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Open Access De schoonheid van taal - Hoe wezenlijk is het oordeel mooi in taalattitudes?

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This paper reports an experimental answer to a question which has remained controversial since it was put on the agenda in the Romantic era: is beauty individually or communally determined? Applied to our research topic, accent variation in spoken Netherlandic Standard Dutch, this question should be rephrased as: is the perceived beauty of regional accents of Dutch in the eye of the beholder, or is it entrenched in the communal attitudes towards these varieties? Listener-judges rated the audio-taped speech of eight speakers representing four regional accents on traits pertaining to four evaluative dimensions, viz. integrity, dynamism, competence and status, but also on a separate scale pertaining to how beautiful or ugly the speech was found. The experiment reported here confirms prior experimental work which demonstrated that the beauty scale correlated with all the evaluative dimensions inherent in the ratings. This overarching and synthesizing function of the perceived beauty of speech suggests a communal rather than an individual origin of aesthetic perception in the field of language attitudes. We therefore concur with Van Bezooijen (2002) that beauty perceptions afford privileged and convenient access into language attitudes.
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Keywords: Language attitudes; dialect perception; regional accents; sociolinguistics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen 2: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen:, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Taal en Tongval is een wetenschappelijk tijdschrift over taalvariatie in Nederland en Vlaanderen, waarin ook aandacht wordt geschonken aan naburige taalgebieden en aan het Nederlands verwante talen. Alle vormen van variatie kunnen worden besproken zoals geografische, sociale, etnische, stilistische en diachrone variatie. Verder mogen daarbij ook alle aspecten van de menselijke taal aan de orde komen. Het blad staat zowel open voor empirisch werk als voor studies die een verbinding leggen tussen taalvariatie en theoretische taalkunde.

    Taal en Tongval publiceert bijdragen in het Nederlands, Engels, en Duits. In bepaalde gevallen kunnen ook artikelen in andere talen in overweging genomen worden, zoals Fries, Afrikaans en Frans.

    Taal en Tongval. Language Variation in the Low Countries is a journal devoted to the scientific study of language variation in the Netherlands and Flanders, in neighbouring areas and in languages related to Dutch. All types of variation are covered, including but not restricted to geographical, social, ethnic, stylistic and diachronic variation. Articles may deal with all aspects of human language. The journal welcomes both empirical work as studies linking language variation to developments in theoretical linguistics.

    Taal en Tongval welcomes contributions in Dutch, English and German. In certain cases we also consider articles in other languages, including Frisian, Afrikaans, and French.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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