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Open Access The future of dialects and the dialectology of the future : Some considerations, with special attention to the Dutch language area

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The days when dialectology was a quiet island in the (sometimes rough) ocean of modern linguistics seem to be over. Since the so-called social turn and the integration of quantitative methods into the study of urban as well as rural dialects, the barriers between early ‘Labovian’ sociolinguistics and dialectology have gradually been broken down. Of late, the study of dialect variation has become more and more an integral part of mainstream formal theory as ‘micro-variation’. Even more recently, constructivist approaches (such as Usage-based Phonology and Exemplar Theory for phonetics as well as ethnographic perspectives) are entering and enriching the field.

Apart from these various developments, at least in the Old World, the object appears to be changing more and more rapidly, giving rise to the erosion of traditional dialect landscapes and the emergence of supra-local koinai as well as dialect/standard continua.

This paper addresses some of the main aspects of these tendencies. We will discuss questions such as: how can the new types of language variety be studied; can dialectology be enriched with other than the traditional data and methods; how far-reaching is the innovative impact of the various disciplinary, inter-subdisciplinary and inter-disciplinary cross-fertilisations?

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Keywords: constructivist approaches; dialect/standard continua; digitalisation; experimental data; formal theory; historical dialectology of urban areas; hyperdialectism; koinai; life cycle of sound change; lifestyle; pluralism; pluri-centricity vs. pluri-areality; social turn; stability of intermediate varieties

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • Taal en Tongval is een wetenschappelijk tijdschrift over taalvariatie in Nederland en Vlaanderen, waarin ook aandacht wordt geschonken aan naburige taalgebieden en aan het Nederlands verwante talen. Alle vormen van variatie kunnen worden besproken zoals geografische, sociale, etnische, stilistische en diachrone variatie. Verder mogen daarbij ook alle aspecten van de menselijke taal aan de orde komen. Het blad staat zowel open voor empirisch werk als voor studies die een verbinding leggen tussen taalvariatie en theoretische taalkunde.

    Taal en Tongval publiceert bijdragen in het Nederlands, Engels, en Duits. In bepaalde gevallen kunnen ook artikelen in andere talen in overweging genomen worden, zoals Fries, Afrikaans en Frans.

    Taal en Tongval. Language Variation in the Low Countries is a journal devoted to the scientific study of language variation in the Netherlands and Flanders, in neighbouring areas and in languages related to Dutch. All types of variation are covered, including but not restricted to geographical, social, ethnic, stylistic and diachronic variation. Articles may deal with all aspects of human language. The journal welcomes both empirical work as studies linking language variation to developments in theoretical linguistics.

    Taal en Tongval welcomes contributions in Dutch, English and German. In certain cases we also consider articles in other languages, including Frisian, Afrikaans, and French.

    The journal is published in Open Access, with the following Creative Commons copyright license: Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

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