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Language norms and language use in seventeenth-century Dutch

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Abstract

The chapter discusses language norms and language use in the Northern Netherlands in the seventeenth century. The seventeenth century is traditionally considered a crucial stage in the development of the Dutch standard variety. Nevertheless, the influence of normative publications on language use has hardly been investigated. On the basis of a large and socially stratified corpus of seventeenth-century private letters, the chapter provides a detailed account of the possible influence of codified norms on actual language use, focusing on two features with presumably high awareness, viz. negation and the genitive case. The chapter concludes that there is only limited evidence that language users adhered to prescriptive norms.

References

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