An early sociolinguistic approach towards standardization and dialect variation

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With the publication of Kloeke’s De Hollandsche Expansie in de 16e en 17e eeuw en haar weerspiegeling in de hedendaagse Nederlandse dialecten (1927) a long and harsh debate started in Dutch historical linguistics. This debate, which still goes on, concentrates on the history of ‘Dutch diphthongization’. By pointing to prestige as an important factor in language change, Kloeke actually showed himself to be an ‘avant-la letter’ sociolinguist. Unfortunately scholars from differ­ent backgrounds were able to prove that the historical data Kloeke used for his theory were not as solid as he thought. Nevertheless, his idea that social factors are as important as structural arguments still remains valid.


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