Historische meertaligheid: Nieuwe kansen voor de historische taalkunde

Gijsbert Rutten, Rik Vosters

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Languages such as English, German and Dutch have traditionally been described in monolingual histories. Accounts of the history of these languages often focus on their gradual development through time with special attention being paid to the rise of the standard language. The areas in which these languages were used, however, were also home to a wide spectrum of other languages, including regional varieties of the dominant language, immigrant languages and ‘prestigious’ foreign languages such as Latin and French. This means that speech and writing communities in most of these areas have in fact been highly multilingual throughout history (Braunmüller & Ferraresi 2003, Stenroos et al. 2012). These multilingual practices, however, tend to be rendered invisible in monolingual histories, and even regional languages within larger language areas are not always represented, particularly when the developing standard language is prioritized (Hüning et al. 2012, Schrijver 2014, Havinga & Langer 2015). In this contribution, we aim to revisit the place of language contact in historical settings, by focusing on historical multilingualism and multilingual practices in language history.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalTaal en Tongval
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • historical sociolinguistics
  • language contact
  • language planning

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