LINGUIST List 24.2588

Tue Jun 25 2013

Books: (Extra)Ordinary letters: Nobels

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <>

Date: 25-Jun-2013
From: Mariëtte Bonenkamp <>
Subject: (Extra)Ordinary letters: Nobels
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Title: (Extra)Ordinary lettersSubtitle: A view from below on seventeenth-century DutchSeries Title: LOT dissertation Series

Publication Year: 2013Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)

Book URL:

Author: Judith Nobels

Paperback: ISBN: 9789460931116 Pages: Price: Europe EURO 23.69


In the National Archives in Kew, London, a treasure is kept which is of greatimportance for the linguistic history of the Dutch language: a collection ofseventeenth-century letters written by men and women from various socialbackgrounds. Given the fact that much of the linguistic research ofseventeenth-century Dutch has been perforce based on printed texts andlinguistic data produced by a relatively small number of upper-class – usuallymale – writers, not much is known with certainty about the everyday Dutch ofseventeenth-century lower- and middle-class people. The letters hidden in theNational Archives can change this.

In this dissertation, a corpus of 595 seventeenth-century letters writtenbetween 1664 and 1672 is examined from a sociolinguistic perspective. Since itis the first time that these letters are investigated on such a large scale,several topics are treated: forms of address, reflexivity and reciprocity,negation, schwa-apocope, diminutives, and the genitive and alternativeconstructions. The case studies show that there was still a lot of variationin seventeenth-century Dutch and that some linguistic changes had notprogressed as far in the everyday Dutch of ‘ordinary’ people as previousresearch has suggested. Furthermore, it is shown that gender and social classare important factors of influence on the seventeenth-century language use,especially when they are interpreted in terms of education and writingexperience.

This dissertation is of interest to sociohistorical linguists in general, tolinguists interested in the language history “from below” and to linguistsinterested in seventeenth-century Dutch.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Dutch (nld)

Written In: English (eng)

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---------------------------------- Publishing Partner ----------------------------------

Cambridge University Press

----------------------------- Major Supporting Publishers -----------------------------

Akademie Verlag GmbH

Bloomsbury Linguistics (formerly Continuum Linguistics)


Cambridge Scholars Publishing

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Multilingual Matters

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Routledge (Taylor and Francis)


University of Toronto Press


--------------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ---------------------------

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Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)

Seoul National University

SIL International Publications

Universitat Jaume I

University of Nebraska Press

Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 25-Jun-2013