polarization is
caused by two factors, the development of one pole losing
its extremities automatically brings on the same development of
the other pole.
In a given situation, such as in the Netherlands, in which the
dialects are moving towards each other and also towards the 'General
Language', it is to be expected that there will come a time in which
the differences between all regiolects on the one hand and the 'General
Language' on the other will be so small that at the next moment
the difference is gone or beyond practical use. Following this argumentation,
one may expect that Code-switching between Standard Language and
Dialect or Regiolect is a phenomenon that is disappearing, because
the two codes are coming too close together, especially when people
are using their dialects less, in favour of the so-called Standard
Now I would like to give some examples of the changes that have
taken place in Dutch pronunciation and also of some grammatical
changes. First of all there is a very striking contrast between
the Dutch language as a whole as it was broadcast on the radio 50
years ago and the language that one can hear on the radio nowadays.
But even a recording of a radio-report from the sixties sounds very
dated. I recently heard one by a person who still makes radio reports
nowadays and he sounded like he was a different person then, because
of his intonation, the more cultivated even 'put on' way of speaking
(but notice that this is my present opinion, not that of 30 years
ago!). His language shows an impressive evolution over a period
of 30 years and I believe that that is the case with everyone. By
the way, this idea does not agree very well with the concept of
apparent time and the idea that people do not change their language
very much after the age of 20. If even the Standard Language of
one person changes markedly, what to think of dialect-speakers of
the older generations. As far as I know, no one has paid the least
attention to this interesting aspect of the Dutch Standard Language.
And now for more details. Other linguists have pointed out in passing
that (oral) Standard Dutch adsopts more and more phonological, morphological,
and lexcial variants from the urban dialects of the cities in the
provinces of Holland. See for example the diphthongized pronunciation
of /e./ and /o./ (Hinskens 1985). But, of course, this has been
happening for years in almost every region of our country.
Another vowel which is changing in the language of educated people,
who, incidentally, are in the majority in 1990, is the diphthong
which has its origin in the long high vowel /i./. In Standard Dutch
this vowel is represented by the diphthong [ei]: blijven
('to stay'), tijd ('time'), kijken ('to look'), etc..
Most of the time one hears instead a much lower diphthong which
is near the English and German representation [ai]. This pronunciation
can be heared not only on the ferry between Amsterdam Central Station
and the North of Amsterdam (traditionally the part of the city in
which most lower class people are living), in the elevator of buildings
of the University of Amsterdam, but also in the better record shops,
bookshops, by radio, etc.3
In the language of the western part of our country, forms like
nie, da, as, effe, vinne, etc.
are heard more and more frequently instead of niet ('not'),
dat ('that'), als ('if'), even ('even') and
vinden ('to find') (Giesbers 1989: 93). Even in radio and
TV-programs, made and broadcast in the provinces of Holland, such
forms are used, although they originate from other dialects or regiolects.
One special item is the so called soft /g/, by which until now people
from the southern provinces in special circumstances were discriminated.
Another kind of change has to do with the paradigms of some verbs
and pronouns. The moment is not far off, I believe, when the pronoun
hun ('them') in subject function will become the normal form,
and ze the 'deviant' form (De Rooij 1990: 140-141). The same
will happen with hij heb for hij heeft. The form je
kan is already normal since years, versus the older form je
kunt. Originally, these forms were substandard and mostly used
in the cities of the western part of the Netherlands, but more recently
these forms have come to be wrongly interpreted as Standard forms
and, as such, they have penetrated many other dialects all over
the country (De Rooij 1990: 140). Now we see these forms coming
back in the speech of dialect speakers, even when they intend to
speak Standard Dutch. But also with people using the 'received pronunciation',
forms such as hij heb occur more often than the listener
is conscious of; in other words, they go almost unnoticed. Perhaps,
they have already some kind of 'prestige'.
In 1971 Van Haeringen published an article in which he discussed
several changed and accepted pronunciations in the Standard Language.
It concerns cases such as ik vin for ik vind, ik
wor, for ik word, and forms that have lost the /d/ between
vowels: rijen, houwen, and so on. In 1924, the year
of his famous article about unity and variation in the pronunciation
of cultured Dutch he found these forms quite unacceptable.
At the moment, there is a research project in progress in the city
of Heerlen. Object of research is the Standard Language in that
Limburg town, as it is spoken by people whose parents are from outside
the province. Before the project started it was clear that these
people betrayed their Limburg origins just the same, even if they
had not spoken a syllable in the local dialect, if they could. So
what can we expect from people who were born and raised in a dialect-speaking
family. It seems impossible that the so called Standard Language
there, will ever be a language without Limburg elements such as
intonation, regressive assimilation of voice, etc.
We chose this Limburg city of Heerlen for several reasons. First,
there is no other city in the Netherlands in which the population
has grown so fast in so short a time, mostly because of people moving
in from areas with no Limburg dialect. The second reason is that
the original dialect of Heerlen was very different from Standard
Dutch, so we believed that in Limburg Standard Dutch dialect influence
or penetration would be more obvious. Of course, the same kind of
development which creates a Standard Dutch, or better: General Dutch,
with dialect influence can be found in many other Dutch cities.
3. The Situation in other Countries
All this is quite different from the expectations we had in the
past, for example, about teaching in relation to the spread of the
Standard Dutch Language (Jo Daan 1990). But nowadays we are in the
strange situation that, despite a well equipped educational system
and good teachers, a uniform Standard Dutch or something that comes
near that ideal is further away than ever. The paradox is complete
in the sense that many more people than in the past have the opportunity
to hear Standard Dutch, technically speaking, because of the enormous
spread of TV, radio, and so on. However, one thing is different:
in the past the radio itself was the medium par excellence for the
This situation has totally changed. As a result of liberal broadcast
policy in the Netherlands almost everyone has the possibility to
broadcast whatever he or she wants. So at the moment there are a
great number of local or regional radio stations that use the local
or regional dialects. They show a rainbow of all kinds of variations
of Dutch and demonstrate that almost every kind of Dutch is now
acceptable. Fifty years ago, such a thing would have been impossible:
radio was identified with Standard Language. Everybody who had to
speak in front of a microphone would change his speech in several
ways, below or above the level of consciousness. The idea that to
speak in front of a microphone demands a special kind of language
has not disappeared completely, especially not at the national radio
stations, but more and more even their language is showing geographically
This development of the Standard Language towards a broad spectrum
of varieties, in fact the absence of a real Standard Language, is
far from exclusive to the Netherlands. Although most of the participants
of the Colloquium about "Dialect and Standard Language" held in
October 1990 dealt with the influence of a Standard Language on
dialects, I have found remarks in several lectures of this Colloquium
(which are also published in this volume) which perfectly fit my
opinion about a diverging or even a disappearing Standard Language.
Trudgill's Abstract ends with the sentence: "We do, however, see
a penetration of lowerprestige, non-RP (Received pronunciation)
accents into public contexts where formerly only RP was found."
Also in Hanssen's lecture (in this volume) about the Norwegian
situation I found some things that reminded me of the Dutch situation.
In some respects the development in Norway seems to have proceeded
further than the development in the Netherlands. Hanssen makes it
clear that the Norwegians use a large number of regional and social
dialects, which enjoy a high status in society. People who move
to another part of the country normally stick to their primary variety.
One can observe this, he says, in nationwide radio and TV programs,
like news bulletins, etc.. However there is one main difference
between Norwegian and Dutch, because the Norwegian language does
not really have any kind of spoken Standard, only a written Standard
Language, be it with a great freedom of choice. Hanssen has observed
that most of the innovations within Norwegian dialects have their
origin in some other social dialect, not the national standard.
This is the same process as the one taking place in the Netherlands,
and which has resulted in a number of regiolects, or the situation
that has developed in the former GDR with its 'regionale Umgangssprache'.
(See his contribution - E. Hanssen, 'Variation versus standardisation.
The case of Norwegian bokmål: some sociolinguistic trends'
- in this volume: Leuvensteijn van, J.A. and Berns, J.B. (eds.),
Dialect and Standard Language in the English, Dutch, German,
Norwegian Language Areas. Proceedings of he Colloquium 'Dialect
and the Standard Language', Amsterdam, 15-18 October 1990).
Helmut Sch÷nfeld has a view on the Standard Language in his country,
which is different from mine. He writes that the Spoken Standard
Language contains a number of regional variants. I understand that
he expects those variants to disappear, while my expectations are
the opposite, as far as Dutch is concerned.
In Austria, regional speech is spreading while the Standard Language
is still in normal use in public situations. I would like to know,
though, what kind of Standard is meant here, because Wiesinger points
out that even the Standard Language adopts some dialectal elements
(see P. Wiesinger, "Zur Interaktion von Dialekt und Standardsprache
in Österreich' in this volume).
4. The Causes of the Change of the Standard Language
Now I have to discuss the reasons why - in my opinion - the Dutch
Standard Language is on its way out. First of all, I should mention
here the kind of education young people are given, at primary and
secondary school, as regards the mothertongue. Especially the attitude
of the teachers is of great importance. During the last decades
there has been quite a revolutionary change in education, which
has reduced the interest in language and the rules of language to
a very low level. The capability, even the will to teach children
to spell, seems totally absent. Everybody writes according to his
or her own system or feelings; only in official writing some people
try to write according to the official spelling rules, which were
fixed in 1954. The same with other aspects of language-teaching.
There is a lot of time in the school programs for teaching and training
communication, but very little for things like idiom, speaking,
pronunciation and so on.4
Another important question in education is that of the great number
of foreigners of all nations which now form a very important part
of the Dutch population. In the cities most primary schools have
classes with 50% non-Dutch children. It is obvious that this will
bring tremendous changes to our language. A time will come when
the majority of the people in the Netherlands have parents who originate
from foreign countries. And the question, one of the questions,
at least, is whether enough time, money and teachers are available
to teach all these foreigners as good a Dutch as was wanted in the
past, a Standard Dutch as defined by Van Haeringen, a Dutch without
foreign elements. In my opinion it is to be expected that this will
have an important influence on the 'lowering' of the standard of
Dutch and that because of this the number of people who speak SubStandard
Dutch in all kinds of varieties will increase enormously and that
all those varieties will be accepted.
The other side of the coin: in a situation with such tolerance
towards variation, as witnessed by the planned research-project
by Dutch Dialectologists, it is clear that it is difficult to find
a way to teach the right way. So it is not so strange that teachers
who are confronted with different possibilities, all of which are
acceptable in a sense, do not know what to teach and what to condemn
or correct. So the best way is to keep quiet and talk about other
things, literature for example. Making corrective remarks about
someone's speech does not create applause nowadays; most of the
time one is laughed at.
5. The Change of the Society
All this illustrates a very important change in the Dutch society
which has great consequences for all aspects of language and language
use. The state of the Netherlands is - at least officially - one
of the oldest democracies in the world, but that does not mean that
in the past the people themselves had the feeling that they lived
in a democracy. Most of the time they had no feelings at all, I
suppose, or rather, we do not know what they were feeling and we
believe they were satisfied with their position and (lack of) rights.
The situation now is quite different in the sense that most of the
people in the Netherlands are convinced that they have rights and
that people are not only born equal but can also live equal to a
In my opinion, the great freedom in spelling, as in other aspects
of society which used to be ruled by norms for no other reason than
because there should be rules (e.g. clothing, music of all kinds),
is one of the results of the sixties. This sort of revolutionary
period changed people's minds in such a way that no rules whatsoever
were accepted, simply because they were rules. People learned to
ask others and themselves the reasons for many rules and in every
case the rules were questioned. Also, teaching grammar and pronunciation
of the Dutch Language is no longer an important part of the curriculum.
So most people do not have a proper idea about what their language
is and what it can do.
History makes it clear that people want to try to speak Standard
Dutch only to achieve something. A person who has everything he
or she wants (status, money, power, etc.) does not need to speak
in a different way than he or she likes.
In 1962, Van den Toorn started his article about 'cultured language
and the language of cultured people' with a passage from Thackeray's
novel Vanity Fair (1848). In that fragment one of the protagonists
makes an interesting distinction when somebody has made a 'language
error': "but rich baronets do not need to be careful about grammar,
as poor governesses must be" (quoted by Van den Toorn 1962:158).
So Van den Toorn concludes that in the time of Thackeray rich people
also had the privilege of making language errors which a poor governess
was not allowed to make. So, in fact, correct use of language means
nothing else than socially acceptable use of language.
In a recent article, Guido Geerts also makes a connection between
power and the use of language (1987:169). He quotes Mey, who states
that the real reason for powerlessness is not the absence of communication;
rather the latter is in fact a symptom of the former: this is the
way weakness becomes visible.
I think it is interesting to be controversial. So I risk the hypothesis
that in every society in which people can function as equals or
in which they have built up enough selfconfidence, a uniform Standard
Language is no longer a goal to be reached; everbody can stick to
his own original language because all language varieties are equal.
In other words, social development influences the creation or change
of a Standard Language. On this point I completely disagree with
Van den Toorn who states that the more equal people become the more
uniform they will make their language (Van den Toorn 1974: 275276).
It is just the opposite: the more equal people are, the more they
will stick to their own language.
I want to go even further: in every situation in which a uniform
Standard Language is propagated, people are more or less unequal
and they are discriminated against or have feelings of inferiority.
They are misled by stories or tales about the need of a Standard
Language to achieve something in life. However nobody derives his
or her power from the Standard Language, but of course this is only
known to the people who have power ... and to Thackeray. One of
the main differences - in my opinion - between the situation in
Belgium and the Netherlands as far as the position and status of
Standard Dutch is concerned, is that in daily life more people in
the Netherlands are aware of their rights than in Belgium. Most
people in the Netherlands claim tolerance for themselves. I often
have the idea that in Belgium there is a greater distance between
the man or woman in the street and the authorities. People also
are less aggressive or assertive. So Belgium possesses the kind
of respect for authority which is a condition for the development
of a Standard Language according to the view of Van Haeringen. In
Belgium, more people see the value and the importance of such a
language and they are very sensitive on this point, this apart from
the political role that the standard language plays there. So I
think that the idea of a uniform Standard Language as an ideal will
live much longer in Belgium than in the Netherlands. But even there
it will disappear. And finally we will reach a situation in which
all types and variants of language are equal, just as it is our
opinion that people are equal.
Perhaps this situation will be not unlike the one we met during
our stay in Canada, a few years ago. One day we had a very interesting
experience in the district of Hamilton, Canada. In some kind of
local folklore museum we heard a man explaining how to spin wool.
He spoke English, but his English was so accented that I immediately
noticed that he came from Rotterdam. We were very surprised to see
that everybody was listening very seriously to what he was saying.
Nobody, not even the native speakers of English, seemed to be disturbed
at all by his language; everybody appreciated his explanation. No
remarks, no laughs. This was totally different from what we often
see in the Netherlands.
What is it that makes Canada so different from the Netherlands
in this respect, I pondered. Of course, there is the different history.
In the beginning the Netherlands were a feudal state, with a very
complex hierarchy. Since the Middle Ages the Netherlands have become
a society with different classes: a society in wich a few people
had a lot of power and money, many people had a little bit of power
and most people had no power or money at all. I think that the respect
for only one variant, the Standard Language and the negative attitude
towards other varieties of Dutch, is a heritage of that society.
Discrimination, indeed, is inherent in a society which has a class-system.
The situation is complicated by the fact that until the 19th century
the provincies in the Netherlands are autonome, so only during the
last two centuries the Dutch Standard Language is spreading all
over the country.
Canadian society on the contrary was built by people from everywhere:
nobody had more, or was more, than anyone else. You could say: this
society is a society with equals, because of the absence of anything
with which one could discriminate.
Nowadays we see a strong reduction of many types of discrimination
in the Netherlands, even of discrimination of language, which always
has been tolerated in our society even if it could damage people's
there is an increasingly positive attitude towards other people's
language, especially among the younger generations. The defense
of the old Standard Language however is in the hands of the older
generation. And here we encounter another paradox. Modern society
is growing older, which means that more people are becoming old,
but, because retirement age is the same as or even earlier than
in the past, the most conservative part of society is unemployed
and does not play an important role anymore. As a result most people
on radio and TV who have influence are relatively young so what
you can hear everyday is more the language of the younger generation
than that of all generations. Of course, the opinion of the younger
generation about the Language-situation is important to know, because
this can give us some insight into their language-choice.
To find out about this I have recently done a small survey among
my students in the Department of Netherlandic studies about their
opinion of the Standard Language. One of the first things worth
mentioning is that their definition of a Standard Language is quite
the same as the one by Jespersen, but at the same time they make
it clear that this is an unrealistic and undesirable ideal. To the
question what kind of speech they find irritating, only a minority
answered 'dialectal accents'; most students have more problems with
affected speech. This seems to be the opposite of the way it was
in the past.
Our students do not want a uniform Standard Language, but it is
their main concern, even their only concern, that people can understand
each other. So in their opinion there is only the need for a language
that is general enough. But to reach that aim it seems no longer
necessary for people to learn the foreign language that the Standard
Language for most of them actually is, but to let the process I
have mentioned take its course. By that process all varieties, including
the Standard variety, are coming closer, so in the end we automatically
speak more or less the same language.
6. Standard Language and Informalisation of Society
This development of the Standard Language, which I have discussed
above and which finds its illustration in the small survey of the
Amsterdam students, is not an isolated one; far from it. The work
of Norbert Elias shows that language, and in this case the Standard
Language, is part of the civilisation process as he describes it
and as further developed by Wouters (1990). According to Elias the
essence of the civilisation process in the 20th century has two
aspects: the reduction of contrasts and at the same time the increase
Talking about non-linguistic aspects of civilisation Wouters states
that the contrasts are minimalized, the extremes of behaviour and
emotion are coming closer to each other, the continuum of behaviour,
emotion and morals has become less broad than before. The norms
by which people judge each other's behaviour are less rigid and
nonnormal behaviour is supposed to be excused by external factors
and extenuating circumstances. This process as a whole is called
Of course this informalisation also reflects on the Standard Language.
So Hoppenbrouwers (as Van den Toorn before) has made a mistake by
expecting that the civilisation-process will lead to the standardisation
or the uniformisation of the common language. The period of informalisation
in which we live now causes the norms within society to become freer
than before and places people in situations in which they have to
make their own rules and norms. They are thrown back upon their
own resources; they will have to find their own proper balance in
all the different circumstances in which they are placed.
As far as language is concerned this means that the extremes (say
the dialects on the one hand and the homogeneous Standard Language
on the other) are disappearing and that the so called Standard Language
is changing into a broad spectrum of variations which are all accepted.
This agrees very much with the development as described in the previous
pages and which differs completely from the rather static situation
described and defended by Kloeke. In 1924, Van Haeringen had a very
different expectation, when he wrote: "The ideal of the future,
or let me be more neutral, the direction in which the development
is going, is that both of these (i.e. the unified language and the
Dutch of cultured people) are really identical, in other words,
that everybody who wants to speak in a cultured way will try to
unlearn all dialect elements." (My translation, JS). He called this
irresistable. In 1990, in a period with the best educational system
that has ever existed in the Netherlands, with the possibility of
participation for almost everyone who wants to, I dare to say that
a unified language, which in no way betrays the speaker's origin
or status, is further out of reach than ever: because of lack of
interest, it has now disappeared behind the horizon.
1. See also the interview with Peter Trudgill
in the Dutch paper De Volkskrant, 20 October 1990: 'Traditional
dialects are dying in a catastrophic way' (my translation, JS).
2. In 1828 Van der Felz, in his days burgomaster
of Epe, wrote: 'However to get a good and pure language it is necessary
to pronounce it exactly as in the written language, and in such
a way that no one can hear the region a person comes from.' (my
("het evenwel een vereischte is dat, om
eene goede zuivere taal te hebben men die behoort uit te spreken
zo als dezelve geschreven wordt zonder te kunnen horen in welke
Streek des Lands iemand thuis behoort") (See: Daan 1989: 198) Back
3. This is also the opninion of the Dutch language-investigator
and dialectologist Prof. dr. A. Weijnen, as he told me. Back
4. Personal information by Mrs. M. Barend-Van
Haeften, teacher in Diadacts, University of Amsterdam. Back
5. This kind of discrimination is not unlike
the discrimination by for example a TV-station which refuses a person
because of colour of skin; in the latter case the discrimination
is covered by other arguments, discrimination by language is defended
straight and openly. See also Daan 1989: 238. Back
- Blancquaert 1950, E.
- Practische uitspraakleer van de Nederlandse taal, Antwerpen,
- Cassier 1986, L. and P. van de Craen
- 'Vijftig jaar evolutie van het Nederlands', J. Creten a.o. (eds.),
Werkinuitvoering; momentopnamen van de sociolingu´stiek in
BelgiŰ en Nederland, Amersfoort, 59-73.
- Daan 1989, J.
- 'Als niet komt tot iet... Nederlands van hoog tot laag', Verslagen
en Mededelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse taal-
en letterkunde vol.2, 168-245.
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van een diskussievergadering', J. de Rooij (ed.), Variatie
en Norm in de Standaardtaal, Amsterdam, 165-174.
- Haeringen 1925, C.B.
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nieuwe taalgids 18, 65-86; ook in Neerlandica, 's Gravenhage
- Haeringen 1971, C.B.
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- Hagen 1981, A.
- Standaardtaal en dialectsprekende kinderen, Muiderberg.
- Hinskens 1985, F.
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Gramma 9, 115-140.
- Hoppenbrouwers 1983, C.
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- id. 1990
- Het regiolect; van dialect tot Algemeen Nederlands, Muiderberg.
- Kloeke 1951, G.G.
- Gezag en norm bij het gebruik van Verzorgd Nederlands,
- Paardekooper 1966, P.C.
- ABN en dialekt, Den Bosch, 2e druk.
- Rooij 1990, J. de
- 'Over hun en hen, en hun,' in: Taal en Tongval 42, 107-147.
- Toorn 1962, M.C. van den
- 'Beschaafde taal en beschaafdentaal', De nieuwe taalgids
- id. 1974
- 'Het Nederlands na de tweede wereldoorlog', Tijdschrift voor
Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde 90, 273-290.
- Weijnen 1974, A.A.
- Het Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands historisch beschouwd,
- Wouters 1990, C.
- Van minnen en sterven; 'Informalisering van omgangsvormen
rond seks en dood', Amsterdam.
from: Dialect and Standard Language, (eds.)
J.A. van Leuvensteijn and J.B. Berns, Amsterdam, North-Holland 1992,
Article published on the WWW: October 1999