Friday, November 9, 2018

Blog no. 50 - Printing Dutch books in Norwich

A blue plaque commemorating Solempne in Norwich

To celebrate reaching the 50th post in this blog and 5,000 page views, I can think of no more appropriate subject than Anthony de Solempne (spelt variously), who for several years ran a printing press in my hometown of Norwich. Solempne was from Brabant in the South Netherlands and arrived in Norwich in 1567 along with his family. It is perhaps more appropriate to call Solempne a printer/publisher, for it is likely that he was assisted by a typesetter Albert Christaensz from Holland. Between 1568 and 1570 Solempne ran his printing press at the sign of the Dove near to the church of St. John Maddermarket in Norwich. For several reasons it is not certain precisely how many books rolled off his press. At this time, books were often given false publishing details if they were of a sensitive, e.g. religious or scabrous nature. However, it is generally agreed that he printed at least five and possibly eight Dutch books. Among these are an edition of the psalm settings composed by Petrus Dathenus, a catechism and a confession of faith. These books would be used in the Dutch church in Norwich, which had several thousand members at this point. 
One Dutch book about which there has been less agreement is the first edition of Historie van B. Cornelis Adriaensen van Dordrecht, a satire on the misdeeds of a Friar Minor in Brugge. However, the late Karel Bostoen did a brilliant job in analyzing where the book might have been printed and came to the conclusion that although it was written in the Low Countries, it was printed in Norwich due to its scabrous anti-clerical content. 
There were four booksellers in the Dutch community in Norwich and at least one bookbinder, so there must have a thriving book trade in Norwich at this time. The question arises as to whether Solempne in fact had a licence to print. Printing was tightly controlled in this period and in general restricted to London and the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge, so one is left to wonder if Solempne ran his printing press without the knowledge, or perhaps simply without the permission, of the authorities. We also do not know why he stopped printing in 1570. Perhaps there was no longer demand for his books. What we do know is that Solempne continued to operate in Norwich as a wine merchant. The books that he printed continued to be used for many years and add another chapter to the story of Dutch in England.

Further reading: 
Christopher Joby, The Dutch Language in Britain (1550-1702). Leiden, Brill, 2015
Karel Bostoen, 'Waar kwam de Historie van B. Cornelis (1569) van de pers? Het spoor terug naar de plaats van uitgave, boekverkoper en boekdrukker'. Handelingen van het Genootschap voor Geschiedenis 'Societe d'Emulation' te Brugge, 151, pp. 65-111.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Norwich Dutch - apocope - or the loss of a word-final vowel

The cloth hall (Lakenhal) in Ieper (Ypres), West Flanders

This and the following post will bring us to 50 posts and some 5000 page views for this blog, which I began to write in April 2018. To mark this, I return to the story of Dutch in my home town, Norwich. In previous blogs, I have discussed results from the analysis of the Norwich Ieper corpus, a set of letters written from Norwich by Flemish immigrants in the late 1560s. This post analyses apocope, the process whereby a suffix gradually weakens and eventually disappears from the end of a word. In Middle Dutch this process predominantly took place in two categories of word: the first person singular present indicative of the verb, for example ik neme (‘I take’) became ik neem after apocope; and feminine substantives, e.g., tonge (‘tongue’) became tong.

This post looks specifically at apocope, or more specifically schwa-apocope, for the first person singular present indicative. It divides this into two categories, those cases where there was inversion and those where there was no inversion. In cases of inversion where ic (‘I’) can be used as a clitic pronoun, the verb was already typically apocopated in Middle Dutch.  By contrast, where there was no inversion, the process of apocope occurred in varieties of Dutch at different times. For example, it was already underway in Hollands in the fourteenth century. However, in the Flemish dialect there is rather less evidence of apocope and in some cases the weak suffix remains in use to the present day. Marynissen draws similar conclusions about the diachronic regional variation for schwa-apocope, although her focus is more on apocope in nouns than verbs. She argues that apocope arose as a result of a tendency to avoid two unstressed syllables in favour of a trochaic pattern of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. For example, Middle Dutch camere (‘room’) shifted to camer.

In the Norwich Ieper corpus there are 127 tokens of the first person singular present indicative; 112 without inversion and fifteen with it. Of the 112 tokens without inversion, 65 (58%) do not demonstrate apocope. Of the remaining 47 tokens, 19 are modal verbs (wil, zal, moet, mach and vermach), and 28 other tokens do not exhibit a suffix, including 9 of the first person singular present indicative of the verb zijn (‘to be’) (although ic zal is a future marker, formally and syntactically it acts as a modal). If we remove modals and forms of zijn, 75% of first person singular present indicative verbs without inversion exhibit no apocope. So, we can conclude that there was a clear preference for no apocope among the authors of the Norwich Ieper corpus. This provides further evidence of the persistence of the lack of apocope in the first person singular present indicative in sixteenth-century varieties of Flemish.

As for the fifteen cases where there is inversion, four exhibit apocope: hebbick (letter 5); latic and hopic (28); and dinckick (44). The other eleven cases exhibit no apocope, e.g., gheve ick (letter 1), laete ick (45) and bidde ick (62). More evidence is required before any conclusions can be drawn about these cases.


A. Marynissen: ‘Taalverandering tussen evolutie en normering: De e-apocope als breuklijn tussen het Nederlands en het Duits’, Nederlandse Taalkunde 14(1) (2009). p. 233-254.

C.M. van Kerckvoorde: An Introduction to Middle Dutch. Berlin, 1993.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Dutch and Hungarian

The Golden Coach (De Gouden Koets) on Prinsjesdag in September

There has been relatively little contact historically between Netherlands and Hungary, which may explain why there are relatively few Dutch loanwords in Hungarian (about 50) and only a handful of Hungarian loanwords in Dutch. The area where speakers of Hungarian are concentrated, i.e. modern day Hungary and parts of surrounding countries such as Romania, are some distance from the sea and so Hungarian has not incorporated some of the seafaring loanwords that many other languages have adopted. A couple of exceptions are jacht and matróz. Jacht ('Yacht') comes from the Dutch jachtboot. Hungarian also has jachtozó for yachtsman. Matróz comes from the Dutch matroos, sailor, possibly via another language. It forms many hybrid words in Hungarian such as matrózdal, a sea shanty (dal is Hungarian for song).
Nicoline van der Sijs notes that in the Middle Ages a sort of fabric called genti in Hungarian took its name from the town of Ghent in Flanders. In the wake of the Reformation, there was significant contact between Dutch and Hungarian Protestants. A Hungarian bible compiled by a team led by Gáspár Karolyi was printed in Amsterdam in 1590. Religious words such as Mennonita have been adopted by Hungarian. This comes from the Dutch Mennoniet, derived from the name of the leader of the Mennonites (a branch of Anabaptists), Menno Simonsz (1496-1561) from Friesland.
As for Hungarian words in Dutch, there are at least four. One of these, which has become an international loanword is koets ('coach'). This comes from the Hungarian word kosci, which derives from Kocs, the name of the village where the coach park for the Austro-Hungarian Emperor was situated. Another notable Hungarian loanword, again an international loanword is goulash. The authorative Dutch Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal tells us that this comes from the Hungarian gulyás, which is an abbreviation of gulyás hús `meat of the cattle herd'. This entered Dutch in the mid-19th century. A third example is paprika, from the Hungarian paprika, which was loaned from Serbo-Croat. A fourth example is huzaar (Eng. hussar) from the Hungarian huszár, referring to light cavalrymen. This was already in Dutch texts in the sixteenth century. All four words, koets, goulash (previously also spelt goulasch and goelasj), paprika and huzaar form hybrid words in Dutch. Koets forms over 20 hybrid words such as koetshuis (coach house) and koetspaard (coach horse) while 'uit de koets vallen' means 'to come down to earth with a bump'. In the Van Dale dictionary there is an entry for goulashcommunisme, which it defines as 'egoistic materialism'. Paprikapoeder and paprikasaus (powder and sauce) are two hybrid words in Dutch using paprika. Finally, there are several hybrids beginning with huzaar, such as huzarensalade, a salad with cold meat.

Further reading: Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. The Hague: SDU, 2010.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Code switching in the Dutch East Indies

Batavia City Hall, now in the Old Town (Kota Tua) of Jakarta

When speakers of one language encounter those of another, they often insert words of the other language into their own. This is called code switching. They may do this for a number of reasons. One of these is that they lack a word to describe a new thing or idea they encounter or because the new language has more prestige than their own. When the Dutch began trading with people in East Asia, they encountered many new things, such as goods, types of ship, coins and units of measure, to name but a few. The Dutch were prodigious record keepers, noting down almost everything that happened at their trading posts on Java, in Taiwan, on Kyushu, Japan and elsewhere in dagregisters, or factory journals. These facts mean that the Dutch language in these journals is full of code switching. A recent project on the factory journals kept at Batavia, the centre of Dutch trading activities in the East Indies, gives a sense of the number of non-Dutch words inserted into the Dutch texts.
In one or two cases, the words are of Portuguese origin, such as pancado, a fixed price for raw silk. There are also Arabic and Persian words. The Arabic coin کبير (from the Arabic for 'big') and Persian gīlān ( گيلان ), a type of silk, are two examples, reminding us that the Dutch trading network spread to the Middle East. From the Indonesian archipelago we find words such as the Malay gantang, a unit of weight, and the Javanese demang, a district chief.
Several forms of Chinese are used in Dutch texts. The Mandarin huáng chuán (艎舡), a type of large boat, is often given in a Malay form, wankang. Cantonese is represented with sum, a type of ginseng and Hokkein with the word for 'tea'  (茶), which has given rise to most European words for tea, with a couple of exceptions such as Portuguese chá (from Mandarin) and Polish herbata. Japanese coins such as the ichibu () are mentioned in the Dutch records and Hindi words such as kāch (काछ), a type of cloth are also used in cases of code switching.
Clearly, these texts are still Dutch, although the vocabulary is very different from that being used in the Low Countries. We might call this form of Dutch used in East Asia a regiolect, or thalassolect (sea language) or perhaps emporiolect (a trading language). However, whatever we call it, what the above underlines is the diversity of the history of Dutch. In this regard, it may be better to talk, along with Peter Burke, of Dutches than one Dutch language.

Further reading:

Lohanda, Mona, et al., VOC Glossary Indonesia, Published Version 1.0 on February, 6th 2018.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Gazette van Detroit and Emigrant Dutch

Printing is an important means by which migrant communities can keep their language alive. In sixteenth-century Norwich, the Brabander Anthonie de Solempne operated a press for several years, printing psalters and liturgical books for use in the Dutch language church. Solempne will be the subject of a future post on this blog.
Printing also played a role in supporting the use of Dutch among the tens of thousands of Dutch and Flemish who emigrated to the United States and Canada in the nineteenth century for religious and economic reasons. Roland Willemyns records that the first Dutch-language newspaper begun by the immigrants was the Sheboygan Nieuwsbode in 1849. By the outbreak of WWI in 1914 there were 25 Dutch-language newspapers and periodicals in the United States. In that year the Gazette van Detroit was founded as a Dutch-language newspaper for Flemish car workers in Michigan. Over time, as migrants shifted towards English, it became bilingual and went from being a daily to appearing twice weekly. Circulation numbers dwindled, but in 2006, funding from the Flemish government gave it a new breath of life online, using subscriptions as a source of income. However, by 2018, with subscriptions low and perhaps as well a reduction in readers who knew Dutch, the Gazette van Detroit has had to call it a day.
To judge from posts in Facebook groups such as 'Dutch Culture and Traditions', the descendants of emigrants still hold to some of the customs of the Low Countries. As to whether they keep alive the language in Michigan, or in other parts of the world to which Dutch and Flemish have migrated, this is one of the questions that the new Citizen Science project, 'Vertrokken Nederlands - Emigrant Dutch' hopes to answer. According to one scholar, migrants and their descendants continue to use the emigrant language for 6-8 generations, although this depends on factors such as the relative isolation of the migrant community and the dominant language in their adopted country. Whether the Dutch and Flemish are any different to other groups of migrants in this regard is a question that this project hopes to answer. 

Further reading and web resources:

Roland Willemyns, Dutch: Biography of a Language. Oxford: OUP, 2013, pp. 206-209.
Facebook group: 'Vertrokken Nederlands - Emigrant Dutch'

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The influence of Dutch on Japanese grammar

Mt Fuji, which Dutch merchants would see on their journeys to Edo (Tokyo)

When one language comes into contact with another language, a number of things may happen. In some cases, pidgins emerge which subsequently become creoles. Some scholars have argued that Afrikaans was originally a creole that emerged from contact between Dutch and other languages, although more recently it has been suggested that Afrikaans is a creoloid, i.e. a language that resembles a creole, but did was not at first a pidgin. 
In other cases, several of which have been discussed in this blog, the languages borrow or loan words from each other. Many languages have Dutch loanwords, some of which such as schipper and baas have become internationalized loanwords, often adopted in their Anglicized forms, ‘skipper’ and ‘boss’. In a smaller number of cases, though, one language may influence the syntax of another language as a result of contact. It has been suggested, for example, that contact with Dutch spoken by migrants in Norwich in the sixteenth and seventeenth century led to a simplification of the local English dialectal present tense verb conjugation, which runs ‘I go’, ‘you go’, ‘he go’. However, archival evidence has cast doubt on this claim.
More promising is the influence of Dutch on Japanese syntax. This occurred mainly through the translation of over a thousand books from Dutch to Japanese in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Japanese and Dutch syntax are very different from each other, and Japanese translators occasionally found that their language lacked the grammar necessary to render adequately the Dutch source texts into Japanese. One example of a syntactic feature that arose in this way is the relative pronoun tokoro no (ところの). Old Japanese lacked relative pronouns (which, who etc.), so in order to translate relative pronouns in Dutch, translators borrowed tokoro no from kanbun, a form of classical Chinese used in Japan. Initially, it was only used as a direct object in relative clauses, but by the early nineteenth century it was also being used as the subject of relative clauses. For example from 1815, we find the following Japanese sentence translated from Dutch, where tokoro no (which) is the subject of the relative clause:

Kore    o          setsumei  suru  tokoro no bunpō      o    iu nari
                        This (DO)        explains           which     grammar (DO) refers to
                      “It refers to the grammar which explains this.”

Until the end of the Tokugawa period, the use of tokoro no was mainly limited to translations. However, thereafter (post-1868), it was used more broadly in Japanese speech and writing. I will discuss other influences of Dutch on Japanese syntax in later blogs.

Further reading:

Fumiko Earns, (1993) Language Adaptation: European language influence on Japanese syntax. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI.
Christopher Joby, (2016), 'Recording the History of Dutch in Japan,' Dutch Crossing 40(3), pp. 219-238.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Dutch and Polish

The Old Arsenal, Gdansk (reconstructed after WWII)

There has long been contact between the Low Countries and the area now within the boundaries of the Republic of Poland (Polish: Rzeczpospolita Polska). Gdańsk, or Danzig, was a Hanseatic port and so there was much commercial traffic between it and the Netherlands in the Late Middle Ages. One possibility is that several loanwords related to commerce, such as handel (trade) and kraan (crane) entered Polish at this time, although this is not certain. From handel we get other Polish words such as handlowy (commercial) and handlować (to trade).
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, people from the Low Countries, in particular Mennonites, migrated to the area around Gdańsk and the marshy areas along the River Vistula (Wisła in Polish). Nowadays, 54 settlements have ‘holender’ or a variant thereof in their toponyms, a number which was much larger in the past. It is also reckoned that more than 4000 Poles have the surname, ‘Olender’. In Gdańsk itself, there was a Dutch community in the early modern period where a Reformed church community met for worship. Dutch technical skills were in demand. For example, Abraham van den Blocke, who was of Dutch descent, designed the imposing Golden Gate (Polish: Złota Brama) in the city centre. Along with Van den Blocke and a Polish architect, the Fleming Anthonis van Obbergen designed the city's Old Arsenal.
It is reckoned that there are at least 370 Dutch loanwords in Polish. However, some of these may derive from varieties of Low German (Nedersaksisch), spoken from the West of the Low Countries as far as present-day Western Poland, and used as a lingua franca in the Hanseatic League. Many of the Dutch loanwords in Polish, loaned directly or indirectly, relate to seafaring. These include harpun (harpoon), kielwater (ship’s wake), maszt (mast), szyper (skipper) and kooi (hammock). However, this is not the whole story. Other loan words not related to seafaring include lakmus (litmus) from the Dutch lakmoes and makler (broker) from the Dutch makelaar. In truth, however, it seems that although both Dutch and Polish are significant European languages, there is more work to be done on Dutch loanwords in Polish.

Further reading:

Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. The Hague: SDU Uitgevers, 2010.
Barbara Czopek-Kopciuch, ‘Holendry and holender; the influence of Dutch immigrants on the Polish lexicon’. Lecture given on June 9th 2009 at the Meertens Instituut in Amsterdam. 
Additional material: Janek Urbaniak.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Negation in Norwich Dutch

St. Peter Mancroft, Norwich, which houses a wonderful Easter 
tapestry by Flemish weavers
Last month, I wrote a post about forms of address in Norwich Dutch (Norwichs Nederlands or Norwichs Vlaams). There I concluded we could tentatively talk of a Tu/Vos distinction in early modern Norwichs Nederlands. The dominant subject form of address in the letters written from Norwich to friends and family in Ieper in West Flanders (the Norwich Ieper corpus) was ghij. In this post, I return to those letters and discuss another linguistic feature that occurs quite frequently, namely negation in finite verb phrases.

In Old Dutch there was typically single negation, with the particles ne or en. This form of negation continued to be used in Middle Dutch in certain situations. However, by then negation was typically expressed by what some scholars refer to as ‘bipartite negation’, i.e., a two-part construction consisting of the negative particle ne or en before the finite verb and the negative adverb niet, e.g., ik en zie niet (‘I do not see’). In this construction niet is sometimes replaced by other words connoting the negative such as nooit (‘never’) and the article geen (‘not’/‘no’).

In Late Middle Dutch texts there is limited evidence for the use of niet, geen etc. on their own, e.g., Is Priamus niet dijn vader? (‘Is Priam not your father?’). In New Dutch (16th C. to present) this form gradually became more widespread until it emerged as the standard form of negation, although the shift towards the use of niet, geen etc. on their own happened at different times in the various parts of the Dutch language area. The Brieven als Buit (‘Letters as Loot’) project found that by the seventeenth century, bipartite negation was used in about half of all cases of negation in Zeeland and South Holland, whereas in North Holland it was only found in about a quarter of cases. However, in Amsterdam bipartite negation was used more frequently than elsewhere in North Holland. One possible reason for this is that there were many immigrants in the city from the Southern Netherlands, including Flanders, where bipartite negation continued to be used more often.

Of the 89 occurrences of negation in the Norwich Ieper corpus 76 (85%) involve bipartite negation. For example, in one letter (56) we read zoodat ic niet en vinde (‘so that I do not find’) and ghy ne soudt nemmermeer peinsen (‘you would nevermore think’). The other 13 tokens exhibit single negation, all using niet, geen etc. on their own. One construction that occurs on several occasions is ‘wilt niet + infinitive’ for the negative imperative, e.g., Wilt niet vergeten (‘Do not forget’) (16). This is probably a function of the fact that imperatives lost the second negation particle earlier than other constructions.

From this evidence we can tentatively conclude that bipartite negation was the dominant form of negation among Norwich Dutch authors at this time. As these were personal letters, we might also tentatively conclude that it was a form frequently heard on the streets of early modern Norwich. This result is in line with other studies which found that bipartite negation persisted longer in the Southern Netherlands than in the Northern Netherlands. However, as there are few surviving collections of personal letters written in West Flemish from this period, it is, I would suggest, a useful addition to existing scholarship on this subject.

Further reading:

J. van der Horst: Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse syntaxis. Leuven, 2008.

C.M. van Kerckvoorde, An Introduction to Middle Dutch. Berlin, 1993, esp. p. 97.

J.A. van Leuvensteijn et al. ‘Vroegnieuwnederlands’. In: M.C. van den Toorn et al. (ed.), Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse Taal. Amsterdam, 1997, p, 334.

J. Nobels, (Extra)Ordinary letters: A view from below on seventeenth-century Dutch. Utrecht, 2013

Friday, October 12, 2018

Dutch loanwords in Italian and vice versa

The Arnolfini Wedding (detail), The National Gallery, London

Contacts between the people of the Italian peninsula and the Low Countries go back thousands of years. The Romans occupied much of the Low Countries. The name of Utrecht, partially derived from a Latin word, Traiectum, is witness to this. In the Middle Ages, there were extensive trading contacts between Italy and the Low Countries. Dante refers to 'Quali Fiamminghi tra Guizzante e Bruggia' ('Those Flemings between Ghent and Bruges') in Inferno Canto XV in his Divina Commedia and a century later Jan van Eyck would immortalize Giovanni Arnolfini, a banker from Lucca, and his bride, in a painting that now hangs in London. It is often thought that it was primarily Italian art that influenced Netherlandish art at this time. While this is true, Paula Nuttall has persuasively argued that the influence also went the other way. Such artistic exchange is a good example of bilateral cultural transfer.
But what of language? Of course, many musical terms such as belcanto and aria have entered Dutch as well as other categories often associated with Italy such food and finance. The Dutch word 'bank' for the financial institution derives from the Italian banco.
As for the Dutch influence on Italian, this is perhaps harder to trace. One example from the sixteenth century is beurs. This was the name of the place in Bruges where merchants and bankers came to trade. The Florentine Lodovico Guicciardini suggested it was named after the Van der Beurze family, whose emblem was three money bags (beurzen). The association between beurs and financial exchanges has continued in other languages, including Italian (la borsa). 
Nicoline van der Sijs calculates that there are some 150 Dutch loanwords in Italian, although many are what she describes as 'internationalisms' i.e., Dutch words that have become common in many languages. Some have entered Dutch via Afrikaans such as apartheid. Others, though, have entered Italian via English. In the Italian sentence il boss vede lo skipper dello yacht ('the boss sees the skipper of the yacht') we find three English loanwords that are in turn Dutch loanwords in English (baas, schipper and jacht(schip)). This is a good example of what one might call 'the circulation of loanwords' and specifically of how Dutch has often exerted influence indirectly on the lexis of many other languages.

Further reading:
Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd, The Hague, SDU Uitgevers, 2010
Paula Nuttall, From Flanders to Florence: The Impact of Netherlandish Painting, 1400-1500, 2004.
Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Colchester, oysters ... and the Dutch language

Colchester in the county of Essex is said to be Britain’s oldest permanently inhabited town and for a time was the capital of Roman Britain. Less well known is the place of a Dutch community and the Dutch language in the town’s history. Colchester lies on the River Colne and is a fairly short boat-trip away from the Low Countries. Flemish weavers had been in the town since the fourteenth century, but their numbers increased significantly from the 1560s as a result of religious and economic problems in the Netherlands. By 1586 there were well over 1,000 Flemish and Dutch in Colchester. Indeed, they were so numerous that some moved to nearby Halstead, where there was a Flemish weaving community for thirteen years. In Colchester, wills, letters and other documents were written in Dutch and a Dutch-language church was established, which functioned for over 150 years. Perhaps its most notable minister was Jonas Proost (b. 1572), who was born in the Dutch/Flemish community in London. Proost was a minister for over 40 years and wrote much poetry including Dutch sonnets. However, perhaps the most well-known Dutch poem written in Colchester was penned by the merchant, Jan Six van Chandelier (1620-1635). On a visit to England, he passed through Colchester and enjoyed eating the local oysters. This inspired him to write Oesters te Kolchester ('Oysters at Colchester'):

O! oestertjen, met groene baardjes,
O! blanke bolle, en volle beet
Betaal myn snoeplust vry, met schaartjes,
Aan ‘t mes, ter schulpknops breuk, gesmeedt…

[Oh! Green-bearded little oyster,
Oh! Pale ball and full bite,
Freely repay my craving, with notches
On my knife, forged to break you shell…]

One person born in the Flemish community in Colchester who returned to the Low Countries was the grammarian, Petrus Leupenius (1607-1670). He was the author of Aanmerkingen op de Neerderduitsche taale (‘Observations on the Dutch language’). In 1728/9 with numbers in the community falling, the doors of the Bay Hall were closed and the Dutch church ceased to function. In memory of the Flemish/Dutch presence in Colchester, an area of the town is called the Dutch Quarter. One possible loanword in the Essex dialect, is ‘dwoile/dwile’ from the Dutch dweil (cloth or rag).

Further reading: Christopher Joby, The Dutch Language in Britain (1550-1702). Leiden, Brill, 2015.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Dutch loanwords in Chinese

Although the Dutch East India Company (VOC) had many successes in the seventeenth century, the prize of a foothold in mainland China eluded it. An attempt to take Macau in 1622 was unsuccessful. The VOC subsequently built a trading colony in Taiwan between 1624 and 1662, but was eventually ejected from the island by the Ming-loyalist, Koxinga. An embassy to Beijing did not manage to obtain the trading rights the VOC had hoped for and attempts to establish a trading post in the port of Fuzhou achieved little. In the eighteenth century, the VOC managed to trade with China through Kanton (Guangzhou), exporting tea and porcelain and importing spices from the East Indies. Despite this, direct contact with China had little effect on varieties of Chinese. It was in fact primarily through its long contact with Japanese that most Dutch loanwords were adopted by standard Chinese. One way in which these loanwords were incorporated into Chinese was on the basis of sound. For example, the Dutch word gas (gas) was adopted by Japanese as gasu (in katakana ガス and hiragana がす). It can also be rendered in Japanese characters (kanji), based not on meaning, but on sound (瓦斯). It was in this form that it was adopted by Chinese, where 瓦斯 is pronounced wǎsī.

Another way in which the Chinese lexis was influenced by Dutch via Japanese was through loan translations. For example, the Dutch word for the appendix in the stomach is blindedarm, which literally means ‘blind intestine’. This was adopted by Japanese as 盲腸 (mōchō), which also literally means ‘blind intestine’. Chinese uses the same kanji (hànzì in Chinese) but pronounces them mángcháng, again literally ‘blind intenstine’. As one might expect, ‘appendicitis’ is also derived from this loan translation 盲腸炎 (mángchángyán).Finally, Korean adopted this loan translation as maengjang (맹장). Clearly the sound of these forms is completely different from the Dutch, but these and similar examples provide yet more evidence that the Dutch language has influenced many other languages in a variety of ways.

Further reading:

Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. The Hague: SDU, 2010. Kanton, Fuzhou

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Dutch community in Edinburgh

St. Giles Cathedral, or the High Kirk in Edinburgh 

It is perhaps unsurprising that there was a Dutch/Flemish community in early modern Edinburgh. Lowland Scotland was primarily for the Reformation, with a church similar in theology to the Dutch Reformed church. The city lies on the other side of the North Sea from the Low Countries (well, a little to the north) and there were plenty of trading connections between Scotland and the Low Countries in the Middle Ages. The Dutch/Flemish community in Edinburgh included textile workers. Indentures were made in Dutch between local employers and weavers for the Low Countries. The Dutch artist Adrian Vanson worked at the court of James VI and his wife, Susanna de Colone, traded in Edinburgh on her own account. 
In 1587 an Act of Parliament was passed to allow 'Flemings […] to have a kirk and minister of their own'. This is suggestive of a Dutch-language church although to date I have found no firm evidence of this. In 1630, the Burgh records indicate that a Dutch schoolmaster was appointed: 'David Phorbous, Dutche scoolemaister for teaching the Dutch language within the Burgh'. Dutch diplomats such as Hadrianus Damman, came to the Scottish court and Dutch and Flemish merchants and sailors came to Edinburgh and the nearby port of Leith. Any linguistic influence of Dutch on Scots is not easy to evaluate given their common roots -for example the Scots 'kirk' is cognate with the Dutch 'kerk' for church. One suggestion for Edinburgh is that the unpopular town guard, the Toun Rats, take their name from the Dutch 'rot(e)' meaning a file of soldiers. Flemish weavers introduced dolls known as 'Flanders Babies', a type of chest,  'the Flanders kist' and mirrors called 'keeking glasses' (kijken = 'to look' in Dutch).  

Further reading: 

Christopher Joby, The Dutch Language in Britain (1550-1702). Leiden: Brill, 2015, esp. Chapter 7.
Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, 'rot'.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Dutch in the Spice Islands


The Indonesian archipelago has a rich diversity of languages. Several varieties of Malay are spoken in the area including the official language of Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia, and Manado Malay, the subject of an earlier blog, spoken in Northern Sulawesi. Another variety is Ambon Malay, a Malay creole spoken on Ambon and surrounding islands collectively known as Maluku (the Moluccas) or the Spice Islands. Arab traders and Muslim missionaries brought Malay to the islands in the fourteenth century. In the early sixteenth century, the Portuguese arrived bringing their language and Catholic religion with them. By the time that the Dutch arrived at the turn of the seventeenth century, there were two languages of wider communication in the islands, Malay and Portuguese. After ejecting the Portuguese in 1605 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a base at Ambon. They made two attempts to introduce their language to the local people. In 1607 they established a school and taught in Malay and Dutch. However, by 1615 it was clear that these attempts were making little headway, in part because local people found Dutch a difficult language. Another attempt to introduce Dutch was made in the 1620s, using Malay as the medium of instruction. However, these efforts too eventually foundered and in 1665 the VOC decided it would no longer promote the use of Dutch among the inhabitants of Maluku. Another reason why Dutch was not adopted by local people was that although the Dutch had managed to dislodge Portuguese as an LWC, they could not or did not do so with the other pre-existing LWC, Malay. Despite this, as Nicoline van der Sijs has written, as a result of the continued presence of the Dutch in the area, there are some 570 Dutch loanwords in Ambon Malay. Among these are ambtenaar (official), belasting (tax) and jaloers (jealous). Other varieties of Malay spoken in Maluku such as Ternate Malay and Bahasa Indonesia also have plenty of Dutch loanwords.

Further reading: Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd. The Hague: SDU, 2010, pp. 47-48.
Kees Groeneboer, ‘The Dutch Language in Maluku’, Cakalele, Maluku Research Journal Majalah Penelitian Maluku, 5 (1994), pp. 1-10. 
François Valentijn, Omstandig Verhaal van de Geschiedenissen en Zaaken het kerkelyke ofte den Godsdienst betreffende, zoo in Amboina, als in alle de Eylanden […] (Amsterdam: Joannes van Braam, 1726), pp. 2-44.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Forms of address in Norwich Dutch (of Norwichs Vlaams)

So far this blog has often discussed Dutch as a contact language and Dutch loanwords borrowed by other languages as a result of this contact. However, this post looks at forms of address, which in English are typically 'you'. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of Dutch or nederduytsch speakers left the Low Countries for religious and or economic reasons. Some settled in England, including my hometown Norwich. I am working on a project looking at Dutch as an emigrant language in Norwich. One source for this is a series of letters written by Dutch-speakers, mainly from West Flanders, to friends and relatives who remained in the Low Countries. These tend to be fairly informal in nature and the language probably comes quite close to the Dutch/Flemish that would have been heard on the streets of early modern Norwich. It should be noted that they only survive in transcription, so we must use the results from them with caution. 
Another source for 'Norwich Dutch' is correspondence written by leaders of the Dutch church in Norwich to leaders of Dutch churches elsewhere in England, above all in London. I have compared the forms of address in each set of letters and the results are quite unequivocal. The dominant subject form of address is the g-form, ghy (or variant spellings). This is to be expected as this was the dominant form in Flanders at this time. Perhaps less expected is the total absence of the older pronoun du (cf. German Du), which still persisted in Flanders in the sixteenth century, although it was in recession. As for the church letters, the dominant form there is ulieden or u.l (the u-form). The result for these two sets of letters is statistically significant,  χ2 (1) = 21.0022, p < .01. So it can be tentatively asserted that there was what linguists call a T-V (Tu/Vos) distinction in Norwichs Vlaams between the informal g-form and the formal u-form. The detailed results of this study are on the Facebook page 'The History of Language in Norfolk'. I would like to compare these results with those from other sets of letters in (West)-Flemish - please let me know of any such collections.

A letter written by a Flemish 'Stranger' in Norwich to family in Ieper

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dutch Sundays in Japan

The Dutch word for 'Sunday' turns up in two different forms on the island of Kyushu in Western Japan. In May each year, the city of Hakata holds the extravagant Dontaku Festival. Dontaku is derived from the Dutch word for Sunday 'zondag'. According to one account, in Meiji Japan (late 19th Century), the Dutch word was appropriated for 'holiday' and then came to be applied specifically to festivals held on holidays and now survives as the name of the Hakata Festival. The term, has however, spread. There is now a wrestling event held close to or during the festival in Hakata called Resuringu Dontaku (Wrestling Dontaku). One other word to come from this rendering of 'Sunday' is 'handon'. This means 'half Sunday or half holiday' and seems in fact to refer to Saturdays in parts of Kyushu.
More recently, the town of Hirado has introduced the Hirado Zondag. This is held on every third Sunday of the month  Here, the local women dress up in Dutch clothing and tea is served free. While the use of dontaku may originate from the Dutch and indeed European custom of making Sunday a day of rest, the Hirado Zondag seems aimed at celebrating the historic link between the Dutch and Hirado, where the Dutch had a trading post from 1609-1641. In both cases, there is also at least one eye on the tourist trade.

Hakata Dontaku Festival 

Further information:

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Dutch courage

For some reason, in the English mind, the Dutch have a close association with alcohol. Shakespeare made reference to this and today we talk of having 'Dutch courage'. The English language has borrowed Dutch words relating to alcohol. One of these is 'brandy' from the Dutch brandewijn, literally burnt or distilled wine. The English borrowing has of course been adopted by other languages. One of these is Italian - il brandy. I once worked for an Italian brandy company, where the brandy was moved along a brandydotto, similar to an aqueduct, but for brandy.
Another alcoholic beverage whose English name is borrowed from Dutch is gin. This is a shortened form of genever, which comes from the Dutch jenever/genever eventually going back to the Latin for juniper. Gin drinking was popularized in England after the accession of the Anglo-Dutch king, William III, and in some sense replaced French brandy. This period has become known as the Gin Craze and inspired the great English satirist, William Hogarth to make the engraving Gin Lane, populated by poor Englishmen and women drinking unlicensed gin. In the nineteenth century gin was again popular leading to the emergence of Gin Palaces. While many languages have borrowed and adapted the English 'gin', several languages spoken in the Indonesian archipelago have adopted variations on the Dutch jenever.

Further reading: Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse woorden wereldwijd, The Hague, 2010.

William Hogarth's Gin Lane

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dutch words in Portuguese creoles

It is well known that Dutch and Portuguese battled it out for domination and the right to trade in several parts of the world in the seventeenth century. In some cases, such as Japan, the Dutch gained the upper hand, while in Brazil, initial Dutch gains were eventually overturned by the Portuguese. It is no surprise that the frequent coming together of the Dutch and Portuguese had consequences for language. In Japan, Portuguese was the dominant European language from c. 1550 to 1650. Dutch gradually gained ground, but Japanese were still using the Portuguese language long after the Portuguese themselves had been banished in 1639. Lists survive containing words in Dutch, Portuguese and Latin. No distinction is made between them suggesting Japanese may have switched between the languages in the process of shifting from Portuguese to Dutch.
Elsewhere, Portuguese creoles emerged. Dutch loanwords in several of these have been recorded by Nicoline van der Sijs. The creole Portuguese of Batavia, Java contained some 90 Dutch loanwords such as vierkant ('square'). In the Portuguese creole on Ceylon, some 40 Dutch loanwords such as boek ('book') were recorded at the start of the twentieth century. The Dutch took Malacca in modern- day Malaysia from the Portuguese in 1641. Some 60 Dutch loanwords were adopted by the local Portuguese creole, such as lui ('lazy').
This contact also worked the other way. For example, in Japan the Dutch referred to the Governor of Nagasaki as comprador, from the Portuguese for 'buyer'.

Further reading: Nicoline van der Sijs, Nederlandse Woorden Wereldwijd. The Hague, 2010, p. 59.
Christopher Joby 'Dutch in Eighteenth-Century Japan', Dutch Crossing
doi: 10.1080/03096564.2017.1383643

Friday, September 7, 2018

Flemish in Northern France

In a previous blog, I discussed the history of Dutch or Flemish in what is now French Flanders. This was historically part of the County of Flanders but over time it was gradually annexed by France, not least as a result of the expansionist policies of King Louis XIV. French culture including the French language gradually gained ascendancy in the region. Schoolchildren were taught in French and at one point they were told 'dont spit and dont speak Flemish' .Nevertheless, traces of the Flemish variant of Dutch persist.
In the previous blog I mentioned place names such as Steenvoorde and Wormhout, which have clear Dutch origins. Other traces can be found in churches and cemeteries, which often act as the memory of a language. In the church to St. Vedast/Vaast in Hondschoote, there are gravestones in Dutch, and Flemish names abound in municipal cemeteries in Hondschoote, Cassel and other towns close to the present-day Belgian border. Boards on roadside chapels also attest to the historic use of Flemish in the area. According to one source there are still some 200,000 speakers of Flemish in this area, although this may be an overestimate. Conversation evenings, information panels written in Flemish and bilingual street name boards in French and Flemish (e.g. Strazelestraete in Fletre/Vleeter as opposed to standard Dutch straat) are just some of the ways in which Flemish is kept alive in Northern France. In my travels around the region I came across a wonderful 85-year-old lady, Yvonne Dupont, in Godewaersvelde (great name), who still spoke Flemish, sometimes mixing Flemish and French. In some sense, Flemish in Northern France could be seen as an endangered language, but it still continues to be spoken in several social domains, including the local café!

Further information:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Strangers Hall in Norwich

In the middle of Norwich is the wonderful Strangers Hall museum which is located in a majestic townhouse, first built some 600 years ago. The museum takes its name from the Dutch, Flemish and Walloon immigrants or Strangers who came to Norwich in the sixteenth century to escape the religious and economic turmoil in the Low Countries that was the prelude to the Eighty Years War. However, there was always a question mark over whether Strangers actually lived in the house … until now. Thanks to the work of Alastair Duke and latterly myself, we have established with a fair degree of certainty that they did live there. The evidence comes in the form of a letter that one of the Strangers wrote in Flemish to relatives back in Flanders. He describes the house in which he was staying in a manner which fits its layout in the sixteenth century. Furthermore, he mentions the High Street, the former name of the road on which the house stands and he says that the owner was Master Thomas – this I realized one day was Thomas Sotherton, a leading citizen of Norwich who owned the house when the letter was written. The letter only survives in a transcription tucked away in a relatively obscure mid-nineteenth century Dutch journal, but this example perhaps shows how such a letter can be of use for historical research and tell us about the world we live in today.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

'The Dutch craze' and strawberries in Tokugawa Japan

The presence of Dutch merchants and physicians, inter alia, in Tokugawa Japan led to a range of consequences for the Japanese language, which could hardly have been foreseen when the first Dutch ship, De Liefde, ran aground on the coast of Usuki in Bungo Province (now Usuki City, Oita Prefecture) on the eastern coast of Kyushu in April 1600. One consequence of language contact between Dutch and Japanese was a number of changes and additions to Japanese grammar, which will be the subject of future blogs. It also resulted in additions to the Japanese lexicon, sometimes in the form of whole words, such as the Japanese for coffee, but in other cases it resulted in new words which were part Japanese, part non-Japanese. One example of this is words beginning with 'ran' (蘭). This in fact derives from the second syllable of the Japanese rendering of the Portuguese word for 'Holland' 'Oranda', the Portuguese having arrived in Japan some fifty years earlier. Perhaps the best known example of this is rangaku (蘭学), the study of Dutch books, or more generally of Western books imported into Japan by the Dutch. Gaku (学)  means 'study' or 'learning' in Japanese. Japanese nobles who dedicated themselves to studying the Dutch language and Dutch learning, i.e. rangaku earned the name ranpeki (蘭癖) (lit. ‘those with the Dutch craze’). Sometimes, new words in Japanese were formed using oranda. This was often the case for new varieties of flowers and vegetables that the Dutch introduced. For example, the Japanese for the variety of strawberry Fragaria x ananassa is oranda-ichigoオランダいちご. As I have written before in this blog, Dutch may not be a world language, but it has certainly influenced many other languages in a variety of, sometimes unexpected, ways.

Further reading:  Frits Vos, ‘Dutch Influences on the Japanese Language (With an Appendix on Dutch Words in Korean)’, East Asian History 39, 2014, pp. 153-180.
Chris Joby, 'Dutch in Eighteenth-Century Japan', Dutch Crossing, DOI: 10.1080/03096564.2017.1383643