East Flemish

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Languages

This article is a part of

the Dutch dialects series.

The Dialects
West Flemish
East Flemish
Dutch Low Saxon
Position of Flemish/Zealandic within the Dutch speaking area
Position of Flemish/Zealandic within the Dutch speaking area

East Flemish is a group of dialects of the Dutch language, which is a Low Franconian language. It is spoken in the province of East Flanders in Belgium, but also spoken in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen in the Netherlands.

The French, Austrians and Spaniards have had influence on the vocabulary of East Flemish. Being a group of dialects rather than a clearly recognisable dialect with regional varieties such as West Flemish, the dialects spoken in the municipalities bordering West Flanders differ greatly from those spoken in the municipalities bordering Antwerp, which often leads to speakers of these dialects believing the other person to be from that neighbouring province. This great variation is caused by the so-called 'Brabantic Expansion', the ever-increasing influence of Brabantic diphthongs, vocabulary and pronunciation that has been steadily changing the dialects of Flanders both east- and westward, and made the dialects of East Flanders different from those in West Flanders. It is believed that before this expansion, East and West Flanders roughly shared the same dialect.

The dialect of the province's capital, Ghent, is also different from the language of the surrounding region. Popular myth has the people from Ghent purposely altered their way of speaking because they believed themselves to be superior to the surrounding rural areas. Ghent is especially known for its uvular r and long vowels. Its dialect is often misrepresented as being typical for East Flemish dialects, while it is actually quite atypical.

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