This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Southeast Limburgish (Dutch: Zuidoost-Limburgs) is a cover term for the Ripuarian dialects spoken in Dutch Limburg.

In the Netherlands and Belgium this group is often included in the generic term Limburgish. Limburgish was recognised as a regional language in the Netherlands and as such it receives moderate protection under chapter 2 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Southeast Limburgish and related dialects in Germany and Belgium

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Variants of Southeast Limburgish are spoken around Kerkrade, Bocholtz and Vaals in the Netherlands. Closely related Ripuarian varieties are spoken in Herzogenrath and Aachen in Germany and Raeren and Eynatten in Belgium.


This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Duplicates Kerkrade dialect#Phonology and Kerkrade dialect phonology, but gives a slightly different transcription (e.g. ʁ vs. ɣ). Please help improve this article if you can. (September 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Main article: Kerkrade dialect phonology

As most other dialects of Ripuarian and Limburgish, Southeast Limburgish features a distinction between the thrusting tone (Dutch: stoottoon, German: Schärfung or Stoßton), which has a shortening effect on the syllable (not shown in transcriptions in this article) and the slurring tone (Dutch: sleeptoon, German: Schleifton). In this article, the slurring tone is transcribed as a high tone, whereas the thrusting tone is left unmarked. This is nothing more than a convention, as the phonetics of the Southeast Limburgish pitch accent are severely under-researched. There are minimal pairs, for example moer /ˈmuːʀ/ 'wall' - moer /ˈmúːʀ/ 'carrot' in the Kerkrade dialect.[1][2]

Kerkrade consonants
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 χ
voiced v z ʒ ʁ ɦ
Liquid l ʀ
Approximant w j

The sounds corresponding to Limburgish /x, ɣ/ are very back after back vowels, being uvular [χ, ʁ] (as in Luxembourgish), rather than velar as in Limburgish. In fact, there is not much of a difference between /ʁ/ and /ʀ/ in the Kerkrade dialect.[3][4]

Most instances of historical /ɡ/ (/ɣ/ in Limburgish and (southern) Standard Dutch) have merged with /j/, so that the word for green in the Kerkrade dialect is jreun /ˈjʀøːn/ (compare Standard Dutch groen /ˈɣrun/).[5] The dialect of Lemiers is much more similar to the dialect of Vaals than the dialect spoken in Vijlen (called Vieleter or Vielender) as the former features the High German consonant shift. In Lemiers, the etymological /ɡ/ (/ɣ/ in Limburgish and southern Standard Dutch) has not fully shifted to /j/ in consonant clusters. Thus, the word for big (Standard Dutch groot [ˈɣroːt]), varies between [ˈɣʁuəs] and [ˈjʁuəs]. A Limburgish dialectologist Will Kohnen recommends the spelling jroeës to cover this variation (cf. Vieleter groeët). In Kerkrade, the shift has been completed and so only the form [ˈjʀuəs] occurs.[6][7]

The palatal [ç] is an allophone of /χ/ after consonants, the front vowels and the close-mid central /ø/, which phonologically is a front vowel.[3] In some dialects, [ç] is fronted, which may result in a merger with [ʃ]. That is the case in the dialect of Vaals, in which the first person singular pronoun is iesj [iʃ], rather than ich [ɪç] or iech [iç] found in other dialects of Limburgish. In Aachen, [ç] is also fronted but without a merger with [ʃ], with the resulting sound being [ɕ], as it used to be the case in Luxembourgish (which is rapidly transitioning towards a full merger). The two sounds are not distinguished in Rheinische Dokumenta.

Before consonants and pauses, /ʀ/ may be vocalized to [ɐ], especially in Germany. Thus, the name of the Aachen dialect in the dialect itself is Öcher Platt [ˈœɕɐ ˈplɑt]. In the Netherlands, the consonantal pronunciation is more likely to occur.

Kerkrade vowels[8]
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long short long short long
Close i y u
Close-mid e ø øː ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɛː œ œː ɔ ɔː
Open ɑ
Diphthongs closing ɛɪ   œʏ   ɔɪ   ɔʊ    
centering         œə  


  1. ^ Fournier, Rachel; Gussenhoven, Carlos; Peters, Jörg; Swerts, Marc; Verhoeven, Jo. "The tones of Limburg". Archived from the original on 26 February 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  2. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 19.
  3. ^ a b Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), p. 17.
  4. ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013), p. 68.
  5. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 17, 126.
  6. ^ Kohnen (2003), p. 1.
  7. ^ Bodelier (2011), p. 11.
  8. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 15–17.
  9. ^ Stichting Kirchröadsjer Dieksiejoneer (1997), pp. 15, 18.