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Lecture | LUCL Colloquium - Lunch Series '23/'24

The influence of English on Belgian Dutch: Studying the suspects, Addressing the allegations

Thursday 18 April 2024
LUCL Colloquium - Lunch Series '23/'24
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 1-4
2311 BZ Leiden
Building 4, room 0.08A


Reactions to the global reach of the English language and its ensuing interaction with other languages vary significantly and can often be related to the sociolinguistic history of a region. The Low Countries are a case in point, with the historical background of Dutch in Flanders and the Netherlands resulting in quite different relationships with and policies towards the use of English in both regions. After briefly showcasing this drawing on the debate on the position of English in higher education, this talk will zoom in more explicitly on the impact of English on Belgian Dutch through lexical borrowing.

In particular, I will introduce several methodological principles to follow when addressing the allegations and studying the usual suspects prevalent in the societal debate on the position of English in Belgian Dutch. By combining observational and experimental studies that follow these principles to tackle the production, perception as well as the evaluation of English loanwords, I specifically aim to arrive at a comprehensive insight on the extent to which Belgian Dutch is ‘Englishized’, and also to discuss whether adolescence is effectively a hotspot of this Englishization, and what this entails.

To conclude, I will elaborate on the implications of our findings for the Belgian-Dutch contact setting in particular and for the study of contact-induced lexical variation in general.


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