Vertical structure and dynamics of spoken Dutch in Flanders. An empirical study in Ieper, Gent and Antwerpen

Verticale structuur en dynamiek van het gesproken Nederlands in Vlaanderen. Een empirische studie in Ieper, Gent en Antwerpen
Start - End 
2010 - 2016 (ongoing)



The Belgian Dutch language is characterized by an impressive amount of variation. Not only the wide array of dialect variants accounts for this, but also the variation within the substandard and standard language. All those features make up one language repertoire, which in the recent literature is described as diaglossic (Auer 2005), meaning that the linguistic landscape is characterized by dialects, standard language and a continuum of intermediate forms in between (the so-called tussentaal or Soapvlaams). The purpose of my PhD-research (supervisors: prof. dr. Jacques Van Keymeulen and prof. dr. Gunther De Vogelaer) is to study the structure of that repertoire and its dynamics. Concerning structure, the main question is how the language repertoire in Flanders is internally structured. Can varieties for instance be distinguished within diaglossic repertoires? Concerning dynamics, the goal is to study whether any changes can be observed in present-day repertoire structures. In the past decades, changes have been reported in both dialect (Ghyselen and Van Keymeulen 2014) and standard language (Grondelaers and Van Hout 2011). My research aims at studying which changes can be observed in Flanders and which mechanisms are steering these changes. To answer the described research questions, I am studying the language use of 30 highly educated women (half born between 1981 and 1986, and half born between 1955 and 1961) living in three Flemish cities: Ieper, Antwerp and Ghent. The selected informants are observed in five settings which differ in formality and regional character. By means of quantitative variable analyses I hope to provide you with answers to my research questions by the end of my research project (2010-2016).



Phd Student(s)


Gunther De Vogelaer