Not anything goes: On implicational coherence and the penalty for being incoherent

Anne-Sophie Ghyselen*, Stef Grondelaers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


In this chapter, we revisit the concept of coherence by focusing on a colloquial variety of Belgian Dutch, which is often seen as incoherent by virtue of its being situated in-between the standard and the regional dialects – hence its name tussentaal. In spite of tussentaal’s mixed nature, we argue that there are implicational restrictions on its production, which are crucially reflected in cognition. A perception experiment featuring implicationally (in)coherent spoken Belgian Dutch (ranging from dialect to near standard) revealed that native speakers noticed and penalized incoherence, though not on the samples’ prestige attributes but on the open response evaluations. In view of these findings, we propose that (in)coherence is not only a production feature but just as much, if not more, a perceptual reality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Coherence of Linguistic Communities
Subtitle of host publicationOrderly Heterogeneity and Social Meaning
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003134558
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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