Day of the native language: the accent on the edges of Drenthe

It is the day of the Moerstaal. And of course it is a little different for everyone, depending on where you live. On the edges of Drenthe we see variation in dialects, such as Schoonbörks, Stellingwarfs, Veenkoloniaals and Zuidwest-Drents.

Below we highlight important features of these four dialects.

We start our tour along the linguistic edges of Drenthe in Schoonebeek. There we meet Bert Finke from the Nei-Schoonebeek Historical Association. He talks about a language in the region that no longer exists. “Schoonebeek used to be a remote village and the population has always had their own language,” he says.

The language arose when people from multiple areas came together. Of course, it concerned Schoonebeekers themselves, but also residents of Vlieghuis and Padhuis. “They all came from Twente,” says Finke. “While the Schoonebeekers came from the Dollard area, the East Frisian part. A mixture of Groningen, Frisian and Twents has become Schoonbörks. It was still spoken around 1900, but it has now become extinct. This is because more and more people come from outside went to live there.”

The language in Schoonebeek is characterized by shorter words and vowels, Finke knows: “In Drenthe it is eat’n but here it is et’n. All very short. So not a kettle, but a kettle. And not spoon, but spoon.”

On the other side of Drenthe, near the border with Friesland, ‘Stellingwarfs’ is spoken. Even if you cross the border, Stellingwarfs is absolutely not Frisian, emphasizes Abel Darwinkel of the Stellingwarver Schrieverronte. “If you say that, we will chase you across the border with pitchforks,” he says, laughing.

“If you come to Diever and Smilde, you will hear approximately the same language as here,” he continues. “Of course there are differences, but it is very similar. In the headline of Overijssel they say that they speak Steenwijks, but that also has similarities with Stellingwarfs. Low Saxon is spoken in all these areas.”

A famous phrase in the region: the water splashes against the glasses, shaking them so much. The ae sound,” says Darwinkel, “is characteristic of Stallingwarfs and West Drents.”

The customers in the Veenkoloniën are very different. The Drenthe people there often hear that they do not speak Drenthe, but Groningen. That is incorrect. It is the language spoken in the former Groningen-Drentse peat colonies, which are partly in Groningen and partly in Drenthe. So it is not surprising that there are Groningen influences.

What characterizes Veenkoloniaals? It is a bit sadder and tougher, says musician Bert Hadders from 2e Exloërmond. “Settlers came here with nothing,” he says. “They went to work and had to build a life for themselves. That is different from living in the same family for a hundred years around a ‘brinkie’, where you have to get along with each other. Then you are a bit more careful in speaking to each other. Here one is a bit shorter in the head.”

In the municipality of Hoogeveen, a completely different variant is spoken: Zuidwest-Zuid-Drents. This dialect has many similarities with Sallandse and distinguishes itself from other Drenthe dialects by the use of the aa sound, where other regional languages ​​more often use the ao sound.

Southwest Drenthe is best recognized by its past participles, according to regional language ambassador Diana Huizing. “With a past participle like done we say: I have that.” So there will be one at the front e added.

And Huizing can also recognize a Southwest-South Drent when it counts to ten. “When I hear someone counting and they say Veiere, then that person must almost be from the municipality of Hoogeveen.”