Thema's en trends in de sociolinguistiek 4
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Historical sociolinguistic research on the Dutch language area during the 19th century has so far mainly been concerned with the situation in Flanders. Given the crucial relevance of this period for the history and the development of Dutch, however, there is a great need for comparable research clarifying the situation in the Northern part of the Dutch language territory. This article, which is explicitly intended as a 'teaser' for such research in the Netherlands, deals with the social communicative functions of dialect, Dutch and French for Flemish upper class writers from the town of Bruges in the 19th century. It will be demonstrated that the commonly accepted views of the opposition between French ([+prestige, upper class]) and Dutch ([-prestige, working class]) do not match the facts found in original archive corpora. Using town council records, meeting minutes from a prestigious upper class circle, and election propaganda, we will show that French, Dutch and dialect were used by the town elite according to stricdy pragmatic considerations to include or exclude specific segments of the town population in various communicative contexts.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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