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Welcome to this self-study pack on the standardisation of the Dutch language.

This pack is aimed at students with only a very basic knowledge of Dutch. Obviously, the examples used to illustrate certain language changes are in Dutch, but English translations have been provided throughout. All the explanatory material and background information is given in English.

The study pack contains a general introduction to the concept of a standard language.

This section is a good starting-point as the ideas and issues it deals with will also be applicable to your own native language. You can then read more about the Dutch language area as a whole.

The historical overview outlines the main developments of Dutch, starting around 1000 AD and leading up to the present day.

These linguistic developments are put in their proper socio-historical and cultural context.

A set of questions will help you to assimilate the information presented. You can check your answers and look for additional information and background material by following the suggested hyperlinks.


There are also a number of audio files which will allow you to compare the pronunciation of the same piece of text by speakers coming from different regions in the Dutch-speaking language area.
This will help you to appreciate the variation that exists within this area.

After working through this self-study pack, you should have a clearer understanding of the different factors that can 'shape' a standard language. You should also have a better idea of the specific changes that took place in Dutch and of the sociological, cultural, and historical events that caused many of these changes to take place.

Click (>link) to learn more about the general features of a standard language.


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