The language of Dutch Carnival: dialect, royalty and fools


Integrated Expat - a British expat's views on Nijmegen, Arnhem & the Dutch

What is the strange version of the Dutch language that is used during Carnival? Find out what it means and the unexpected link to the Knights of the Round Table.

Slogans on carnival floats, posters for events related to carnival and texts in the local newspaper carnival supplement are often written in something approximating local dialect, something most people no longer speak on a day-to-day basis. I always enjoy trying to translate them into modern ABN, Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands. In other words, into standard Dutch. The website of the carnival organisation in Bergen op Zoom is a good example. So non-standard is the dialect that the entire website is available in a dialect and a translated standard Dutch version.

Why does carnival use dialect?

Perhaps the main reason to use dialect at carnival time is to emphasise the folk origins of the festival and its local nature. Since the majority…

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About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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