Variation in Norm
11 The progressive Dutch vowel system
11.1 Significant features In the course of the twentieth century a steadily increasing number of people came to use the standard pronunciation of ABN, causing a continuous decrease in dialectal variation in the whole Dutch speaking area. However, in the late sixties the situation changed, at least in the Netherlands. During the sociopolitical anti establishment climate at that time, which resulted in a permissive general attitude toward social norms in the subsequent years, several language sounds that had before been regarded as nonstandard were increasingly used or tolerated in edu cated speech. Such sounds were able to gradually establish themselves as more or less accepted variants in the common ND standard. 11.1.1 Diphthong lowering (Polder Dutch) It was the Amsterdam linguist Jan Stroop who at the beginning of the 1990s drew attention to the salient lowering of the ABN diphthong /ɛɪ/ among well- educated speakers. Later, in a small book aimed at a general readership, he more specifically characterized these speakers as an avant-garde group comprising predominantly younger and middleaged female artists, journalists, writers and other intellectuals, and also representatives of commerce and pop culture (Stroop 1998). Stroop observed that they not only tended to lower the prominent first part of the diphthong that is spelled , but also the prominent parts of the diphthongs which are in the present study transcribed as /œʏ/ and /ʌʊ/. In all three diphthongs the lowering is in the direction of [a] or [ɑ]. He contends that a rapidly growing number...
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