Variation in Norm
10 The conservative Dutch vowel system
10.1 Standard pronunciation in the Netherlands and Belgium: ABN and the Taalunie Dutch is the native language of around sixteen million Dutch and six million Bel gian citizens. Roughly sixty percent of the inhabitants of Belgium are speakers of Dutch.62 The Belgian variety is often called Flemish (Vlaams). This is not quite appropriate because the term in its strict sense would exclude the Dutch language spoken in the northeastern parts of Belgium and in the bilingual Brussels area. During the last couple of decades separate pronunciation standards seem to have been arising in the Netherlands and in the Dutchspeaking regions of Belgium that markedly, but in terms of their phonological properties rather insignificantly, differ from each other (cf. Verhoeven 2005 and Adank et al. 2004). These major two varieties will here be referred to by the designations (standard) Belgian Dutch and Netherlandic Dutch, or BD and ND for short. The focus of the present study is on the modern pronunciation of Netherlandic Dutch. The debate over the standard language in the recent history of Dutch has centered on a normative form of the language called Algemeen Beschaafd Ned- erlands. It was in the nineteenth century that the pronunciation based on the cultivated varieties of the Holland provinces – particularly the speech of the upper classes in the big cities – had started to function as a standard norm and was spreading over much of the Netherlands. After its consolidation around 1900, this standard, which also came to embrace normative aspects of...
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