Standardization of Dutch varieties (dialects, regiolects)
The standard Dutch language is different from the Dutch dialects in large part because it was created through the efforts of elite language users who selected various language formats, which typically were the results of natural developments anyway. What is interesting is that, at the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st, something similar to what had happened to the standard language during the Renaissance period happened at the regional level: once again, a group of language users attempted to choose a standard format from the existing variations and then promote and codify it. This resulted in a substantial number of sociolinguistic questions which have yet to be systematically investigated: Who determines the standards of the regiolect? What language variants are selected as the standard for spelling, pronunciation, and grammar? What acts as the linguistic center of the regiolect and why? What are the arguments for and against certain variants? To what extent do these arguments correspond with the standard language selections during the Renaissance and to what extent do they differ? To what extent does the standardized regiolect correspond with what people are actually saying or is it only a construction? What is the attitude of the language users toward this standardized regiolect? Do they abide by it and does it lead to changes in the regiolects and/or dialects?
Reseachers: Nicoline van der Sijs, Leonie Cornips