Sociolinguistics in the Dutch language area in Europe

Authored by: Jeroen Darquennes

The Routledge Handbook of Sociolinguistics Around the World

Print publication date:  November  2009
Online publication date:  December  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415422789
eBook ISBN: 9780203869659
Adobe ISBN: 9781135261054


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Quite a number of publications have already been devoted to the state of the art of sociolinguistics in the Dutch language area in Europe. In 1984, for example, Roeland Van Hout’s article on ‘Sociolinguistics in the Netherlandic language area’ appeared in Sociolinguistics in the Low Countries (Van Hout 1984). Four years later, Judith Stalpers and Florian Coulmas devoted an issue of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language to the Sociolinguistics of Dutch (Stalpers and Coulmas 1988). And after having published a volume on aspects of sociolinguistics in The Netherlands in 1980, the Dutch Association of Applied Linguistics (Anéla) in 1991 published the first of currently five volumes on Themes and Trends in Sociolinguistics. As part of the series Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen (Articles on Applied Linguistics), each of these five volumes contains a selection of papers presented at Anéla’s Sociolinguistics Conference in the Dutch town of Lunteren in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2006 respectively. One of the strengths of the volumes is that, unlike the regular conference proceedings (also published by Anéla), they each offer the reader an introductory article on the state of the art of sociolinguistics in the Dutch language area. The present overview on sociolinguistics in the Dutch language area builds on these five introductory articles as well as on Roland Willemyns’ article ‘Sociolinguïstiek’ (1999) and Durk Gorter’s account of ‘Sociolinguistics in The Netherlands’ (2003). The overview starts with a very brief description of the Dutch language area. After a short sketch of the introduction and emancipation of sociolinguistics as a research discipline in the Dutch language area, it turns to the problem of defining sociolinguistics. What follows then is an account of present trends in sociolinguistic research in Flanders and The Netherlands. The overview ends with a brief outlook. Although the picture that emerges of sociolinguistics in the Dutch language area in Europe might on some points be too general, it is hoped that the present chapter will arouse interest in a vibrant part of linguistic research in a small geographic area.

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