When dialects are levelling they converge to neighbour varieties in the first place, which is also the case for the two dialect varieties spoken on the island of Ameland. Although the islanders are very much aware of the geographically determined differences within their dialect, most of the distinctive features have disappeared among the youngest generations. However, hardly no convergence takes place between the Ameland dialect and Frisian mainland dialects, which is mainly caused by the geographical boundaries. Another characteristic of dialect levelling is the change in the direction of a dominant language, mostly the standard language. The influence of the surrounding standard languages is very strong on the island thanks to education, the mass media etcetera. A central question is this PhD study is whether the Ameland dialect changes towards the Frisian or Dutch standard. In this process of 'horizontal convergence', tourism plays a significant role. The growing number of tourists on the island forces the islanders to partly give up their dialect. In particular network groups however, tourism might as well lead to divergence. Here the dialect functions as an 'act of identity'. Therefore different linguistic behaviours are to be found among Ameland dialect speakers. All these different behaviours will be explained in terms of the speakers’ identity and speakers’ attitudes towards surrounding languages.
This project concerns the processes of dialect levelling in the Ameland dialect. The Ameland dialect is a mixed dialect with Dutch and Frisian elements, which is spoken on one of the Frisian Waddensea Islands. Two dialect varieties can be distinguished for both the east- and western part of the island. Processes of convergence and divergence between the island varieties are studied, as well as the influence of surrounding standard languages.