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Kerkrade dialect

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Kerkrade dialect

Kerkrade dialect
Kirchröadsj Plat
Pronunciation [keʁçʁœətʃ plɑt]
Native to Netherlands, Germany
Native speakers
(this article does not contain any information regarding the number of speakers)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Kerkrade dialect (natively Kirchröadsj Plat or Kirchröadsj, Standard Dutch: Kerkraads, Standard German: Kerkrader Platt) is a Ripuarian dialect spoken in Kerkrade (Netherlands) and Herzogenrath (Germany). It is spoken in all social classes, but the variety spoken by younger people is somewhat closer to Standard Dutch.[1][2]


  • Vocabulary 1
  • Phonology 2
    • Vowels 2.1
    • Consonants 2.2
    • Pitch accent 2.3
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4


The Kerkrade dialect has many loanwords from Standard German, a language that used to be used in school and church. However, not all German loanwords are used by every speaker.[3]

An example sentence in the Kerkrade dialect is Jód èse en drinke hilt lief en zieël tsezame, which means "eating and drinking well keeps one healthy". In Standard Dutch it is Goed eten en drinken houdt de mens gezond.[4]



Monophthong phonemes[5]
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close i ʏ u
Close-mid e øː ɵ o
Open-mid ɛ ɛː œ œː ə ɔ ɔː
Open ɑ
  • Among the central vowels, /ɵ/ is rounded, whereas /ə, aː/ are unrounded.
    • /ə/ is phonetically mid [ə] and appears only in unstressed syllables. It is also inserted allophonically between /l/ or /ʁ/ and a labial or a dorsal consonant, as in milch [ˈmeləç] and sjterk [ˈʃtæʁək].[6]
  • Among the back vowels, /u, uː, o, oː, ɔ, ɔː/ are rounded, whereas /ɑ/ is unrounded.
  • The long /iː, uː, øː/ have two types of allophones: half-long [iˑ, uˑ, øˑ], which occur in words with stoottoon and long [iː, uː, øː], which occur in words with sleeptoon. This allophony does not apply to the other long vowels, which are long in all positions.[5]
  • /ʏ/ is normally near-close [ʏ]. However, in the word-final position it is raised to a fully close [y].[7]
  • /e/ and /ɛ/ are more open [, æ] before /m, n, ŋ, l, ʁ/.[7]
  • Before /ʁ/, all of the long vowels are pronounced even longer than in Standard Dutch. In case of /iː, yː, uː, eː, øː/, they are also followed by a short schwa [iːə̯̆, yːə̯̆, uːə̯̆, eːə̯̆, øːə̯̆].[8]
Diphthong phonemes[9]
Starting point Ending point
Front Central Back
Close unrounded
rounded ʏə uə
Mid unrounded ɛɪ
rounded œʏ ɔʏ œə oə ɔʊ
Open aːɪ
  • /iə/ and /uə/ have a close onset, whereas /ʏə/ has a near-close onset.[9]
  • /ɛɪ, œʏ, ɔʏ, œə, ɔʊ/ have an open-mid onset, whereas /eə/ and /oə/ have a close-mid onset.[9]
    • /oə/ is the only centering diphthong that can occur before /ʁ/.[10]
  • /aːɪ/ and /aʊ/ have a central onset [ä].[10]
    • /aːɪ/ has two allophones: half-long [aˑɪ], which occurs in words with stoottoon and long [aːɪ], which occurs in words with sleeptoon.[10]


In contrast to Standard Dutch, but like other varieties of Ripuarian, the Kerkrade dialect was partially affected by the High German consonant shift. For instance, the former /t/ became an affricate /t͡s/ in word-initial and word-final positions, before historical /l/ and /r/ as well as when doubled. Thus, the word for "two" is twee in Standard Dutch, but tswai in the Kerkrade dialect.[11]

Labial Alveolar Postalveolar Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ ç h
voiced v z ʒ ɣ
Approximant β l j
Rhotic ʁ
  • /m, p, b, β/ are bilabial, whereas /f, v/ are labiodental.
    • /β/ has weak lip rounding.[10]
  • /ŋ, k, ɡ, ɣ/ are velar, /ç, j/ are palatal, whereas /ʁ/ is uvular.
    • /ɡ/ occurs only intervocalically.[10]
    • /ɣ/ sounds very similar to /ʁ/, and occurs only after back vowels.[10]
    • /ç/ is realized as velar [x] after back vowels and the central /aː/.[10]
    • /ʁ/ is most commonly a fricative [ʁ] or an approximant [ʁ̞], but a trill [ʀ] may occasionally also occur, especially in emphatic speech.

Pitch accent

As the neighbouring Limburgish dialects, the Kerkrade dialect features phonemic pitch accent, which contains two tonemes: stoottoon (denoted by a superscript ¹) and sleeptoon (denoted by superscript ²). There are minimal pairs, for example moer /muːr¹/ 'wall' - moer /muːr²/ 'carrot'. The syllables with stoottoon are pronounced shorter than those with the sleeptoon.[12]


  1. ^ "Gemeente Kerkrade | Kirchröadsj Plat". Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 9.
  3. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 10.
  4. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (2003), p. 94.
  5. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 15–16.
  6. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 16 and 18.
  7. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 16.
  8. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 18.
  9. ^ a b c Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 16–17.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 17.
  11. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 36.
  12. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 19.


  • Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997) [1987], Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (2nd ed.), Kerkrade: Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer,  
  • Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (2003), Benders, Jo; Hirsch, Herman; Stelsmann, Hans; Vreuls, Frits, eds., Kirchröadsjer Zagenswies, Kerkrade: Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer,  
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