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Open Access Attitudes to English job titles in the Netherlands and Flanders

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The purpose of this study was to investigate if English loanwords are perceived differently in Flanders and the Netherlands, two areas with a shared official language (Dutch) but different sociolinguistic background and history. It has been argued that because of historical French dominance over Flemish, attitudes towards loanwords in Flanders are negative, whereas in the Netherlands attitudes are more positive because Dutch has not been threatened by another language there. In an experiment with a between-subject design, 155 Dutch and Flemish university students evaluated three equivalent Dutch and English job titles (e.g. hoofredacteur/editor-in-chief) with regard to comprehensibility, attractiveness, naturalness, and intention to apply for the job. In addition, general attitudes towards English loanwords were measured. Findings did not reveal differences between the Dutch and Flemish participants in their evaluation of the English versus Dutch job titles, nor in their general attitude towards English loanwords. For both participant groups, there were no differences in attitude towards the English and Dutch versions for two of the job titles, and both groups displayed more positive attitudes towards the Dutch version of one of the job titles than its English equivalent. However, Flemish participants were less likely to apply for jobs with English job titles than for jobs with equivalent Dutch job titles, while for the Dutch participants language of job title did not result in differences in application intention. The general attitude to English loanwords of both Dutch and Flemish participants was positive. It can therefore be concluded that, generally, nationality was not a factor influencing language attitudes.
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Keywords: Dutch; English; Flanders; Netherlands; job titles; language attitudes; loanwords; purism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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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