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Re:

07 Apr 2015 07:41

hrotha wrote:Oude means old. It's the same word - Dutch lost the L's in syllable codas so you get things like oud(e) vs German alt and English old, or zou vs German soll and English shall.

Apparently, Kwaremont is a "Flemishization" of a French name, Quaremont, from earlier *Quadremont, "square hill".

iirc that vocalization only happened to syllables of the type /ol/ or /al/ followed by some (dental/alveolar) plosive consonant (typically -d or -t).
I don't think Dutch zou is an exception, as it is related historically to Germ. sollten and Eng. should (rather than shall).

from what i can tell, some English words followed that development, others didn't.
Germ. alt = Eng. old
but Germ. sollt(en) vs. Eng. should [shud]
and Germ. wald vs. Eng. wood [wud]
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07 Apr 2015 09:51

Thanks for the clarification! Yeah, I misrepresented the extent of L-dropping in Dutch and got the conjugation of zullen wrong - that's what you get when you only look at a language for a few months at a time. :D

English wood is different, though. It comes from Old English wudu, a variation of widu (with rounding of the stressed vowel influenced by the preceding /w/), which was subject to regular lengthening in Middle English (wode) due to having an open stressed syllable (hence the spelling with <oo>, although the vowel was shortened again later on, just like in good, foot, etc). It is a cognate to Old High German witu and unrelated to Modern German Walt, whose Modern English cognates include wolds.

The issue is complicated because English is pretty inconsistent with L-dropping and L-vocalization.
Last edited by hrotha on 07 Apr 2015 10:19, edited 1 time in total.
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07 Apr 2015 10:17

Also, just to make it a bit more complex; they don't drop the l everywhere. In the East of the Netherlands they will actually say 'olde' instead of 'oude' (if they are speaking their dialects, rather than standard Dutch). But to be fair, those dialects are closer to some dialects of north-western Germany (e.g. Westphalian), than they are to standard Dutch. The way to view it that makes most sense to me is to say that German and Dutch (and Luxembourgish) are really one language with, but with a lot of dialectical variations. Only some dialects spoken on the western fringes of this language drop the l. But since the West is the area of the Netherlands where all the big cities are (e.g. Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam), standard Dutch is based on the dialects of that area (namely Hollands). So consequently standard Dutch, which everybody in the Netherlands and Belgium is taught in school nowadays, drops the l, because it's based on the Hollandic dialect of Dutch, which is where the l is dropped.

I'm actually wondering if other western dialects of Dutch, besides Hollands, also have l vocalization. I suspect Zeeuws, West-Vlaams et cetera also do it, but I'm not familiar enough with those dialects to say for sure. :p
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Re:

07 Apr 2015 10:39

hrotha wrote:Thanks for the clarification! Yeah, I misrepresented the extent of L-dropping in Dutch and got the conjugation of zullen wrong - that's what you get when you only look at a language for a few months at a time. :D

English wood is different, though. It comes from Old English wudu, a variation of widu (with rounding of the stressed vowel influenced by the preceding /w/), which was subject to regular lengthening in Middle English (wode) due to having an open stressed syllable (hence the spelling with <oo>, although the vowel was shortened again later on, just like in good, foot, etc). It is a cognate to Old High German witu and unrelated to Modern German Walt, whose Modern English cognates include wolds.

The issue is complicated because English is pretty inconsistent with L-dropping and L-vocalization.

ok, that's interesting.
so English appears to follow German in terms of retaining the -l in OHG *al/ol+t/d syllables, with should being some kind of exception (not surprising though as it's coherent with would/could). Would you concur?
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07 Apr 2015 10:49

On the whole, yeah. Should and would are very frequent function words and thus subject to special developments and additional "erosion", so to speak, and therefore it's no surprise that they're more advanced on the L-dropping front. As for could, the <l> is not etymological, but rather analogical with should and would (Old English cūðe, also subject to analogical replacement of /ð/ with the usual /d/ of the past tense), so it's a bit of a different case. I imagine the <l> was added merely to the spelling after it had been dropped elsewhere, so it was never pronounced.
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07 Apr 2015 12:18

interesting detail, Maaaaaaaarten, though i'm inclined to disagree with the one-language view (albeit mainly instinctively).
Of course in certains areas of the lexicon/phonology there is a clear continuum, but on the whole, especially if you take the morphosyntax into the equation, from what I can tell there's no basis to postulate a continuum.
Maybe you could make a case that varieties such as Plattdeutsch and Mestreechs/Limburgisch constitute 'bridge' varieties, but I'd venture to guess that Plattdeutsch is (in the morphosyntax) still considerably closer to standard High German than to, say, Twents.

impressive knowledge, hrotha.
yeah, auxiliary verbs behave funny. Tendency towards regularization through analogy as you point out for the could/should/would paradigm, but also a tendency towards suppletion, which I guess is sort of the opposite of regularization.
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Re:

07 Apr 2015 13:17

sniper wrote:interesting detail, Maaaaaaaarten, though i'm inclined to disagree with the one-language view (albeit mainly instinctively).
Of course in certains areas of the lexicon/phonology there is a clear continuum, but on the whole, especially if you take the morphosyntax into the equation, from what I can tell there's no basis to postulate a continuum.
Maybe you could make a case that varieties such as Plattdeutsch and Mestreechs/Limburgisch constitute 'bridge' varieties, but I'd venture to guess that Plattdeutsch is (in the morphosyntax) still considerably closer to standard High German than to, say, Twents.


I'm not an expert on it either, but I'm quite sure that dialects like Twents and Gronings show some similarities to 'German' dialects spoken across the border. I think these dialects often categorized together though the names used for this group can change a bit (e.g. Nederduits, Nedersaksisch etc. in Dutch, Low Saxon, Low German etc. in English) The terminology is a bit confusing but to my knowledge these dialects are generally grouped together with little regard for the border between the Netherlands and Germany.

Another thing to take into account is that all these dialects have been under the influence from the standard language for a long time now. Because people move around a lot more nowadays and because everybody is forced to use standard Dutch in a lot of instances, the non-standard languages spoken in the Netherlands have been influenced a lot by standard Dutch. The dialect continuum idea might be more representative of the situations a 100 years ago. I know for a fact for instance, from talking to my grandmother who is from Groningen, that Gronings nowadays is much more like standard Dutch than it was, say, 60 years ago. My grandmother actually told me once that quite some time ago when she was on a holiday with her parents and they met some Germans who were somewhere from northwest Germany, they actually could communicate just fine when they spoke their own dialects. The people from Groningen talked Gronings and the people from, probably East Frisia or something, talked their own dialects and they could understand each other quite well. But yeah, that was the Gronings from more than half a century ago, not the Gronings you find nowadays. My grandmother says there are very few people left who still speak Gronings like they did when my grandmother was young (she's 80 now).
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07 Apr 2015 13:29

Yes, Maaaaaaaarten, that's a very good point. Mass public education and mass media have thoroughly transformed the linguistic landscape of Europe. Neighbouring West Germanic dialects in the Netherlands and Germany have been pulled apart as they look at more distant variants as their standard, which has largely reduced dialects to an accent with some local words and idioms.
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07 Apr 2015 16:07

sure, Maaaaaaaaarten's view of Dutch and German as a dialect continuum may be tenable if you look at the phonology and lexicon.
But if you take the morphosyntax (for instance the pronominal system) into account, my layman impression is that Twents will then turn out to be closer to mainstream Dutch than to Plattdeutsch. And Plattdeutsch in turn will be closer to High German.
A quick search gave me a case in point: the second person singular pronoun is IEJ in Twents (JIJ in Hollands Dutch), and DU in Plattdeutsch (DU in High German).
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07 Apr 2015 17:37

Bear in mind that jij & co. as 2nd person sg. pronouns are a relatively recent* development which originated as a plural pronoun being used to express courtesy, exactly like English you. All things considered, that's not necessarily a morphological difference that runs very deep between German and Dutch dialects - although that might well still be the case, since I'm in no way qualified to judge.

*High Middle Ages, apparently. A long time ago, but after the different branches of West Germanic had split off.
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07 Apr 2015 18:31

The actual viability of the dialect continuum has been eroded massively by the codification of Nederlands though; ever since the dialects had a standard language to recourse to, mutual intelligibility across borders will have been eroded. However, there are still reflections of the High German Consonant Shift in some strong dialectal speech in the Netherlands south of the Benrath line - however how often you would hear dialect that broad so as to note this nowadays is pretty debatable.

The dialect continuum to the south is more pronounced at this point. Schwyzertüütsch, if codified, could easily be regarded as a separate language from German. Swiss Standard German is obviously German, with regional variation. The various dialects in Switzerland are almost unintelligible to many Germans (more so than Bavarian-Austrian, though that certainly has its own unique characteristics), especially those from relatively far north who would not typically be exposed to, say, Swabian dialects. In much of Germany (save for those areas with extremely proud regional identities, i.e. Bavaria) the standard language has eroded dialects to the point of curio value, restricted to the villages and almost entirely wiped out from the cities, however the Swiss and to some extent the Austrians display a bit of pride in their dialects as something that is theirs as opposed to imposed from the big bossy country to the north based on a dialect and levelling off producing a standard language entirely unlike any dialect spoken in Switzerland or Austria. However, there has never been a need for the Swiss to codify their language, because everybody is able to use Swiss Standard German to communicate, and therefore Schwyzertüütsch has never become an independent language or sought to (think Lëtzebuergesch).

Within the land habited by people speaking Germanic languages spreading from the Südtirol to the North Sea centuries ago, this was never a situation that could have been faced by the future Dutch; there was no "standard" codified within the Germanic realm, with in many cases Latin still the lingua franca. And the dialect continuum would be repeatedly broken up by politics anyhow.
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Re:

07 Apr 2015 20:37

hrotha wrote:Bear in mind that jij & co. as 2nd person sg. pronouns are a relatively recent* development which originated as a plural pronoun being used to express courtesy, exactly like English you. All things considered, that's not necessarily a morphological difference that runs very deep between German and Dutch dialects - although that might well still be the case, since I'm in no way qualified to judge.

*High Middle Ages, apparently. A long time ago, but after the different branches of West Germanic had split off.

yeah, good point, admittedly.
second person pronouns (singular and plural) are notoriously unstable.
just saw by the way that doe/du/ is (still) the 2sg of Limburgish.

@Libertine: very instructive post. Wrt Bavarian, I've lived some time in Munich, and you're right that 'deep' Bavarian is near-extinct from the urban area. Similarly I know that e.g. in Konstanz, Allemannisch has become a curiosity restricted to rural areas. The good thing in Germany is that those dialects are (as far as I can tell) receiving a healthy bit of scholarly attention.
Your point on codification (also wrt Swiss German) and how it facilitated the erosion of the continuum is excellent. It's largely in line with what hrotha and Maarten are saying on standardization. You guys won me over.
btw, the (few) Swiss people I know do indeed consider themselves bilingual.
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Re: Language discussion thread

09 Apr 2015 13:11

I don't think mass education made changed a lot. Children have been educated for way longer than people think and though they would learn the standard language of a given country at school, usually they would keep on speaking the endogenous language outside the school, with the family or with friends. That was the case in the Walloon land. Parents and teachers forced the children to speak French but behind the back they would still speak Walloon dialects, until not so long ago, a few generations. Unlike many might think, the Walloon land is not historically francophone.

However, the development of transport, the road network, etc since the sixties changed the linguistic landscape a lot more, I think. People from various dialectal zones were brought together much more often and there was a need to intelligibility. Mass media too, in particular public TV broadcasters. Yet in Flanders, since the start of private broadcaster VTM, the regional varieties were getting more popular. What we call "tussentaal" (interlanguage). Contacts beyond dialectal zones were possible but the interlanguage is still pretty much based on the different dialects. I think! That's how when TV series are aired on private or public channels, in Flanders (and in the Netherlands?), usually they get subtitles in the standard language. Something that for us Francophone, is quite amazing.
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09 Apr 2015 19:42

Interesting! I didn't even know Walloon had such a strong dialect/language. Do you speak Walloon? :)

I think you have a good point btw. Increased mobility and mass media mean everybody is exposed to the standard language much more.

Also, as far as I can tell having lived in Flanders for a couple of years now, I think that in Flanders the vernacular is much further removed from standard Dutch than in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, outside of some area's with a stronger regional identity which have retained strong dialects (e.g. Twente, Limburg, Zeeland), few people really have a separation between a dialect and a standard language register, I think. I mean, when I was discussing dialects with some Belgian friends it turned out all of them spoke differently if they were with their family or just with people from their region than if they were in a group with people from various different area's, especially if said group includes Dutch people (like me). But for me that's not the case at all, I only have one type of Dutch that I speak and I think it's the same for most Dutch people outside of certain regions that do have a clear dialect. I don't mean that all these Belgians are speaking real proper dialect at home, but more like tussentaal. Something similar to the Flemish tussentaal doesn't really exist in the Netherlands, I think. So yeah, when people speak their respective dialects, or even Flemish people speaking tussentaal, they always get subtitles on TV.
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Re:

10 Apr 2015 13:20

Maaaaaaaarten wrote:Interesting! I didn't even know Walloon had such a strong dialect/language. Do you speak Walloon? :)

I think you have a good point btw. Increased mobility and mass media mean everybody is exposed to the standard language much more.

Also, as far as I can tell having lived in Flanders for a couple of years now, I think that in Flanders the vernacular is much further removed from standard Dutch than in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, outside of some area's with a stronger regional identity which have retained strong dialects (e.g. Twente, Limburg, Zeeland), few people really have a separation between a dialect and a standard language register, I think. I mean, when I was discussing dialects with some Belgian friends it turned out all of them spoke differently if they were with their family or just with people from their region than if they were in a group with people from various different area's, especially if said group includes Dutch people (like me). But for me that's not the case at all, I only have one type of Dutch that I speak and I think it's the same for most Dutch people outside of certain regions that do have a clear dialect. I don't mean that all these Belgians are speaking real proper dialect at home, but more like tussentaal. Something similar to the Flemish tussentaal doesn't really exist in the Netherlands, I think. So yeah, when people speak their respective dialects, or even Flemish people speaking tussentaal, they always get subtitles on TV.

same here.
of course you and i we will both have slight changes in register depending on whom we speak to/with, but generally, yeah, one type of dutch. My dad and his siblings are bilingual Mestreechs(Limburgs) - Dutch, but the children got raised monolingual, i.e. mainstream Dutch only. There's less and less incentive to pass those dialects on to the next generation.
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Re:

11 Apr 2015 10:57

Maaaaaaaarten wrote:Interesting! I didn't even know Walloon had such a strong dialect/language. Do you speak Walloon? :)


Oh no. Not at all! But I'm not really representative. My father is actually Flemish from the Waasland who came to Namur as a child when my grandfather who was an army officer was moved to the barracks of Namur. My mother is from Brussels which is not a Walloon, it's a historically Dutch-speaking town which had been gallicised over centuries.

However discussing it with friends of my age who are more rooted in Wallonia than I am, they would usually still use some words and colloquials on the odd occasion, depending on which dialectal area they are from. Discussing it with older people, they would often have a much more extensive knowledge of it, of course. I discussed it with a 89 year old woman from Namur and asked her if she were still able to hold a whole conversation in Walloon and she told me that that was hard but she could chant some poems and of course she could read texts and understand some Walloon speeches (at kermesses or so).

I've also once bought some albums of Tintin in dialects, just as collector items, of course because I can't read them. :p However I once lend one of them to a 70 y.o. acquaintance of mine and she read it through. It was in Walloon from Brabant, which is not her Walloon but she managed it.

What is interesting is that some dialects in present-day Wallonia had nothing to do with Walloon, actually. So for example, around Mons and Tournai in the Hainaut, the dialect was the "borain" which is a variety of the French "picard". And in the Belgian Lorraine - the extreme South-East of the country - which we also call 'Gaume', the dialect 'gaumais' is close to the French 'lorrain'. I have a Tintin album in 'gaumais' too.

Also what I find really interesting and is the point that I wanted to raise in my previous post, up until the 1950's, and more surely the 1930's, Walloon dialects were way more widespread in Wallonia then French and was the language that was used by minors, down the coal mines around Charleroi for example. And so, for a whole century between ~1850-1950, you had massive migrations of Flemings towards Wallonia, working in those coal mines and other industrial sectors. But the language that they learned to talk with their colleagues was Walloon and not French. They learned Walloon before learning French. :)
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Re: Language discussion thread

12 Apr 2015 10:58

Walloon? Didn;t even know such a thing existed, shame on me. Interesting indeed.

briefly wanted to use this thread to ask something about English:
Does anybody know how, in English, you can translate German nominalized adjectives (especially those preceded by a quantifier) in sentences such as "Ich war in Amsterdam und habe dort viel Interessantes gesehen", or "Zu diesem Thema habe ich nicht viel Neues zu sagen"?
What would be the most elegant way to translate that without having to use words such as "a lot" and "thing(s)"?

("I don't have much news to say about that topic" sounds like an awful Germanism to me.)
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12 Apr 2015 11:45

If you don't want to use perfectly cromulent words like things or stuff, you could always rephrase it completely: "I was in Amsterdam and saw many interesting sights*", "I can't really add much to this discussion".

But of course that means there's no single way to render that construction in English and, at least for colloquial contexts, I'd recommend just using things or stuff. Or even stuff and thangs.

*If you don't mind the etymological repetition between saw and sight, which makes the sentence a bit tautological.
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Re: Language discussion thread

12 Apr 2015 12:29

thanks hrotha, appreciate it.
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Re: Language discussion thread

13 Apr 2015 08:26

Walloon is actually more like a group of several dialects than one standardised language. You can't say that one Walloon exists but WalloonS.

But sure it did exist and remained vivacious until the 30's or even 50's among the working class. Walloons clearly adopted French later on but French was only spoken by a very small minority of learned people for all these decades.

It's important to know because some Flemish separatists - incl. on this thread apparently - are still sure that in the old days Walloons imposed French in Flemish schools for decades after the independence of Belgium. Nothing can be wronger, since Walloons did not speak French but ... Walloon. French was imposed in Flemish school, that is true - my Flemish grandparents told me more than once but that was done by the Flemish "haute bourgeoisie" which was francophone but nonetheless Flemish ...

Also interesting to know is that Walloon has been spoken in the USA. By 1855/6 Walloons migrated to the area of Green Bay, Wisconsin. :) Where you have towns such as Brussels, Namur, Walhain, etc... and a town called belgium. The RTBF visited the descendants by 2008 and one of the oldies there still spoke Walloon at fun fair as such. Unfortunately, the guy passed away just before the doco was aired and the younger descendants don't really speak it anymore but the attachment to their roots is still felt. :)

Wiki has an interesting page about the draft during the US Civil War: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_im ... _Civil_War : episode which I did read in a book too.

They celebrate Belgium every year. This year it'll be in July 11 & 12 (on my birthday): http://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/f ... days-38888
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