This page contains frequently asked questions about Taalportaal. Do you have a question that is not answered below? Then contact our coordinator Ton van der Wouden.

What is Taalportaal?

Taalportaal is a large project aiming at a comprehensive and authoritative scientific grammar, originally only for Dutch and Frisian. Since 2015, Afrikaans has also been added to the original project. Taalportaal is an interactive knowledge base about these three languages, covering syntax, morphology and phonology. The project is a collaborative effort of the Meertens Instituut, Leiden University, the Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie, the Fryske Akademy, and the Virtuele Instituut Vir Afrikaans. The Dutch/Frisian part is funded by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; the Afrikaans part is funded by the Suid-Afrikaans Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging, Noordwes-Universiteit and Dagbreek Trust.

What is the target audience of Taalportaal?

The Taalportaal project aims at the construction of a comprehensive and authoritative scientific grammar website for Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans. The primary target audience is the international scientific community, as especially Dutch has been, and still is, an important object of study in linguistic theory and related fields of research. However, users less versed in linguistic theory will find a host of interesting information in the Taalportaal as well. Moreover, plans are being developed for an additional project that shall lead to a Taalportaal-like revision of the Dutch reference grammar ANS (Haeseryn et al, 1995) that will serve new groups of users.

Waarom Engels?

Dutch/Frisian: We krijgen met enige regelmaat de vraag waarom het Taalportaal in het Engels is en niet in het Nederlands (of het Fries of het Afrikaans). De reden voor deze taalkeuze is dat het Taalportaal in de eerste plaats bedoeld is voor de internationale wetenschappelijke gemeenschap, waar de voertaal tegenwoordig Engels is. Taalkundigen betrekken tegenwoordig vaak tientallen talen van over de hele wereld in hun overwegingen, zonder die talen machtig te zijn, en dat kan omdat de relevante feiten beschikbaar zijn gemaakt door collega's die die talen wel kennen.

Afrikaans: Ons kry dikwels die vraag waarom Taalportaal slegs in Engels en nie in Afrikaans (of Nederlands of Fries) beskikbaar is nie. Die rede vir hierdie taalkeuse is dat Taalportaal in die eerste plek bedoel is vir die internasionale wetenskaplike gemeenskap, waar die voertaal tans hoofsaaklik Engels is. Taalkundiges betrek dikwels tientalle tale vanoor die hele wêreld in hulle navorsing, sonder dat hulle dié tale magtig is. Dit kan slegs gedoen word as die relevante feite oor die ander tale beskikbaar gemaak word deur kollegas wat wel die tale ken.

Which Dutch is covered in Taalportaal?

Dutch is considered a pluricentric language with different (developing) standards in The Netherlands, Belgium and Surinam, and also in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. For the time being, the Taalportaal project mostly deals with the Dutch standard variety as it functions in the Netherlands.

The Taalunieversum offers more information about Dutch and its different standards.

Which Afrikaans is covered in Taalportaal?

Afrikaans, one of the eleven official languages of the Republic of South Africa, is a close relative to Dutch, but with a separate and complex history since the seventeenth century. The Taalportaal project deals mostly with what we call Algemene Afrikaans (General Afrikaans); i.e. those varieties of Afrikaans generally encountered in contemporary spoken and written media. We therefore do not only deal with Standard Afrikaans, but also with other usage varieties that can be seen or heard in modern day media.

Roots of Afrikaans: selected writings of Hans den Besten, edited by Ton van der Wouden.

What is the relationship between the Syntax of Dutch and Taalportaal?

Hans Broekhuis has together with colleagues been working on the Syntax of Dutch, a comprehensive scientific description of the syntax of current Dutch. The syntactic parts of the Taalportaal lean heavily on this uniquely detailed work.

The Syntax of Dutch at Amsterdam University Press.

What is the etymology of the word X?

The Taalportaal does not provide information on etymology. However, the 'Etymologiebank' is a comprehensive on-line resource (in Dutch) on Dutch and Afrikaans etymology: wherever possible, examples in topics are linked to this site.

What languages are spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium?

Dutch ('Nederlands') and Frisian ('Fries') are the official languages of The Netherlands. Next to that, Sign Language of the Netherlands is used by the Deaf community, as well as over hundred immigrant languages, from Adyghe to Zazaki. In Belgium, there are three official spoken languages (Dutch, French, German), two signed languages, to wit Flemish Sign Language and French Belgian Sign Language (more related to each other than to either Sign Language of the Netherlands or French Sign Language), as well as a great number of immigrant languages. Moreover, the area boasts a number of regional varieties (dialects and dialect groups), a.o. Gronings and Stellingwerfs in The Netherlands, and Limburgish and Brabantish in both countries. Contrary to what Ethnologue and other sources suggest, Flemish ('Vlaams') is not a separate language, but rather a group of dialects and regiolects used in large parts of Belgium and in de South-Western part of the Netherlands.

What languages are spoken in South Africa?

South Africa has a rich and diverse multilingual culture with eleven official languages, namely two Germanic languages (English and Afrikaans), four Nguni languages (Ndebele (isiNdebele), Swati (Siswati), Xhosa (isiXhosa), and Zulu (isiZulu)), three Sotho languages (Northern Sotho (Sesotho sa Lebo or Sepedi), Southern Sotho (Sesotho), and Tswana (Setswana)), and two other Bantu languages (Tsonga (Xitsonga) and Venda (Tshivenda)). These languages are granted official status in chapter one of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (6 of 1996), stating that ‘…the state must take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages’.

Other languages used in South Africa, include, amongst others, Fanagalo, Lobedu (Khilobedu), Northern Ndebele (Sindebele), Phuthi (Siphuthi), Khoi, Nama and San languages, and South African Sign Language. Significant numbers of immigrants from Europe, elsewhere in Africa, and the Indian subcontinent means that a wide variety of other languages can also be found in parts of South Africa.

LanguageNumber of home language speakers% of total
Afrikaans6 855 08213.5%
English4 892 6239.6%
isiNdebele1 090 2232.1%
isiXhosa8 154 25816%
isiZulu11 587 37422.7%
Sepedi4 618 5769.1%
Sesotho3 849 5637.6%
Setswana4 067 2488%
Sign language234 6550.5%
SiSwati1 297 0462.5%
Tshivenda1 209 3882.4%
Xitsonga2 277 1484.5%
Other828 2581.6%
TOTAL50 961 443100%

How do I cite Taalportaal?

  • If you would like to cite the Taalportaal project, then please add the following reference to your paper:

    Landsbergen, Frank, Carole Tiberius and Roderik Dernison (2014). ‘Taalportaal: an Online Grammar of Dutch and Frisian’. In: Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14), 2206-2210. [pdf]

    Or in bibtex format:

    • author = {Frank Landsbergen and Carole Tiberius and Roderik Dernison},
    • title = {Taalportaal: an online grammar of Dutch and Frisian},
    • booktitle = {Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'14)},
    • year = {2014},
    • month = {may},
    • date = {26-31},
    • address = {Reykjavik, Iceland},
    • editor = {Nicoletta Calzolari (Conference Chair) and Khalid Choukri and Thierry Declerck and Hrafn Loftsson and Bente Maegaard and Joseph Mariani and Asuncion Moreno and Jan Odijk and Stelios Piperidis},
    • publisher = {European Language Resources Association (ELRA)},
    • isbn = {978-2-9517408-8-4},
    • language = {english}
    • }

  • If you would like to cite a topic, click the 'cite' button on the topic page, on the right side of your screen. You can then copy-paste the preferred reference layout (APA, Bibtex, Chicago, MLA and Mouton) to your paper.

Why I do not get a bibliographic reference?

Bibliographic references that are used within a topic are listed at the bottom of the page. It is also possible to click on a reference within the text to get the full publication in a popup. In the current release, the references in topics from Afrikaans and from the Verbs and Verb phrases part of Dutch syntax are incomplete, and are therefore not working correctly.