2004
Volume 56, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729

Abstract

Abstract

The early nineteenth century saw the introduction of the first national orthography and grammar of Dutch, commissioned by the government and officially codified by Siegenbeek (1804) and Weiland (1805), respectively. However, the effectiveness of this so-called ‘written language regulation’ on actual language usage has never been investigated empirically. Based on a newly compiled multi-genre corpus of Dutch private letters, diaries and newspapers from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this paper sheds light on the impact of the nationalist language policy on linguistic patterns of variation and change in the Northern Netherlands. The case study focuses on the orthographic representation of final /t/ in second and third person singular and second person plural present indicative forms of verbs with a -stem (e.g. ‘become’, ‘find’), which attracted a great deal of attention in metalinguistic discourse. While the corpus results indicate a considerable effect of standard language norms on language practice, they also disprove the traditional assumption that nineteenth-century spelling was entirely homogeneous.

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2018-02-01
2021-09-27
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