Language norms and language use in eighteenth-century Dutch

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The chapter discusses language norms and language use in the Northern Netherlands in the eighteenth century. The eighteenth century is traditionally considered a period of consolidation, i.e. of ongoing codification of the seventeenth-century standard variety. So far, the influence of eighteenth-century normative publications on language use has hardly been investigated. On the basis of a large and socially stratified corpus of eighteenth-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. final <i>n</i> and the genitive case. The chapter concludes that there is only limited evidence that language users adhered to prescriptive norms.


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