Research themes

  • Impact of Circulation

    De centrale en actuele vraag binnen dit onderzoeksprogramma is wat de effecten zijn van circulatie (o.a. migratie van bevolkingsgroepen) op de sociale, economische, talige en culturele structuur van de samenleving, in heden en verleden.

     

    Projecten die uitgevoerd worden op het Meertens Instituut:

    The Circulation of Race? The Zwarte Piet controversy and debates on race and racism between Amsterdam, New York, and Paramaribo

    The Birth of the Iamb in the Early Renaissance Low Countries

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  • External aspects of language and culture

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  • The relations between social, geographical and diachronic diversity in culture

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  • Boundaries of cultural diversity

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  • The relationship between diversity and dynamics in language

    Variation linguistics at the Meertens Institute investigates language change as a result of internal and external forces. The direction in which languages change is determined by an algorithm related to theory of evolution. The grammar generates relatively arbitrary variation; the context selects specific variant from the offer on the basis of social or regional prestige. Finally, language acquisition takes care of the transfer of the selected variant from mother to child. Research will have to show to what extent dynamics in dialects and other language varieties (e.g. the process of regionalization) support such a view of language change.

    Projects: Life cycle of liquids

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  • Boundaries of language variation

    Variation linguistics at the Meertens Institute investigates language diversity as a result of both language-internal and external factors. With this, the linguistic research at the Meertens Institute unites two linguistic research lines which are often separated. On the one hand generative linguistics which looks for the properties all languages have in common on the basis of human cognitive abilities, on the other hand sociolinguistics which studies language variation mainly as a result of external factors. In this way the institute links up with the central scientific discourse on the question as to which parts of human behaviour are determined by human nature and which by the environment (“nurture”).   

    Projects: Maps and Grammars, Invariants in language change, Language Portal

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  • Knowledge and cognition: language and culture from an internal perspective

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