Amsterdam Accent

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Jaelynn
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Amsterdam Accent

Post by Jaelynn » Mon May 28, 2012 1:54 am

Hoi mensen!

I've been studying Dutch for a few months now in preparation for spending the summer in Amsterdam. The hardest part is learning the pronunciation ... especially since the speakers on my CD's all have different accents :D I would really like to use an Amsterdam accent that's appropriate for a college student. If you could point me to a website or some YouTube clips that might help me with this, I would appreciate it so much!

Lately I've been listening to YouTube clips of Nicolette van Dam, since there are a lot of them and she's a young Amsterdamse. If my ears aren't deceiving me, she uses a tongpunt-r (clearly rolled)/gooische-r and the throaty x sound for g/ch. Would you say her accent is pretty typical for the area?

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by ngonyama » Mon May 28, 2012 3:15 am

Her accent is not particularly Amsterdams, but yes there are a lot of people that talk this way, so you would not stand out.

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by Jaelynn » Mon May 28, 2012 6:25 am

Thanks for your reply! Are there any celebrities you can think of who have a more typically Amsterdams accent? And was I right about Nicolette using the tongpunt-r along with the gooise-r? Or does she roll a huig-r ... it's hard for me to tell :?

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by ngonyama » Mon May 28, 2012 1:39 pm

No it is not a tongpunt-r.

But let me ask you a question. I am Dutch and live in Raleigh. Do you expect me to talk with a North Carolinian accent? Which is actually quite pretty by the way. (Laak havin fuhn laak a berl ful o munkeees). Certainly more melodious than this Donald Duck language of the Mid West.

However, if I try to speak it I get sardonic laughter as an answer, especially form the natives. So will you, if you try to speak plat Amsterdams. That is the (social) difference between a language and a dialect: when a foreigner tries to speak something and (s)he gets kudus, it is a language. Laughter means it is a dialect. Litmus test.

Try to speak Turkish in Turkey: kudus.
Try to speak Turkish in Iranian Azerbaijan: laughter.
(Frisian is a dialect: you get laughter. And yes, that needs to change.)

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by Bert » Mon May 28, 2012 8:50 pm

ngonyama wrote:That is the (social) difference between a language and a dialect: when a foreigner tries to speak something and (s)he gets kudus, it is a language. Laughter means it is a dialect. Litmus test.

Try to speak Turkish in Turkey: kudus.
Try to speak Turkish in Iranian Azerbaijan: laughter.
This "kudus" is something new for me. Did you want to write kudos by any chance?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudos

Otherwise I agree, the lady writes, "I've been studying Dutch for a few months now" so whether she'll be able to speak fluently (and understand what Dutch natives say to her) that is the real question, the pronunciation of the letter R is a derderangs issue.

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by Jaelynn » Mon May 28, 2012 9:26 pm

@ngonyama: I get what you're saying about heavy regional accents, but I don't want to speak plat, just use the most typical accent (especially in terms of r, g/ch, v, w, etc.). The last thing I want is to have some weird franken-accent covering the entire Dutch dialect continuum in a single sentence :lol:

I'm especially worried about my r's. I can do the tongpunt-r, the flap, and the gooise-r, but not any kind of huig-r. I was really hoping to get away with a tongpunt/gooise combination without sounding old-fashioned or textbook-taught. Nicolette gave me some hope there, but I guess her huig-trill tricked me ...

@Bert: I'm fluent in German, so I've made a lot of progress in a short time. I'm still far from fluent, of course, but I can read Dutch and understand spoken Dutch quite well. By the way, it's because I learned German first that I have so much angst about my r's. A lot of Germans seem to find the tongpunt-r quite amusing (even in the south where it's common in the older generations and in more rural places).

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by ngonyama » Tue May 29, 2012 12:09 am

Oops, sorry for the antelopes, Bert :mrgreen: I must have been back in South Africa for a moment. A colleague of mine had a kudu jump on his car. Not good. People got killed.

Oh and as the r is concerned. Mine is tongpunt and nobody laughs. In fact everybody keeps telling me that my Dutch is so nice and pure after 15 years in Anglophonia. Choose what r you like best as long as it is not a retroflex American one or this deep throated laringial German one, (unless you are royalty: Bernard never lost his..)

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by ngonyama » Wed May 30, 2012 2:51 am

To demonstrate that the tongpunt-r is alive and kicking have a look at this D66 politician http://nos.nl/video/378159-kamer-verwer ... koord.html

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by Jaelynn » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:23 am

Would you say most Dutch speakers can tell the difference between a trilled huig-r and a tongpunt-r? I know I have a hard time with it :lol:

For example, I'm not sure what to make of the r's in this video from a Belgian singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYQnmKcePac

Some of them are lightly rolled (e.g. 'riekt'), some sound like taps (e.g. 'openbare'), and some have a slur-y quality (like when she says 'papier'). Are they all alveolar?

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by Joke » Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:24 pm

I can't tell which r she is using either.
As child you learn to hear the difference between the sounds of your mother tongue. Because it never matters in Dutch wich r you uses, many of us don't learn to hear the difference. A similar thing happened e.g. with chinese people who have a hard time to distinguish between r and l because their language doesn't make that distinction.

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by AppelstroopIsLekker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:26 pm

ngonyama wrote:No it is not a tongpunt-r.

But let me ask you a question. I am Dutch and live in Raleigh. Do you expect me to talk with a North Carolinian accent? Which is actually quite pretty by the way. (Laak havin fuhn laak a berl ful o munkeees). Certainly more melodious than this Donald Duck language of the Mid West.

However, if I try to speak it I get sardonic laughter as an answer, especially form the natives. So will you, if you try to speak plat Amsterdams. That is the (social) difference between a language and a dialect: when a foreigner tries to speak something and (s)he gets kudus, it is a language. Laughter means it is a dialect. Litmus test.

Try to speak Turkish in Turkey: kudus.
Try to speak Turkish in Iranian Azerbaijan: laughter.
(Frisian is a dialect: you get laughter. And yes, that needs to change.)
I am from Greensboro, NC (hello, neighbor!) and lived in Maastricht and Flanders for five years. I now live in Brussels. Yes, I do expect you to speak with a Carolina accent (and, yes, thank you for the compliments about our accent :D ). Do I expect you to come out speaking like a drunk, back-woods bubba with five teeth? Of course not. Now, I do not personally think you have an obligation to learn our accent, but I expect that you will naturally adopt our way of speaking and using the language and that intentionally adopting the accent is a natural and desirable process.

Some anecdotal reasons:

1. Before I came to Maastricht, I started speaking "standard-accent" AN (uit het noorden, dus) but met my husband and his family who -only- speak Southern Limburgs (dialect) to each other. While I was gaining fluency in Dutch I naturally and intentionally adopted a southern Dutch accent... soft G, French R, different vowels, different words, and yes, different genders :P, etc. However, I did not learn to speak Limburgs (even though I understand it perfectly). So, here is an example where a person can naturally adapt to their surroundings using the dialect of the standard language and not what is commonly referred to as plat. To live in the Limburg and be married to a southerner and still speak like a Hollander is, in my opinion, even more ridiculous than your examples.

2. After having lived in Belgian Limburg for about 4 years, I adjusted my accent again. I retained all of Limburgish characteristics in my accent, but also picked Belgian sounds, intonation, words, pronouns and conjugations, speech patterns, grammar, etc. I then became a Dutch teacher and translator in Brussels. Do you expect me to teach my students how to speak like you, with your accent, and your idioms, and the way you use the language?
Imagine this: An immigrant moves to Antwerp. Do you expect me to teach him to speak like someone from Utrecht? Of course not! He has no connection to the country or the dialect spoken in Utrecht and is probably not even conscious of it. It is only natural that I would teach him Flemish Dutch and that he would want to learn Flemish Dutch. In my experience, my students can't help but to learn anything else. If everyone around you says gelijkvloers how would you even know, or why would you make it a point to say begane grond? Would any respectful person laugh that they don't speak with an accent from the Netherlands? Let me rephrase that question: Would people laugh if he spoke like an Utrechter in Antwerp? Yes! He'd a quite the vreemde eend.
And, here we are talking about a dialect...!

If you pay attention to yourself, you'll probably notice that you've done this as well. You probably call that huge chunk of rolling metal that almost ran you off the E40 a truck (US) not a lorry (UK). You probably call the spout on the side of your house where you get water for your garden a spigot (Southern US) and not a faucet (elsewhere). When you are done eating your oatmeal (US, Porridge UK) in the morning, you probably put it up (Southern, Elsewhere put it away). And yes, you've probably picked up some aspects of our long, lazy, charming way of speaking. You might've even begun saying y'all. Who knows? :P

So, there are just some personal and not so personal examples of why the original poster's desire to fit-in and her enthusiasm to sound local is not only natural but also less ridiculous than you imagine.

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by AppelstroopIsLekker » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:58 pm

Jaelynn wrote:Would you say most Dutch speakers can tell the difference between a trilled huig-r and a tongpunt-r? I know I have a hard time with it :lol:

For example, I'm not sure what to make of the r's in this video from a Belgian singer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYQnmKcePac

Some of them are lightly rolled (e.g. 'riekt'), some sound like taps (e.g. 'openbare'), and some have a slur-y quality (like when she says 'papier'). Are they all alveolar?
In my experience of having spoken to many people about this, the average Dutch speaker isn't really aware of what R they speak with (or that there are other types of Rs) until someone explains it to them. As in any langauge, it's usually only the people like us, who are interested in these issues, that really pay attention to it.

That is definitely an alveolar "tongpunt-R". Flemish dialects who use what has been called here a "tongpunt-R" often have a little escape of breath after flapping their tongue. It's just a common Flemish characteristic. Dutch tongpunt-r users don't have this... Even though they use the same R in some places as the Flemish, the Flemish and Dutch tongpunt-R speakers use them in different ways and often in different combinations. In the north of Nl, it is common to use the tongpunt-R for the initial R in the word RADAR, and use the Gooise R for the final.

The huig-R, or what I call the French-R or fricative, is used primarily in the Limburgs and Dutch Brabant as well as some cities in Flanders (Antwerp, Gent for example). This R often creates a slight change of vowel before the R is said. This singer, however, doesn't have it. So, she's using the tongpunt-r.

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by AppelstroopIsLekker » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:14 pm

Jaelynn wrote:Thanks for your reply! Are there any celebrities you can think of who have a more typically Amsterdams accent? And was I right about Nicolette using the tongpunt-r along with the gooise-r? Or does she roll a huig-r ... it's hard for me to tell :?
In general, huig-R tends to be used with huig-R at the beginning and end of sentences. Whereas tongpunt-R and Gooise-R are use more commonly in combination with other Rs.

The final huig-R, as in the word lekker, tends to sound very scrappy and hard, and can sound very close to a hard g/ch. So much so that my friend Bart, from S. Limburg, sometimes has to spell his name because people in Baarn, where he now lives, think his name is Bagt. For that reason, (final) huig-R isn't used in accents that use a hard g/ch. This tends to be only a southern phenomenon, appearing below "the rivers" in the Netherlands and in Flanders where this g/ch are spoken differently.

If you want to delve a little further into these differences in dialect and accent, I suggest buying http://www.bol.com/nl/p/dialectatlas-va ... 010224242/

It's a bit pricy but utterly fascinating. Each aspects of these differences is given it's own page and graphic representation. You will not only come to understand the differences and similiarities between NL/BE Felmish dialects, but also between the North/South of the Netherlands and also what makes "Hollands" unique to that area.

And, btw, sorry for the phonetic confusion above. Next time I'll be less lazy and use IPA symbols :P

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by grizzler » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:50 am

AppelstroopIsLekker wrote:For that reason, (final) huig-R isn't used in accents that use a hard g/ch.
You've never heard anyone speak 'Haags' then?

Your friend Bart would never have to spell his name here. :D

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Re: Amsterdam Accent

Post by AppelstroopIsLekker » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:27 pm

grizzler wrote:
AppelstroopIsLekker wrote:For that reason, (final) huig-R isn't used in accents that use a hard g/ch.
You've never heard anyone speak 'Haags' then?

Your friend Bart would never have to spell his name here. :D
I'll have to tell him to move there :)

Actually, haags doesn't have a the same r as the southern dialects.

In the haags dialect, the would say say the initial r of a syllable or word as a trilled uvular r /ʀ/. Any r at the end of a syllable or consonant is spoken as a diphthong /ɐ/. It's similar to what standard German does.

In the word "radar", they Haags would say: ʀadɐ.

In Southern Dutch and Flemish dialects that use the huig-r, they use a trilled uvular R /ʀ/ at the beginning of syllables and a fricative uvular R /ʁ/ at the end of syllables.

In the word "radar", they would say: ʀadaʁ.

At 2:40, Contrast the terminal Haagse r in this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFoCkSWL ... ata_player

With the terminal southern R, found here:
(just click on the right symbol... ) http://web.uvic.ca/ling/resources/ipa/c ... IPAlab.htm
This sample is tame though, in the south we really let it rip hard. If someone from the Hollands says "eg", with a very hard-g, it sounds almost like how we say the letter r here.

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