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Title: A study of the variation and change in the vowels of the Achterhoeks dialect
Author: Pattison, Melody
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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The Achterhoeks dialect, spoken in the eastern Dutch province of Gelderland near the German border, is a Low Saxon dialect that differs noticeably from Standard Dutch in all linguistic areas. Previous research has comprehensively covered the differences in lexicon (see, for example, Schaars, 1984; Van Prooije, 2011), but less has been done on the phonology in this area (the most notable exception being Kloeke, 1927). There has been research conducted on the changes observed in other Dutch dialects, such as Brabants (Hagen, 1987; Swanenberg, 2009) and Limburgs (Hinskens, 1992), but not so much in Achterhoeks, and whether the trends observed in other dialects are also occurring in the Achterhoek area. It is claimed that the regional Dutch dialects are slowly converging towards the standard variety (Wieling, Nerbonne & Baayen, 2011), and this study aims to not only fill some of the gaps in Achterhoeks dialectology, but also to test to what extent the vowels are converging on the standard. This research examines changes in six lexical sets from 1979 to 2015 in speakers' conscious representation of dialect. This conscious representation was an important aspect of the study, as what it means to speak in dialect may differ from person to person, and so the salience of vowels can be measured based on the number of their occurrences in self-described dialectal speech. Through a perception task, this research also presents a view of the typical Achterhoeks speaker as seen by other Dutch speakers, in order to provide a sociolinguistic explanation for the initial descriptive account of any vowel change observed in dialectal speech. Subtle changes in the Achterhoeks vowels were observed, suggesting a lack of stability, but not yet at the stage of functional dialect loss. The most noticeable difference within the Achterhoek area occurs with the pronunciation of what we term the HUIS vowel when it appears after /r/, realised as either [u] or [y]. The lexical sets of PRAAT, KAART, and KAAS were presented in three groups: as front, Standard and back vowels, with pronunciation patterns attributed to post-Westphalian breaking processes, grammatical rules, and trajectories associated with the original West Germanic vowels. The accompanying perception study provided a partner to the main research, suggesting subconscious social information behind what it means to speak in dialect.
Supervisor: Kerswill, Paul ; Watt, Dominic Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available