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Computing and Language VariationInternational Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing Volume 2$
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John Nerbonne and Charlotte Gooskens

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640300

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640300.001.0001

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The Dutch-German Border: Relating Linguistic, Geographic and Social Distances

The Dutch-German Border: Relating Linguistic, Geographic and Social Distances

(p.119) The Dutch-German Border: Relating Linguistic, Geographic and Social Distances
Computing and Language Variation

Folkert De Vriend

Charlotte Giesbers

Roeland Van Hout

Louis Ten Bosch

Edinburgh University Press

The Dutch-German state border south of the river Rhine was established in 1830. Before that time, the administrative borders in this region frequently changed. The Kleverlandish dialect area, which extends from Duisburg in Germany to Nijmegen in The Netherlands, crosses the state border south of the Rhine. This chapter assesses the impact of the Dutch-German state border on the linguistic characteristics of a sub-area of the Kleverlandish dialect area by relating linguistic, geographic and social distances to each other. Three models for explaining today's pattern of linguistic variation in the area are tested. In each model, another variable is used as the determinant of linguistic variation: geographic distance (continuum model), the state border (gap model), and social distance (social model). For the social model, perceptual data for friends, relatives and shopping locations are used. Testing the three models shows that nowadays the dialect variation in the research area is closely related to the existence of the state border and to the social structure of the area. The geographic spatial configuration hardly plays a role anymore.

Keywords:   Dutch-German state border, Kleverlandish dialect area, linguistic variation, geographic distance, social distance, state border, Germany, Netherlands

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