Student Projects on the Dutch Language
This page describes three different projects suitable for students
wishing to receive credit for the course "Curious about the Dutch".
You may choose any one of these for a paper, and you may also suggest
other topics for my approval, but please note that prior
approval is essential for credit. Please let me know whether you
intend to carry out this project by Nov. 1, and please turn in
the paper by Dec. 15. Students wishing to earn five ECTS
credits are required to write 2,500 - 5,000 words (5-10 single-spaced
Please take care with the written form in which you present your work!
Definitely consult the guidelines, but
especially if you are inexperienced in writing.
1. The Influence of Dutch on English
Thomas Pyles The Origins and Development of the English Language
(Harcourt: New York, 1971) identifies a large number of English
words as derived from "Dutch and other forms of Low German" (p.334):
|| pea jacket
| American import
|| Santa Claus
| pit 'fruit stone'
Check which Dutch words these English words have derived from, and
note especially how the Dutch words have changed in form or meaning as
they were taken into English. Please add to this list from other
Other sources could be
You must acknowledge all sources properly!
- the overhead sheets
for the lecture,
- Robert Stockwell and Donka Minkova's book
English Words: History and Structure (Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, 2001).
- the world-wide web
Focus Please describe the full set of borrowings, and
identify general patterns you see -- in the type of word it is (noun,
verb, etc.), the trade or activity it comes from, or the sorts of
changes it underwent. Compare the trends you spot to the general
remarks in the chapters on language history in David Crystal's The
Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997), especially Chap. 50 "Families of Languages",
Chap. 51 "The Indo-European Family", and Chap.54 "Language Change". Again,
you are encouraged to seek out other general accounts of patterns in
borrowed words (always with acknowledgment).
2. The Influence of Dutch on Another Language
You can examine the effect of Dutch on German, French or
Russian instead of English, but you'll need to gather literature
on this yourself.
3. The History of Dutch
B.C.Donaldson's Dutch: A Linguistic History of Holland and
Belgium (Martinus Nijhoff: Leiden) sketches the history of the
Dutch language. Compare this to the general remarks in the chapter on
"Language History" in David Crystal's The Cambridge Encyclopedia of
Language (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, see above
for more exact references). Again,
you are encouraged to seek out other sources for both the history of
Dutch and the general patterns of linguistic development.
Identify unusual developments in Dutch linguistic history, and, if
possible, suggest why things developed the way they did. I suggest
a focus on Chapter 8, "Vocabulary and Word Formation", especially
on his information about the source of Dutch vocabulary. Again,
you may compare this to the the overhead sheets
for the lecture. If you choose to develop the focus I suggest,
then this paper would be similar to the one described under (1),
only you'll describe the influence of other languages on Dutch
Warning: other foci for this project clearly need to be kept to
a small number of topics, otherwise the paper will be either too long
or too superficial. Pick one of the three topics.
Turn in your paper by Dec. 15
Last modified: Wed Sep 13 08:29:58 CEST 2006