Kerkrade dialect

Kerkrade dialect
Kirchröadsj Plat
Pronunciation[ˈkɪʀəçʀøətʃ ˌplɑt]
Native toNetherlands, Germany
Language codes
ISO 639-3

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

The most similar other Ripuarian dialects are those of Bocholtz, Vaals and Aachen.

Even though it is a Ripuarian dialect, native speakers call it Limburgsj ('Limburgish'), Kirchröadsj ('Kerkradish') or simply plat ('dialect'). The name Ripuarisch ('Ripuarian') is never used and is reserved for the related dialects spoken in Germany.


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" (literally translated "eating and drinking well keeps the body and soul together"). The Standard Dutch equivalent of that sentence is goed eten en drinken houdt de mens gezond[4] (or literally goed eten en drinken houdt lichaam en ziel bij elkaar).



Monophthong phonemes[5]
Front Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long
Close i y u
Close-mid ɪ ɵ øː ʊ
Open-mid ɛ ɛː œ œː ɔ ɒː
Open ɑ
Unstressable ə
  • The Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer describes the quality of the following vowels in detail:
    • /i, iː, u, uː/ are fully close [i, , u, ].[6]
    • The main allophone of /y/ is near-close [ʏ]. In word-final positions, it is realized as fully close [y].[6]
    • /ɪ, eː, ɵ, øː, ʊ, oː/ are all phonetically close-mid [ɪ̞, , ɵ, øː, ʊ̞, ]. /ɵ/ is phonetically central [ɵ] and the main difference between it and the unstressable /ə/ is rounding; /ɵ/ is rounded, whereas /ə/ is unrounded.[6]
    • /ɪ/ and /ɛ/ are more open [ɪ̞, æ] before /m, n, ŋ, l, ʀ/ than in other positions.[6]
    • /ɛː, œː, ɔ/ are open-mid [ɛː, œː, ɔ].[6]
    • /œ/ is mid front [œ̝].[6]
    • /ɒː/, a phonological open-mid vowel, is phonetically open [ɒː].[6]
    • /ɑ/ is open back [ɑ].[7]
    • /aː/, a phonological back vowel, is phonetically central [äː].[7]
    • 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]
    • Before /ʀ/, all of the long vowels are pronounced even longer than in Standard Dutch. In the case of /iː, yː, uː, eː, øː/, they are slightly diphthongized to [iːə, yːə, uːə, eːə, øːə] (the schwa element is very brief and will not be included in other transcriptions in this article).[8]
  • /ɵ, øː, œ, œː/ can be considered the umlauted variants of /ʊ, oː, ɔ, ɒː/.[6]
  • /ə/ is inserted allophonically between /l/ or /ʀ/ and a labial or a dorsal consonant, as in milch [ˈmɪləç] and sjterk [ˈʃtæʀək].[9]
Diphthong phonemes[10]
Closing ɛɪ œʏ ɔɪ ɔʊ aɪ ɑʊ
Centering iə yə uə eə øə oə
  • The starting point of /œʏ/ is phonetically close to a shortened /œː/ ([œ]).[10]
  • The centering diphthongs /iə, yə, uə, eə, øə, oə/ begin with vowels close to the main allophones of the phonemic monophthongs /i, y, u, ɪ, œ, ʊ/ and end in a schwa [ə].[6]
  • /oə/ is the only centering diphthong that can occur before /ʀ/.[11]


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 /ts/ in word-initial and word-final positions, before historical /l/ and /ʀ/ as well as when doubled. Thus, the word for "two" is twee in Standard Dutch, but tswai in the Kerkrade dialect.[12]

Labial Alveolar Postalveolar Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
Affricate voiceless ts
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ x
voiced v z ʒ ɣ ɦ
Approximant β l j
Trill ʀ
  • /m, p, b, β/ are bilabial, whereas /f, v/ are labiodental.
  • Syllable-final /β, l/ tend to be velarized [w, ɫ], especially after /ɑ/. /l/ can also be velarized intervocalically after /ɑ/.[8]
  • /ŋ, k, ɡ, ɣ/ are velar, /j/ is palatal, whereas /ʀ/ is uvular.
    • /ɡ/ occurs only intervocalically.[11]
    • Most instances of historic /ɣ/ have merged with /j/, so that the word for green in the Kerkrade dialect is jreun /jʀøːn¹/ (compare Standard Dutch groen /ɣrun/). /ɣ/ occurs only after back vowels.[13]
    • /ʀ/ varies between a trill [ʀ] and a fricative [ʁ].
  • /x/ is realized as velar [x] after phonological back vowels and as palatal [ç] after consonants and phonological front vowels. Both allophones can appear within one lexeme, e.g. laoch [lɒːx] and löcher [ˈlœçəʀ]. The phonetically central /ɵ/ and /aː/ trigger different allophones; the former requires the use of the palatal [ç] because it is a phonological front vowel, whereas /aː/ is always followed by the velar [x] because it is a back vowel phonologically.[11]

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 /muːʀ¹/ 'wall' - moer /muːʀ²/ 'carrot'. The syllables with stoottoon are pronounced shorter than those with the sleeptoon (so [muˑʀ¹, muːʀ²]).[14]


The spelling presented here is used in Kirchröadsjer dieksiejoneer, the only dictionary of the Kerkrade dialect.

Spelling IPA value Example words Notes
a /ɑ/ bakke In closed syllables.
/aː/ jape In open syllables.
aa kaat, sjaa In closed syllables and word-finally.
ai /aɪ/ fain
ao /ɒː/ kaod
äö /œː/ kräöche
äu /ɔɪ/ vräud
auw /ɑʊ/ kauw
b /b/
/p/ Word-finally and before voiceless consonants in compounds.
ch /x/ maache
d /d/
/t/ Word-finally and before voiceless consonants in compounds.
dzj /dʒ/ pieëdzje
e /ɛ/ sjtek In closed syllables.
/ə/ oavend In unstressed syllables.
/eː/ dene In open syllables.
ee deer In closed syllables and word-finally.
è /ɛː/ nès
/eə/ kts
ei /ɛɪ/ knei
ij jekkerij
eu /øː/ meun
f /f/
g /ɣ/
gk /ɡ/ wegke
h /ɦ/
i /ɪ/ rikke In closed syllables.
ie /i/ In closed syllables and in unstressed positions.
ieë /iə/
j /j/
k /k/
l /l/
m /m/
n /n/
ng /ŋ/
o /ɔ/ In closed syllables.
/oː/ In open syllables.
oo In closed syllables.
ö /œ/
ó /ʊ/
oa /oə/
öa /øə/
oe /u/ In closed syllables and in unstressed positions.
oeë /uə/
ouw /ɔʊ/
p /p/
r /ʀ/
s /s/
sj /ʃ/
t /t/
ts /ts/
tsj /tʃ/
u /ɵ/ In closed syllables.
/yː/ In open syllables.
uu In closed syllables.
ü /y/
üe /yə/
ui /œʏ/
v /v/
w /β/
z /z/
zj /ʒ/


  1. ^ "Gemeente Kerkrade | Kirchröadsj Plat". Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. 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. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 16.
  7. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 15.
  8. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 18.
  9. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 16, 18.
  10. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 16–17.
  11. ^ a b c Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 17.
  12. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 36.
  13. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 17, 126.
  14. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 19.


  • Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997) [1987]. Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (in Dutch and Ripuarian) (2nd ed.). Kerkrade: Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer. ISBN 90-70246-34-1.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  • Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (2003). Benders, Jo; Hirsch, Herman; Stelsmann, Hans; Vreuls, Frits (eds.). Kirchröadsjer Zagenswies (in Dutch and Ripuarian). Kerkrade: Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer. ISBN 90-70246-47-3.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)

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