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Language & Translation Issues > Dutch or Flemish?

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message 1: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13663 comments I'm wondering if the option 'Flemish' is ever chosen for books by Flemish authors, or if it's only intended for books written in dialect.

I looked at several Flemish authors (Louis Paul Boon, Hugo Claus, Stijn Streuvels, Els Beerten, Griet Op de Beeck), and I only saw 'Dutch' for the books in the original language.

I came across this 2012 discussion: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... and it seems 'Dutch, Flemish' was separated into 'Dutch' and 'Flemish' then.

I'm not sure if separating them was such a good idea if it means that these books are all categorized as Dutch-language. Any Flemish librarians and readers out there with Opinions/Feelings about this?


message 2: by Renske (new)

Renske | 10795 comments I think that all books that had 'Dutch, Flemish' as language became automatically 'Dutch' when they made that change.

I'm also not sure when to use 'Flemish' and not 'Dutch'.


message 3: by Arenda (new)

Arenda | 19990 comments The books by Flemish authors I was not sure about, I checked on Worldcat or another library. They all had Dutch (Nederlands) as language.


message 4: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13663 comments Perhaps libraries don't make that distinction. I notice that on GR there is also no separate mention of Brazilian Portuguese (or British and US English, for that matter), but then, I don't think they have separate words for it.

Maybe 'Flemish' should indeed be used for books in dialect only.


message 5: by Koenraad (last edited Aug 18, 2015 11:28AM) (new)

Koenraad (koenraadkelemen) | 4878 comments There are certainly differences between the Dutch that is spoken in the Netherlands and Dutch which you hear in the biggest part of Flanders. There is, however, no standard Flemish language. Informal contacts between Flemings from different regions happen in an Intermediate Language (tussentaal), but this Intermediate Language is not standardized, is not supported by any institution and is colored by the dialect of the speaker.

These differences also exist in other languages: Australians have their own way of expressing themselves, which is rather different from the English that is spoken on the prestigious English universities, from the English of the London Cockneys, from the English of the Scotsmen, from the English we hear on the New York avenues, from the English of the Texan... There is a similar situation with the use of the High German language. There too we see differences between Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The language that is taught in Flemish schools is the Standard Dutch, just as it is in the Netherlands, Suriname, Curaçao, Sint-Maarten, Caribbean Netherlands and Aruba. As a result the differences between written text from Flanders and those from the Netherlands is less noticeable, although I think a Dutchman will recognize a text as written by a Flemish author trough the language and phrases used (dictionaries will use terminology like belgicismen and Zuid-Nederlands), and vice versa Flemings will have no trouble recognizing a Dutch author.

Thus the majority of the production of the Flemish authors is written in the Standard Dutch language, probably with a regional influence here and there, but still obviously Dutch. I might use Flemish for books in a Flemish dialect such as Gents or Antwerps, but even there I would be hesitant ... if we don't do it for other languages, why do it for Dutch?

And linguistically speaking, there are in Flanders (and this is also true for the Netherlands) not only Flemish (eg. Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk...) dialects, but also Brabantian dialects (Antwerp, Brussels..., Breda, Tilburg, Eindhoven...) and Limburgian dialects (Hasselt, Genk, Sint-Truiden..., Maastricht, Geleen...), so strictly speaking if you add Flemish, you would also have to add the others in the list of languages. And then what of Hollandic Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Utrecht...), Dutch Low Saxon (Twente, Groningen,Drente...), etc.


message 6: by lethe (new)

lethe | 13663 comments Interesting, I didn't know there was no Algemeen Beschaafd Vlaams. And I hadn't thought of cross-border dialects.

So basically, what you are saying is that adding 'Flemish' as a separate language to the list was superfluous?


message 7: by Koenraad (new)

Koenraad (koenraadkelemen) | 4878 comments Well yes, in my opinion it serves no purpose at this time since there is no standard Flemish language or Algemeen Beschaafd Vlaams.
...But I'm also aware that it is an opinion that is most likely not shared by everybody.


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