Populatie en de verspreiding van taalverandering

  • Julie Nijs


The morphosyntactic structure of languages largely depends on the demographic structure of the speech community. Larger languages in high-contact communities tend to be morphologically less complex. Complex morphology is harder to acquire for adults, so morphology tends to become simpler with the increasing proportion of L2 speakers. Differences in morphosyntactic complexity are the result of diachronic processes, so the propagation of these processes should occur more rapidly in cities with a larger population, since the growth of cities is often due to immigration, yielding an influx of L2 learners. This hypothesis is tested on two alternations in the recent history of Dutch: the deflection of veel and the hortative alternation. For both changes I build a logistic regression model with the change as the dependent variable and time as the independent variable in interaction with the population size. The results for the hortative alternation indicate that language change is indeed faster in larger cities compared to smaller towns. However, the deflection of veel does not confirm this.

How to Cite:

Nijs, J., (2024) “Populatie en de verspreiding van taalverandering”, Handelingen - Koninklijke Zuid-Nederlandse maatschappij voor taal- en letterkunde en geschiedenis 76, 85–96. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 2024