Journal of Sociolinguistics

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Volume 1 Issue 3 (October 1997), Pages 315-472

Watching Dutch Change: A Real Time Study of Variation and Change in Standard Dutch Pronunciation (pages 361-391)

The study investigates phonological variation and change in two varieties of standard Dutch: southern standard Dutch (spoken in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium) and northern standard Dutch (spoken in the Netherlands). A new source for studying language change in progress is introduced: archived recordings of radio broadcasts. The study covers the period from 1935 to 1993. Changes in progress are studied by a combination of insight and techniques from historical linguistics and sociolinguistics. The outcomes of analyzing separate linguistic variables are presented, but the focus of the analysis is on the presence of more general patterns of covariation within the set of linguistic variables and on the possibility of distinguishing (prototypical) temporal and community‐based varieties of standard Dutch. The results reveal a pattern of divergence between the two varieties of standard Dutch. The southern variety remained more or less stable between 1935 and 1993. Northern standard Dutch, however, changed substantially.

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