The nationalist turn: Dutch linguistics and German philosophy in the 18th and early 19th centuries

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From the nineteenth century onwards, a nationalist turn can be discerned in the history of Dutch linguistics. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, however, Dutch linguists did not address the people or nation but only a cultivated élite. In order to trace the rise of nationalist thinking in the course of the history of Dutch eighteenth-century linguistics, a vast amount of sources has been studied. It is shown that a sudden considerable increase of nationalist jargon cannot be determined. The educational approach from c. 1750 onwards, however, clearly suggests a nationalist framework. The typical eighteenthcentury fusion of notions such as language, people or nation, and history into one conceptual framework is contemporaneous with the publications of German authors such as Herder, Adelung and Michaelis. A few cases of direct influence are described but independent Dutch developments can also be discerned. Especially from c. 1800 onwards, the German predecessors are often referred to.


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