The Sittard dialect (Zittesj) is a Limburgish dialect spoken mainly in the Dutch city of Sittard. It is also spoken in Koningsbosch and in a small part of Germany (Selfkant), but quickly becoming extinct there. Of all other important Limburgish dialects, the dialect of Sittard is most closely related to that of Roermond.
The Sittard dialect belongs to East Limburgish, which means it has a postalveolar consonant at the onset of words beginning with clusters such as st, sl and st, in contrast with other variants of Limburgish such as Maastrichtian and in Dutch.
The most important characteristic which distinguishes the dialect of Sittard from adjacent Limburgish dialects is the occurrence of the diphthongs ei and ou, instead of ee and oo in words such as neit ("not"), veil ("much") beier ("beer") and awd ("old"). This phenomenon was first examined thoroughly in the first half of the 1940s by Willy Dols, who showed that this Sittard diphthongization typically occurred in syllables with a push tone. New research at the beginning of the 21st century has shown that the diphthongization once served to emphasize the difference in vowel length which distinguishes syllables with a push tone from those with a dragging tone.
- Belemans, Rob & Keulen, Ronny (2002): Taal in stad en land. Venloos, Roermonds en Sittards ISBN 90-12-09014-8
- (Dutch) Carlos Gussenhoven Over het waarom van de Sittardse diftongering Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen online
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