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Language change in multilingual settings: the case of Dutch urban vernaculars

Dr. Marieke Meelen from the University of Cambridge visits us to speak about language change in multilingual settings.

The talk and abstract is in English, and the event is open for all!

Interested PhD Candidates, post-docs and students are asked to contact Marieke via e-mail ( if they are interested in a meeting during Mariekes stay.



In recent years, immigration to large cities in Europe has increased in both diversity and numbers. Second-generation immigrants generally speak both languages fluently, but in multicultural urban settings, these second generation immigrants and their non-immigrant peers have developed new urban varieties varieties ('multi-ethnolects' or ‘urban vernaculars’) based on the dominant language. The emergence of new speech styles in multilingual communities provides data that can be used to explore cognitive, language-internal mechanisms of change. In this talk, I will share new data from Dutch urban vernaculars, focusing on specific case studies in both the nominal and the clausal domain. I will compare these to known cases in related urban vernaculars and present a formal analysis based on the cross-linguistic results.

In the nominal domain I will zoom in on two changes that have been observed in varieties of Swedish, Norwegian and German as well: bare NPs exhibiting loss of prepositions and/or determiners and the grammaticalisation of the comparative/deictic markers ‘zo, zo’n’. In the clausal domain I will focus on the apparent loss of V2 word order, which has been observed in various other Germanic urban vernaculars, but until recently has not been considered a feature of Dutch urban vernaculars (see Meelen, Mourigh & Cheng forthcoming).

Published May 16, 2018 1:14 PM - Last modified May 16, 2018 1:21 PM