- On the nature of mixed languages
- The case of Bildts
- International Journal of the Sociology of Language
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
Amsterdam University College (AUC)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
It was recently claimed, in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language (Issue 242) that the Bildt dialect in Friesland (Netherlands), spoken from the sixteenth century in a region reclaimed from the sea, poses a specimen of so-called “mixed languages”, characterised by a split between the source language of the “grammar” (from Frisian) and that of the “lexicon” (from Dutch). This article evaluates the linguistic arguments and poses a rather different conclusion to that above. Many of the grammatical similarities between Frisian and the Bildt dialect are not the result of borrowing or imposition from Frisian, but are (a) shared innovations in Frisian and Dutch based varieties in Friesland (including the Bildt dialect) in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, (b) commonly preserved archaisms, and (c) the result of the convergence of Frisian with Dutch. It is suggested that all early-modern language varieties spoken in Friesland were part of a Sprachbund, that also comprised the vernaculars of North Holland, under the umbrella of the emerging Standard Dutch. This different linguistic interpretation makes the sociolinguistic argument of identity-driven language mixing obsolete, because such a mixing never took place. It can, however, be acknowledged that the current shape of some Dutch-based varieties in Friesland can synchronically be re-analysed in terms of being “mixed languages”.
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