Ghent University seeks speakers of several Flemish dialects

Researchers from Ghent University are looking for people over 75 years old who still speak the dialect of their region and who can help with scientific research. It concerns people from Gooik, Nieuwenrode, Brussels, Boutersem, Bosvoorde and Jeuk.

The Spoken Corpus of the Southern Dutch Dialects (GCND), a project at Ghent University, is currently building an archive of Belgian dialects. The project started with tape recordings from the 1960s and 1970s. “The sound recordings used to be made by UGent students who mainly came from East and West Flanders,” explains Lien Hellebaut, a linguist at UGent. "That is why relatively few recordings were made in Flemish Brabant and Limburg. We are now looking for volunteers who speak dialects from that region and want to help us,” the linguist adds.

It concerns people from Gooik, Nieuwenrode, Brussels, Boutersem, Bosvoorde and Jeuk. “We are looking for speakers who still have a good command of the local dialect of the villages mentioned, and who acquired it before the 1960s,” says Hellebaut. “In practice, this means that we are looking for people over the age of 75. More specifically, we are looking for people who were born and raised in those villages. Preferably they went to school there, they are very talkative and have no higher education. It is strongly recommended that both parents and partner are also from the same municipality, although that requirement is more difficult to maintain in practice,” highlights Hellebaut.

With the research, the GCND wants to preserve the dialects, because they are becoming increasingly rare.




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