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Sociolinguistic and grammatical influence on language variation

In this project, language variation will be researched as a phenomenon that appears in social and cultural interactions, but is still delineated via the (mental) grammar of the speaker. The interaction between the social meaning of the language formats on the one hand and the limitations of the grammar on the other, result in complex, multi-tiered relationships between the individual and the changing groups with which they identify. Through these identifications, the speaker is able to routinely bypass grammatical limitations in specific situational contexts and interactions. This perspective makes it possible to predict which language formats and structures are more retentive or even susceptible to variation and change and to “ungrammatical” or impossible constructions from a dominant perspective. The project will specifically investigate (i) the grammatical gender in the adnominal and pronominal domains, such as “de meisje” or “het meisje die,” adjectival inflection “een grote boek,” and (ii) pronominal “er” in the sense of “ik heb er drie gezien” which differs between Dutch varieties and is vulnerable in situations of linguistic contact.

Researchers: Leonie Cornips, Hans Broekhuis