Immigration and koineisation: the formation of early modern Dutch urban vernaculars


Department of German
University of Wisconsin
818 Van Hise
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706


The rapid growth of the urban centers of Holland in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries was entirely attributable to immigration. This paper argues that this rapid urbanization brought speakers of a welter of dialects into extended contact, which in turn resulted in a koineization process similar to that described in modern English “new towns” by Kerswill and Williams (2000). Contemporary letters of the mother and sisters of Constantijn Huygens provide the data for the discussion of phonological and morphological outcomes of this process. The colloquial style of the Huygens sisters Gertruyd and Constantia reflect the importance of the second generation of immigrants to the development of new urban koines.