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Proceedings of Methods XIII

Papers from the Thirteenth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, 2008

Series:

Barry Heselwood and Clive Upton

This volume of papers from the 13th International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, held at the University of Leeds in 2008, collects together current research and recent methodological developments in the study of dialects by new and established scholars. It is organised into themed sections reporting on historical dialectology, dialect literature, the production of dialect maps and atlases, and the collection and organisation of material for dialect dictionaries and corpora. Perceptual dialectology and dialect intelligibility are also featured, and there are linguistic analyses of dialectal data from many language varieties.

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PART IV. Perceptual Dialectology And Dialect Intelligibility

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Part IV Perceptual Dialectology And Dialect Intelligibility 15. Is Danish an intrinsically more difficult language to understand than Swedish? Charlotte Gooskens1, Vincent J. van Heuven 2, Renée van Bezooijen1 & Jos Pacilly 2 1University of Groningen, The Netherlands; 2Leiden University, The Netherlands 1. Introduction Danish has the reputation of being hard to understand. This is the case not only for speakers of the closely related Scandinavian languages, Swedish and Norwegian, but there are also indications that Danes have difficulties understanding their own language themselves. Many Danes, both laymen and linguists, regard Danish as a non-distinctly articulated language, which sometimes causes communication problems among its users. On the other hand there are also linguists who believe that one language cannot be intrinsically more difficult to understand than another language. However, we think there is no principled reason why there could not be some variation in the intelligibility threshold of different languages. Danish might be an example of a language with properties that make it difficult to understand, even for natives. Results of linguistic research seem to support the impression that Danish is indeed a difficult language. Bleses & colleagues (Bleses & Basbøll 2004, Bleses et al. 2008) have shown that the early language development of Danish children is somewhat slower than that of children with other mother tongues, such as English and Swedish. A comparison with 15 different languages revealed that Danish children score lowest on vocabulary comprehension as reported by the parents. Bleses et al. attribute this result to the poor...

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