Conquer the Netherlands with Drenthe: new game makes regional languages ​​open for discussion

Three PhD students from the University of Groningen have developed a game about Dutch and Flemish dialects: Regional Language Battle. In the game, players must expand the language area of ​​their dialect in order to become the largest in the country.

The development of the game is important to the three designers. “People often get the idea that regional languages ​​are old-fashioned or not interesting. As a result, it can be forgotten. This way we can show that it is still alive,” says PhD student Raoul Buurke, who helped develop the game.

By answering questions about dialects or linguistics, you conquer new areas. “It’s actually inspired by Risk and Triviant.” You don’t have to be an expert for that. “If you make strategic choices, you can also win. And then you also learn new things.”

The focus is mainly on Low Saxon, which also includes Drenthe. “That is close to home for us, that is what we do most of our research into,” Buurke explains. For all other dialects, they collaborated with researchers from other parts of the country and delved into various books.

Buurke isn’t going to play the game much himself, he thinks. “I’ve gone through those questions so many times that it’s hard to play. I already know all the answers.”