The research group Variational Linguistics describes and investigates linguistic variation in the Dutch language area, primarily in the Netherlands. This does not only concern geographical variation (like for instance dialects), but also socially and culturally determined variation. The main goal of this research is to gain insight into the nature of linguistic variation, the linguistic factors playing a part in this, and the language-external factors (like age, gender, ethnicity, etc.) that cause or influence variation in the Netherlands. The research focuses on insight into the present-day situation. Diachronic research into language change plays a part in this, as well as sociolinguistic and formal linguistic research. The interaction between these three approaches is of essential importance too. The research group concentrates on variation in grammar (sounds, word formation and sentence structure).
Research in the field of Onomastics is also part of the activities of the research group Variationist Linguistics. This concerns research into first names, family names, urban toponyms (names in urban areas, e.g. names of streets, squares, bridges) and micro-toponyms (names in rural areas, e.g. names of fields, meadows, pastures). This research component is also part of the Onomastics Network.