Talking in and out of place: ethnographic reflections on language, place, and (un)belonging in Limburg, the Netherlands

Lotte Christoffel Suzanne Thissen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

3421 Downloads (Pure)


The dissertation by Lotte Thissen titled Talking in and Out of Place examines how people in the Limburg city of Roermond deal with the daily challenges posed by multilingualism, place, and feelings of (un)belonging in a constantly changing world.
The rich ethnographic chapters – which sweep readers up in a conga line led by carnival association De Katers, invite them to take a seat alongside two men in the city centre of Roermond, and take them on a shopping trip to Dost Market – reveal how people discuss feelings of belonging and not belonging in a country that is increasingly defining the notion of national identity in sharper terms.
The case studies reveal that everyone can experience foreignness, irrespective of origin or background. According to Thissen, we should stop asking where people come from, as this question is often motivated by outward appearances and linguistic differences and suggests that some people do not belong in a given place, such as Limburg. It can also be a painful experience for people who understand and/or speak the local language or dialect. This dissertation illustrates that language practices are far more diverse and unpredictable and that people are continuously involved in the process of talking in and out of place.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Cornips, Leonie, Supervisor
  • de Rooij, V., Co-Supervisor, External person
  • Stengs, Irene, Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date11 Jan 2018
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789492679277
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • ethnography
  • dialect
  • language practice
  • multilingualism
  • reward

Cite this