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Learning to understand different varieties of Dutch

Dutch++ is a project co-funded in the framework of Key Activity 2 Languages of the Lifelong Learning Programme.

 

In this project, four institutions work together on an online learning platform which invites learners and speakers of Dutch to extend their knowledge of "real Dutch" in interaction across the linguistic area: the Netherlands, Flanders and Surinam.

The four partner institutions are the Dutch Department of the University of Vienna (coordinator), the Language Center of the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, the Teacher Education of the Thomas More University College in Belgium and the Dutch Department of the FU Berlin. In the first project year, the Teacher Training Institute (IOL) in Paramaribo, Surinam, was also a partner in the project.

The main goal of Dutch++ is to strengthen the awareness of variation within Dutch. Whereas textbooks usually focus on "the Dutch language", users are taught that "the Dutch language" does not exist. In every city, region and state, Dutch has its own characteristics. The Dutch language of the youth differs from the Dutch spoken by the generation of their parents, just as managers talk differently in the office than in a bar with friends.

At the moment, Dutch++ offers reading and audio material as well as video fragments illustrating varieties of Dutch. Moreover, there is a section where specific linguistic situations and functions are emphasized - for example how to pay the bill in a café. Students of Dutch can learn more about how these functions are realized across the linguistic area. Dutch++ also contains sets of online exercises where learners of Dutch can test their ability to actually understand a waiter asking: "Hebt u het niet kleiner"?

 The project will last another year and the second round of evaluation by potential users is about to start. If you are interested in participating in the evaluation, please send an email to the following address: iris.puchner@univie.ac.at.