The influence of dialects on the sociolinguistic perception of Dutch accents

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This thesis investigates the influence of dialect on accent perception in the Netherlands, by trying to answer the following research question: ‘what are the differences in the sociolinguistic judgement of Northern and Southern accents in the Netherlands between speakers of Tweants and Limburgish, and what causes these differences?’ Previous research has mainly focussed on the perception of accents within the Netherlands, but has not considered the role of dialects in this sociolinguistic topic. To elaborate on the previous findings, this thesis is set out to look into the influence of dialect usage frequency on the perception of accents by looking at the Dutch dialects Tweants and Limburgish, in combination with the accents spoken in the North and the South of the Netherlands. The hypotheses are tested through a speaker evaluation test. The data that emerged from this test are analysed through a means comparison. Results show that the frequency of dialect usage does play a role in accent perception. People who do not speak a dialect are more likely to reject non-standard varieties of Dutch, whilst people who often speak a dialect are more positive towards these varieties. Further research should be conducted with a larger sample, more background information of participants, and with more variables, such as different accents and dialects.
Faculteit der Letteren