Mitos de decadencia lingüística en la historia del neerlandés. Una exploración sociolingüística de la lengua en Flandes en los siglos xviii y xix / Myths of language decadence in Dutch history. A sociolinguistic exploration of language in Flanders in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

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Contrary to the fixed language norms of Northern (“Hollandic”) Dutch, Southern (“Flemish”) Dutch in the eighteenth and nineteenth century is claimed to have been nothing more than a collection of mutually unintelligible and Frenchified dialects. Such discourses of Southern linguistic chaos lie at the basis of Hollandic varieties serving as the foundation for the modern-day standard language. In this contribution, I will identify and trace back several “myths of linguistic decay” in a collection of normative works and metalinguistic texts, and test them against findings from actual usage, based on a corpus of handwritten documents from the early nineteenth century. By examining adnominal case and gender marking as a representative case study, I will show how the divide between the North and the South existed not only on the linguistic level, but thrived all the more on the metalinguistic level.


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