Language dynamics in the Dutch Golden Age

Within the language dynamics of the Dutch Golden Age, we observe a type of language variation that has rarely been addressed before: variation within individual language users (intra-author variation). The famous author P.C. Hooft, for instance, uses the Middle Dutch way to express negation as well as a modern alternative. How can we account for this variation, seemingly randomly displayed by authors? This project will chart and explain the grammatical properties of intra-author variation, as well as the social and literary-cultural factors that influenced the way individual authors used their variation in a strategic and/or creative way. The central hypothesis of the project is that the (internal) grammars of authors created a particular range of variation, which was systematically used by authors, based on contextual factors.

Researchers: Gertjan Postma, Marjo van Koppen, Nicoline van der Sijs