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
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.