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Saturday, October 12 • 8:55am - 9:20am
Verheyden: The myth of Frenchification? A historical sociolinguistic investigation of French influence on Late Modern Southern Dutch

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The myth of Frenchification? A historical sociolinguistic investigation of French influence on Late Modern Southern Dutch

Southern Dutch language during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has often been assumed to be highly dialectal, cut off from ongoing standardization in the North, and highly influenced by French. However, in stark contrast to the importance given to French influence in histories of Dutch stands the very limited amount of empirical research, and the few exploratory studies have challenged this traditional view. To fill this empirical gap, we will present a case study investigating underdocumented material ‘from below’, focusing on French influence in Flemish soldiers letters. To measure French influence, we will focus on loan morphological, specifically derivational suffixes, following the approach advocated by Rutten, Vosters & Van der Wal (2015). By discussing the results of this case study, we will reflect on the broader context of Frenchification in Dutch language history, as such, this case study is part of a larger project focusing on Dutch-French language contact.

Rutten, G., Vosters, R., & Van der Wal, M. (2015). Frenchification in discourse and practice. Loan morphology in private letters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In C. Peersman, G. Rutten, & R. Vosters (Eds.), Past, present and future of a language border. Germanic-Romance encounters in the Low Countries (Language and Social Life 1, pp. 143–169). Berlin / Boston: De Gruyter.

Session abstract: Querying the individual and the community: New historical sociolinguistic approaches to contact, variation, and change
The theoretical and methodological problem of relating the behavior of individuals (Milroy 1992, Eckert 2000) to trends of language change in the community (Labov 2001:34) is particularly pressing for Historical Sociolinguistics. The five papers in this session, organized by NARNiHS, explore the socio-historical contexts and parameters of individual language use that have given rise to recorded patterns of linguistic variation in multiple understudied communities. A core concern shared by these studies is the broad application of variationist theory to historical data, by situating notions such as language variation, change, and contact, within a sociohistorical dimension. Overall, this session presents a broad range of datsets and tools to to explore the possibilities and limitations of sociolinguistic theory for the analysis of sociohistorical data from a broad range of periods and contexts.

Eckert, Penelope. 2000. Linguistic Variation as Social Practice. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William. 2001. Principles of Linguistic Change, Volume 2: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Milroy, James. 1992. Linguistic Variation and Change. Oxford: Blackwell.


Charlotte Verheyden

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Saturday October 12, 2019 8:55am - 9:20am PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: Querying the individual and the community