Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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This paper presents evidence from both corpora and agent-based simulation for the effect of lectal contamination. By doing so, it shows how agent-based simulation can be used as a complementary technique to corpus research in the study of language variation. Lectal contamination is an effect whereby the words that are typical of a language variety more often appear in a morphosyntactic variant typical of that same variety, even among language use from a different variety. This study looks at the Dutch partitive genitive construction, which exhibits variation between a “Netherlandic” variant with - ending and a “Belgian” variant without - ending. It is shown that the probability of the Belgian variant without - increases among more “Belgian” words, in the language use of both Belgians and people from the Netherlands. Meanwhile, an agent-based simulation reveals the crucial theoretical preconditions that lead to this effect.


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