Flemish and Dutch revisited

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by Frank06, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    I don't see any Flemish features in the first sentence, Western nor Eastern Flemish.
    Generalising Brabantian and call it 'Flemish' doesn't lead us nowhere, in the same way the (pseudo)notions American/United Statian/United Kingdomian aren't that productive (for the language spoken in America/the US/UK).


  2. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    Flemish can refer to lots of things, and it's seldom as confusing as people fear.
  3. Lopes

    Lopes Senior Member

    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    I don't know if it's Brabantian or not, but using 'u' instead of 'jou' and 'ik zie u graag' to me seem Flemish, and certainly not 'standard Dutch'.
  4. Well, 'u' in Dutch is formal. You'd never use 'u' around your colleagues, friends and family (except maybe grandparents, some people like to be formal with them).
  5. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Then why do people seem to mix up 'Flemish' with a Brabantian influenced (sub)standard Dutch as spoken in Flanders, as four or five persons did in the last two, three days on this message board?
    Because that's what they know (I mean, probably the only thing they know), from tv or from their visits to the region of Antwerp? Just guessing here.
    I realise that this kind of, let's call it Antwerp/Brabantian coloured substandard Dutch, is what quite a lot of people in the Netherlands hear on their tv. I'm thinking of series as Flikken (which, though it plays in Gent, hardly shows a single trace of the Gentian city dialect) and other coproductions or imports (Witse, Spoed, the Studio 100 productions like K3 and kabouter Plop, etc.).

    But it would be the same as calling the language spoken in England Cockney, because I only have heard that variant watching Eastenders, and well, London is situated in England, no? (absurd statement #1,. By the way, I never watched Eastenders, I frankly have no clue about the language used in that eternal soap series, but I hope you got the point :).

    And why do people still distinguish between "Flemish" as opposed to "general Dutch", presumably the Dutch (standard) variant as spoken in the Netherlands (see here, and here for example). To be frank, it's been a long time that I read this kind of, erm, well, funny things. While at the same moment they don't feel the need to tell us what they understand by "Flemish" and "general Dutch"? Don't let us guess, please :).

    How absurd would following statement (#2a) be:
    Don't learn Hollands (I don't know/care about the very different meanings this word can have or I don't care to inform you what 'Hollands' can mean), but it's better to stick to "general Dutch", i.e. standard Dutch as spoken in Flanders?

    By the way, in Flanders, anything that sounds like Dutch as spoken in the Netherlands is often called '(H)ollands' through out.

    Absurd statement 2b:
    Don't learn American or Australian (whatever that is), it's better to stick to general English (whatever that is).

    What surprises me is that anno 2008 some people still seem to be unaware or surprised that there are two kinds of Dutch standard languages, or that Standard Dutch has two focal points, the one that can be heard in the Netherlands and the one that can be heard in Flanders.
    Heard and taught, by the way. And that, despite the tendency in Flanders to stick more to the dialects, those two are firmly established, quite similar (see e.g. de Nederlandse Taalunie), but with marked differences (pronunciation and lexicon, to name the two most striking ones).
    Well, that's it. That's basically it.

    In my not so humble opinion, 'Flemish/Vlaams' can mean too much to make it a useful term on a message board like this (or in any discussion about the 'Dutch language', the collection of 'Dutch-es') which has the pretence of exceeding the level of clichés and platitutdes, and apparently a lot of people forget, or are unaware of the different meanings and just mix it up. And yes, as you might have noticed, it is a bit frustrating to me :). A bit, not really that much...

    Anyway, the general concensus seems to be that there is no concensus. Quite a pitty, since it's basically very simple. But in this respect, Wikipedia is quite entertaining as it often is, so also when it discusses Vlaams. Just compare the English with the Dutch and Afrikaans articles. And then look at the German and the Swedish versions. And oh, I shouldn't forget to mention the article in Portuguese, which states "o nome erroneamente dado à língua neerlandesa falada na Bélgica" [my stress].
    To give a quote from a Dutch grammar book (Nederländsk grammatik), written by Jaap de Rooy (I am quite sure he's from the Netherlands :). I am also quite sure that you, Grytolle, are perfectly aware of this :).
    (Between brackets, I took the first source by a Dutch writer from the Netherlands I could find , who happens to write in Swedish, so please don't take it personally).
    And the author goes on to tell about Hollands (technically) referring by and large to the variants spoken in the Dutch provinces of Zuid- en Noord-Holland, and Vlaams in the Flemish/Belgian provinces of Oost- en West-Vlaanderen, basically reflecting what is written in the Dutch wiki-article.

    As pointed out above and by various other participants in this and in previous threads, in Flanders there is a bigger tendency to stick to the dialects (or you may call it regiolect, substandard, verkavelingsvlaams, or all together, whatever). But those dialects are anything but unified and though they obviously have a lot in common, the differences are rather big too, despite the growing influence of Brabantian features.

    Absurd statement number three:
    There people in the Netherlands who speak Limburgs, so the language spoken in the Netherlands, standard or not, can be called Limburgs.
    This is as absurd as calling the language variant(s), standard or not, spoken in Flanders 'Flemish'.

    Isn't it a bit useless and confusing to say that (1) the collection of dialects spoken in Flanders (including Limburg), (2) the standard language as spoken and written in Flanders, (3) the dialects spoken in West- and Oost-Vlaanderen, (4) the dialects spoken in Zeeuws- and Frans-Vlaanderen, is to be covered by one single term, viz. 'Flemish'. We don't call all apples, bananas, oranges and lemons 'Granny Smith' either, do we?

    To end with a few more questions:
    - The Belgian constitution (art. 4) states that Dutch (Nederlands), French and German are the official languages in Belgium. 'Vlaams' is not mentioned as the language spoken in Flanders. Why would you do it?
    - The schools teach Dutch (Nederlands). Nowhere is 'Vlaams' being mentioned as the language taught in Flanders. Why would you do it?
    - Even Vlaams Belang, Flanders' most extremist nationalistic right wing party, which strives for the independency of Flanders, never uses the word 'Vlaams' to refer to the (standard) language used in Flanders. Why would you do it?


    (who might be a bit exaggerating ;-)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  6. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    Basically, my standpoint on the topic at hand, is:

    The norm for the written language in Belgium should more be decided by how people speak there, than by how people speak in the Netherlands - if people wanna call the language form that then arises "Belgisch Nederlands" or "Flemish", doesn't really matter to me, but for now "Belgisch Nederlands" refers only to the "correct" language, while there is no good term for the very different spoken inter-regional language. "Verkavelingsvlaams (pejoratief) benaming voor de spreektaal in Vlaanderen die geen dialect is maar ook niet algemeen aanvaard is"

    "tussentaal" is a bit more neutral, but still holds the implication that the language form isn't worthy

    "Vlaams", lastly, is neutral, because it only means "de taalvorm die in Vlaanderen wordt gesproken" - the most popular use for "Vlaanderen" is refering to the Dutch speaking part of Belgium, and I don't see why it can't be the same for the term "Vlaams".

    1) This is a good use, but you'd always have to say "the Flemish dialects" or so
    2) If Flanders would use its own people as norm, rather than Dutch people, then that would be fair, yes.
    3) You hardly ever talk about those together, since East-Flemish is very affected by Brabants, making the more pure Flemish of West-Flemish more separate. There is bascially no unity between those two dialect-groups, so you'd always be better off saying "East- and West-Flemish" on the rare occasions that you'd like to talk about them as a whole.
    4) Same thing as 3.

    As you can see, the other meanings of Flemish are very rarely used, especially among non-linguists. Furthermore, more modern ways to divide the language area in to dialect-groups are for example: "East- Central group" etc.
  7. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    Goeiemiddag! Back in the country (and still Belgium :D).

    Political boundaries get to be linguistic ones. That’s what made us have two standard languages. The last decade or so, however, there has been some image-building of Flanders by the Flemish regional government (with both totally absurd measures like having the traffic lights painted in yellow and black, and less absurd but still quite unnecessary measures like economic missions promoting the ‘mark’ Flanders abroad). This, combined with the fact that the Belgian political situation has been a news item in the media in many countries (although regrettably more often than not having them explained by people with the most extreme Flemish and francophone views), has made that Flemish is now often considered to be a separate language. Political boundaries get to be linguistic ones. ‘You Belgian? So then what do you speak? Belgian?’ a Mexican asked me in Barcelona. The Catalans didn’t, they knew I spoke flamenc (and apart from some four really other languages, neerlandès and holandès on top of that – makes seven; real polyglots those Flemings :p)

    Meanwhile in Flanders, political boundaries get to be linguistic ones. Belgian Standard Dutch isn’t Belgian enough, so “tussentaal wordt ondertussen door veel (en elke dag meer) mensen en in veel (en elke dag meer) situaties gesproken én aanvaard door Vlamingen. Deel van de aanleiding is zeker dat ze te weinig de kans krijgen 'iets van zichzelf' in de standaardtaal te leggen.” as I have said beforeTussentaal (‘intermediate language’) is a language system that is ‘intermediate’ between Standard Dutch and Dutch dialect in form and in register. The last few years we see that the more geographically restricted regiolects are merging into one pan-Flemish tussentaal, which has a lot of Brabantic (proper) features. This (sub)standardising language is gaining speakers and (more importantly) sociolinguistic contexts to be spoken in. When one day, someone succeeds in promoting a written standard for it – and only then, as (too) many people are (too) fixed on written language here – political boundaries will get to be linguistic ones, and Flemings will speak and write tussentaal, which we will then call Flemish. The distinction between Flemish and Dutch will be as absurd, idiotic, correct, accurate and as real as the ones between Catalan and Valencian, Czech and Slovak, Serbian and Croatian,…

    Until that day, however, I think we should use the term tussentaal for the variety described. It’s more neutral a term than mister Van Istendael’s Verkavelingsvlaams, mister Goossens’ ironic Schoon Vlaams (as opposed to mooi Nederlands), mister Geeraerts’ soap-Vlaams and mister Barnard’s koetervlaams. Although this term itself can be used in a pejorative way (especially with diminutive suffix), I think it’s the best available, (still) better than Flemish. Although I completely agree with Grytolle on definitions (1), (3) and (4), I don’t think we should use Flemish to denote tussentaal. Why? Because it implies a break-off from Dutch, and I don’t like separating things if it’s unnecessary, in politics and in linguistics…
  8. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    Welkom terug!

    I'd say the reason "Flemish" is a popular term abroad, is that it's traditionally used, until a political deciscion was made to rename the language variants in Flanders to Dutch/Nederlands.

    I rather think of "Flemish" as a shorter variant of the term "Flemish Dutch" ("Southern Dutch" isn't really fitting, since Southern traditionally implies the southern part of the Netherlands - Brabant, etc, an area much more affected by Nothern Dutch).

    Hopefully a written standard come soon :)

    I don't see how calling it "Flemish" would imply a bigger breakoff than there actually is (not really true, since the Belgian language never really joined completely - "zondagpak"-blablabla).

    Every language could be called a tussentaal. For example, French is just a horrible attempt at learning to speak Civilized Latin.

  9. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)

    En wie zou hiervoor vragende partij zijn? Wie wil hierin investeren (financieel of intellectueel)? Wie heeft hier nood aan?
    Voor zover ik weet staat het creëren van een 'Vlaamse' standaardtaal op niemands lijstje van dingen te doen in 2008 (of 9, 10, etc.). Ik ken ook geen politieke partij of serieuze culturele organisatie in Vlaanderen die de Nederlandse Taalunie wil opblazen. Waarom zou men, l'union fait la force, niet waar :D.



    PS: Welkom terug, Joannes!
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  10. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    For one thing, a way to write it would make subtitles less annoying to read in Flemish TV :D
  11. Dada_

    Dada_ Member

    The formal "u" is still much more ubiquitous in Belgium. In normal conversations in the Netherlands, people rarely refer to one another as "u", unless there's clearly a large difference in importance (the blue-collar worker talking to the president of the company) or in case the speakers are old, as formality used to be more important.

    Excessive use of "u" can definitely be an indication that you're looking at Flemish.
  12. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    I suppose I don't need to point out that u then would belong to gij
  13. AcquaInBocca New Member

    Belgian Dutch
    Well, I always compare the differences between Dutch and Flemish always with the differences between American and British English. Mostly the same grammar, sometimes a spelling-difference (British English: honour, American English: honor) another word or other pronounciation.

    I would describe 'Standard Flemish' as the language which is talked by the VRT (één), the Flemish TV-station.


  14. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    Beste mensen,

    Euh, deze thread werd niet geopenend om details te bespreken in verband met de spelling in Nederland en Vlaanderen.
    U mag gerust (en graag zelfs!) nieuwe threads openen.

    Maar deze thread werd geopenend om over de termen Vlaams en Nederlands te praten. En meer bepaald, of het (on)zinnig is om over een/de Vlaamse taal te praten, of het (on)duidelijk is wat er met dat 'Vlaams' nu net bedoeld wordt.


    Moderator DF
  15. Lopes

    Lopes Senior Member

    Dutch (Amsterdam)
    Voor mij, en ik denk voor redelijk wat Nederlanders zonder 'kennis' met mij, is Vlaams (en in het Engels Flemish) het Nederlands dat gesproken wordt in het Nederlandstalige gedeelte van België. "Ik zie u graag" vind ik bij uitstek een Vlaamse term. Ik snap dit

    dan ook niet helemaal.

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