Is Moroccan-flavoured Standard Dutch standard or not? On the use of perceptual criteria to determine the limits of standard languages
In view of the fact that Netherlandic Standard Dutch has been found to be stratifying – i.e. incorporating regional accent variation to allow speakers to profile local group membership in addition to their national affiliation – an evident question is whether non-Dutch accents are also tolerated in private conceptualizations of the standard: is Moroccan-flavoured Dutch Netherlandic Standard Dutch? In a speaker evaluation experiment designed to answer that question, 212 male and female listener-judges rated 8 short clips of spontaneous speech produced by native and Moroccan Dutchmen on 12 measures selected in function of 5 dimensions of accent attitude architecture (Status, Dynamism, Personal Integrity, Solidarity and Accent Norm); listener-judges also rated speech clips in terms of how beautiful they found them. Principal Component Analysis demonstrated that ratings on the 12 measures correlated into a Status and an Attractiveness dimension. The fact that Moroccan Dutch was systematically downgraded on the status dimension, and the fact that the Moroccan accent was deemed significantly less beautiful than the native accents, strongly suggests that a Moroccan accent is <i>not</i> acceptable as an ingredient of Standard Dutch; neither are there any indications of imminent change in these evaluations.