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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Is Standard Dutch with a regional accent standard or not? Evidence from native speakers' attitudes
Author: Stefan Grondelaers
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Author: Roeland van Hout
Institution: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Dutch
Abstract: This paper reports a speaker evaluation experiment that investigated the competition between three regional accents of Standard Dutch and references to the speaker's profession as determinants of attitude formation. A stratified sample of listener-judges rated speech stimuli that were presented in two guises, a neutral guise and a teacher guise (the latter containing multiple references that revealed the speaker to be a high school teacher of Dutch). The experimental findings corroborate our earlier claim that regional flavoring is embedded in lay conceptualizations of Standard Dutch. Although teachers of Dutch may be the last “gatekeepers” of the standard in the Low Countries, they are not automatically downgraded when they have a regional accent: What matters is, clearly, which accent they have. Analysis of the ratings further suggests a hierarchical relation between accent and occupation as perception triggers: Even though regional accent clearly is the stronger attitude determinant, it does not suppress occupational information but interacts with it to generate richer social meaning.

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This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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