15 May 2019: Marjo van Koppen (Utrecht), “Negation in the letters of P.C. Hooft: combining literary studies and linguistics”


The vibrant political, religious and cultural atmosphere of the Dutch Golden Age interacted with language. 17th century Dutch was a mixture of fading linguistic properties from the preceding language phase, Middle Dutch, and upcoming new ways to construct words and sentences. These language innovations were partly driven by migration, literary innovations and standardization processes.

Within these language dynamics we observe a type of language variation that has rarely been addressed before: variation within individual language users (intra-author variation). The famous author P.C. Hooft, for instance, uses the Middle Dutch way to express negation as well as a modern alternative. How can we account for this variation, seemingly randomly displayed by authors? This lecture will chart and explain the grammatical properties of this particular instance of intra-author variation, as well as the social- and literary-cultural factors that influenced the way Hooft used this variation in a strategic and/or creative way.


Download the slides here



Marjo van Koppen (PhD 2005) is professor of language variation of Dutch at Utrecht University and senior researcher at the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam.  She is specialized the morpho-syntax of the Dutch dialects and the historical variants of Dutch. She led a NWO VIDI-programma (2011) on  language variation and two NWO Free Competition on language variation in Dutch dialects on variation in nominal phrases (2006-2011, with Norbert Corver), and on variation in possessive constructions (2013-2018, with Johan Rooryck). Currently she is project leader of a NWO Free Competition program on language variation in the Dutch Golden Age (2016-2002, with dr. Feike Dietz).