Thema's en trends in de sociolinguïstiek 3
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Like English, Dutch has a case distinction in the pronoun of the third person plural. English makes a distinction between they versus them, Dutch distinguishes zij and hen/ bun (in addition to the reduced forms ze). Nowadays, hun occurs frequently in large areas of the Netherlands as a subject pronoun. Its use is largely restricted to spoken Dutch, but it provokes strong feelings of abhorrence among the gatekeepers of a correct standard Dutch. This contribution gives an overview of the linguistic and sociolinguistic data available and of the types of explanation put forward to account for the sudden rise of this oblique form in subject position. (New) dialect-geographical data presented lead to the formulation of a framework which redefines and integrates linguistic and socio-linguistic explanations or effects. An important feature of the framework is the interaction between the different effects responsible for the strong rise of hun (='them') in subject position.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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