Zeeuws-Flemish in Brazil: multilingualism and language decay

Elizana Schaffel bremenkamp, Kathy Rys, Andrew Nevins, G.J. Postma

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientific


In this paper, we present the linguistic and cultural description
of the Brazilian Zeeuws-Flemish population in Espírito Santo,
which today has no more than 20 speakers. The Zeeuws-Flemish
speakers, hundreds of whom left Zeeland in 1858-1862, have
faced hardship and difficulty in adaptation and integration into
Brazilian society ever since their arrival, with their language
threatened not only by Brazilian Portuguese, but also by
Brazilian Pomeranian, somewhat of a lingua franca among the
Germanic Protestant community in the region. In this paper we
present a sociolinguistic survey of the Brazilian Zeeuws-Flemish
language community and an overview of its linguistic features
such as intra- and interspeaker allophony, lexical borrowing and
calquing, relative pronoun neutralization, do-support, topic drop,
complementizer fusion, and loss of diminutives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-472
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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