Intonational variation in the Netherlands
University of Oldenburg & Radboud University Nijmegen
The first systematic descriptions of melodic patterns in Dutch and German date back more than 100 years. Interestingly, most early studies dealt with word tones, or tone accents, rather than with sentence intonation. Tone accents were found in the dialects of both the Dutch and Belgian provinces of Limburg and the former Rheinprovinz,
one of the provinces of the Prussian German states from 1822 to 1945 (for an overview, see Schmidt 1986 and Gussenhoven & Peters 2008). While the German
Sprachatlas stimulated additional studies on dialectal variation of sentence intonation in Germany, the speech melody of the non-tonal dialects in the Netherlands had been neglected until recently.
In my talk, I will give an overview of the research project “Intonatie in
Variëteiten van het Nederlands” supervised by Carlos Gussenhoven at the Radboud
University Nijmegen. This project is the first to compare the sentence intonation of a larger number of non-tonal varieties in the Netherlands. It focuses on Dutch spoken in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Zeelandic, Dutch Low Saxon, and West Frisian. Several reading tasks were carried out to detect both systemic and realisational differences. By systemic differences, we mean differences in the inventory of tonal units. Realisational differences, on the other hand, are differences in the phonetic implementation of corresponding tunes, such as differences in peak timing (Ladd 2008). Based on the available data we expect the intonation of the non-tonal varieties in the Netherlands to vary more in the phonetics than in the phonology.
Gussenhoven, Carlos & Peters, Jörg (2008). „De tonen van het Limburgs”. Tijdschrift
voor Nederlandse Taalkunde 13, 87-114.
Ladd, D. Robert (2008). Intonational Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. (Second rev. ed.)
Schmidt, Jürgen E. (1986). Die mittelfränkischen Tonakzente (Rheinische
Akzentuierung). Stuttgart: Steiner.