Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Intelligibility of standard german and low german to speakers of dutch

Charlotte Gooskens, Sebastian Kürschner, Renée van Bezooijen


This paper reports on the intelligibility of spoken Low German and Standard German for speakers of Dutch. Two aspects are considered. First, the relative potential for intelligibility of the Low German variety of Bremen and the High German variety of Modern Standard German for speakers of Dutch is tested. Second, the question is raised whether Low German is understood more easily by subjects from the Dutch-German border area than subjects from other areas of the Netherlands. This is investigated empirically. The results show that in general Dutch people are better at understanding Standard German than the Low German variety, but that subjects from the border area are better at understanding Low German than subjects from other parts of the country. A larger amount of previous experience with the German standard variety than with Low German dialects could explain the first result, while proximity on the sound level could explain the second result.

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