World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0001960692
Reproduction Date:

Title: Zeelandic  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: West Flemish, Zeelandic Flanders, East Frisian Low Saxon, User zea, Dutch dialects
Collection: Culture of Zeeland, Dutch Dialects, Dutch Language, Goeree-Overflakkee, South Holland
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Native to Netherlands
Native speakers
unknown (undated figure of 220,000)[1]
Zeelandic alphabet (Latin)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 zea
Glottolog zeeu1238[2]
Linguasphere 52-ACB-af
Distribution of Zeelandic (blue) in the Low Countries

Zeelandic (Zeêuws in Zeelandic, Zeeuws in Dutch) is a regional language spoken in the Dutch province of Zeeland and on the South Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee. Commonly considered a Dutch dialect, it has notable differences mainly in pronunciation but also in grammar and vocabulary, which sets it clearly apart from Standard Dutch and makes comprehension by unskilled Dutch speakers difficult. Linguistically it is a dialect of West Flemish.[3]


  • Origin 1
  • Hallmarks 2
  • Dialects 3
  • Geographic distribution and social aspects 4
  • Gallery 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Zeelandic is a transitional regional language between Hollandic and West Flemish. In the Middle Ages and early modern age, Zeeland was claimed by the Count of Holland as well as the Count of Flanders, and the area was exposed to influence from both directions. The dialects clearly show a gradual increase of Hollandic elements as one goes northwards. Yet Zeelandic is fairly coherent with easily defined borders, as the broad sea-arms form strong isoglosses.


The main differences from Standard Dutch are the following: Zeelandic has three rather than two grammatical genders, as a result of the fact that it retained the final schwas in feminine words; it kept the monophthongs [i] and [y] for ij and ui rather than breaking them into [ɛi] and [œy]; it umlauted most [aː]s into [ɛː]s; it renders the old Germanic [ai] and [au] as falling diphthongs ([eə] and [ɔə]), whereas Dutch merged them with etymological e's and o's; and finally it drops the h.

The present table illustrates these differences (note: the orthography is Dutch):

Zeelandic Dutch English
d'n boer de boer the farmer
de boerinne de boerin the farmer's wife
uus huis house
kieke(n) kijken to look
tw twee two
d hoofd head


The province of Zeeland consists of several former islands which were difficult to reach until well into the 20th century. As a result, there is roughly one dialect per island. The respective dialects differ clearly, but only slightly. The Goeree-Overflakkee dialect, for example, does not drop the h, and the Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland dialects have umlauted words where the northern ones don't (for example: beuter [bøtər] against boter [botər]. Within the island dialects themselves dialectal differences also exist: native speakers can frequently tell which village (at least on their own island) a person is from by the specific dialect he or she speaks, even if the differences are imperceptible to outsiders.

The Zeelandic Flanders region contains dialects that are largely outside the definition of Zeelandic, but must be considered West Flemish and East Flemish. The West Flemish dialects in this region, however, are yet commonly classified as "Zeelandic".

Geographic distribution and social aspects

Zeelandic bears the burden of being strongly associated with the rural population, being spoken chiefly in the countryside. The town dialects of Middelburg and Vlissingen are both much closer to Hollandic than the rural variants and on the edge of extinction. Surveys held in the nineties showed that at least 60% of the Zeeland population still use Zeelandic as their everyday language. There are an estimated 250,000 people who speak it as mother tongue (West Zeelandic Flemish is included in this count), and although it is in decline, just as any other regional language, it is in no direct danger of extinction, since in some villages with strong isolated communities more than 90% of the youngsters will speak Zeelandic. On the other hand, in several villages that have seen much immigration, the local dialect is spoken only by the adult population, as children are no longer taught it.

There is a lobby for recognising the Zeelandic regional language under the European charter for minority languages. As of 2005, they failed so far to achieve this status.



  1. ^ Zeelandic at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Zeeuws".  
  3. ^ Marco Evenhuis. "Zeelandic". Language in the Netherlands. Retrieved 2007-06-03. Together with West-Flemish and the Flemish spoken in northern France, Zeeuws is part of a cluster of remarkably homogenic dialects  Dutch versions: Zeeuws or as pdf

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.