Nederlands Tegen Buitenlanders
Werkgroep Taal Buitenlandse Werknemers
ABSTRACT This research project dealt with the characteristics of Dutch Foreigner Talk (FT), that is, the way in which Dutch people talk to foreigners who speak little or no Dutch. The research was carried out in four parts: 1. an investigation of the way in which FT appears in popular literature; 2. a study of the intuitions of Dutch native speakers about FT; 3. an analysis of conversations between Dutch speakers and foreigners who asked them the way on the street; 4. an investigation of the interactions between foreigners and Dutch officials who dealt regularly with foreigners. We obtained the following results: a. FT occurs fairly frequently in Dutch, i.e. speech to foreigners often differs from ordinary speech; frequency of occurrence of FT varies greatly from situation to situation, and from conversation to conversation; b. Stereotypes exist concerning FT. From the study of intuitions it appeared that people often think that SOV word order, infinitives in-stead of inflected forms, and strong instead of weak pronouns are used, and that copulas, subject pronouns and articles are deleted; c. On specific points (SOV order and infinitives) the actual FT speech behaviour of native speakers, especially those who deal regularly with foreigners, deviates from the existing stereotypes; d. A number of specific FT characteristics appear to be strongly determined by the situation; e. Dutch FT is in several ways similar to FT in other languages, suggesting that certain universal simplifying tendencies may play a role in the production of FT.
Published online: 24 March 2014
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