En réponse à Tristan McLeay :

>On this subject, I just remembered one qn I forgot: I noticed that Mien
>seemed sometimes to randomly pronounce <s> and <z> as [S] and [Z] (e.g.
>in the word for 'visiting', which I think was 'bezoek op' but I'm
>probably wrong). Is this some feature of the orthography I don't know or a
>dialect thing or my ears deceiving me?

As Jan said, [S] and [Z] are not phonemic in Dutch (the only place they 
reliably appear is when /s/ and /z/ are palatalised by a following /j/ - as 
in "meisje" :)) -). So /s/ and /z/ seem to wander around a lot more than in 
languages where the opposition is phonemic :)) .

>[Oj]? That's a bit extreme isn't it? But fair enough :)

You've never heard Brabants then! :))) And I've heard some Flemish dialects 
going much further than that (one Belgian guy I saw a few days ago had [e] 
for /I/ and [i] for /e/. Not easy to follow :)) ).

>Well, they definitely called Dutch _Hollands_.

Are there any Zeeland separatists? ;)))

>Really? Because I really _cannot_ hear the difference.

I can, and it is really like that. In the same way, "uu" (and "u" in open 
syllables) is [y], while "u" in closed syllables is [Y] :)) .

>  If that's not a
>dialectal peculiarity or an oddity of my own, maybe the French should
>learn to speak Australian English or something :)

LOL. Haven't we had a discussion that Australian English didn't have a 
tense/lax distinction but a true length distinction a while ago? :)

>Hmm... well, maybe the occasions I heard it other than in Zeeland when I
>knew I heard it it was followed by ar <r>. This was only while watching
>some powerpoint slides with captions they'd made up. (Incidentally, is it
>common for older people to use computers in the Netherlands? It sounds
>like Oma is the only one of her still living siblings who doesn't.)

Depends. My friend's parents don't use any, but I've met people of their 
ages with their own webpages. So I guess it's not as common as with younger 
generations but it happens :) .

>Okay. If it helps, my ear backs up your assessment if Christophe pipes up :)

Of course, dialects are free to do whatever they want :)) . But I stay by 
the claim that the standard (as I was taught it by someone who had a pure 
[v] for "w") has [v\], and a three-way distinction among the labiodentals :)) .

>Well, an alveolar sound is inheritly better to a velar one IMHO :)

Well, I have to disagree. I'm in love with the voiced velar fricative of 
Brabants and Flemish :))) .

Christophe Grandsire.
You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.