Edited by Rob Belemans and Reinhild Vandekerckhove
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 13] 1999
► pp. 13–52
Abstract. The Flemish nation is a reality. Flanders has even become a state to some extent. Flanders no longer speaks French. French has been gradually ideologised from the language of prestige to the language of the enemy. Flanders has not chosen Flemish, but Dutch as its new language of prestige. There was no elite in Flanders speaking Flemish. Those who should have developed Standard Flemish in the 17th and 18th centuries, switched to French. After 1830, the Orangists put forward three major arguments to reject Flemish and to opt for Dutch. First, Flemish was not strong enough to compete with French. Second, Flemish was not good enough; it was corrupted by French, it was only a poor by-product of a Belgian nation-state that was dominated by French. Third, by opting for Dutch, the Flemings would link up with their history. In the second half of the 19th century, a process of dutchification gradually set in. As the importance of language as a social, economic and, therefore, political factor increased, the influence of Dutch grew stronger. Yet, there seem to be limits to the dutchification of Flemish society and, consequently, of the language of the Flemings. Even the most dedicated supporters of Pan-Netherlandic unity somehow reject the language of the Dutch as a model for Flanders.
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