The period of elitist grammar brought forth a series of works on language that laid the foundation for the rest of the century. Spelling made up an important part of the grammatical work of Petrus Francius (1699, Dibbets 1995). Gender and nominal case were central to the works of van Hoogstraten published between 1700 and 1723 (Rutten 2006). Minister Jacobus Nylöe published a comprehensive overview of orthographical, morphological and stylistic norms (1703, see Schaars & te Wilt 1989). Full grammars were written by Moonen (1706), Séwel (1708, 21712) and Verwer (1707). A range of orthographical, morphological and syntactic topics were discussed by ten Kate (1723) and Huydecoper (1730). Thus, the first decades of the eighteenth century constituted a highly productive metalinguistic period, after a relatively quiet interlude in the second half of the seventeenth century, during which not many linguistic publications came out.
A significant development that began in the final decades of the seventeenth century is the establishment of widely shared and acknowledged normative points of orientation (Dibbets 2003a). Whereas complete consensus was not reached, and debates about the normative value of specific sources continued into the eighteenth century (Rutten 2006), it is safe to say that from c. 1700 onwards, the first half of the seventeenth century was considered a period of exceptional cultural and linguistic glory (see also Chapter 5). Of the many texts produced in this period, a handful were perceived as examples of the Dutch language in a state of near-perfection, viz.
the works of the literary authors Hooft and Vondel, and the official Bible transla-tion of 1637. Some language observers historicised this state of near-perfectransla-tion by arguing that its superiority was at least partially due to its resemblances to the original state of the language as found in Medieval sources (Rutten 2006: 84–92).
The period in between, i.e. the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were usually considered degenerate under the influence of foreign domination and contact with Romance varieties (see Chapters 7 and 8). The establishment of a normative canon, dominated by Vondel (hence: Vondelianism), implied that the rules of Dutch grammar constructed in the elitist period strongly depended on the written literary language produced in the western parts of the language area in a long gone era. This body of rules, however, was to be the main point of reference in the following century.
A key characteristic of the next period of ‘civil’ grammar is the effort to sim-plify the norms laid down in the first period in order to reach a wider audience.
Important texts from this period are van Belle (1748, 1755), Elzevier (1761) and de Haes (1764). The Nederduitsche spraekkunst (‘Dutch grammar’) by de Haes was published posthumously in 1764, added to a collection of poems, but already
conceived around 1740 (Dibbets 2003b: 213). The manuscript had circulated among members of the Rotterdam-based literary society Nature et Arte. Dibbets (2003b: 193–222) shows de Haes’s strong dependence on Moonen (1706), Séwel (1712) and Huydecoper (1730), and also mentions Elzevier’s dependence on de Haes. Elzevier, too, was a member of Natura et Arte, and his Proef van een nieuwe Nederduitsche spraekkonst (‘Outline of a new Dutch grammar’) was also added to a collection of poems. The rise of literary and scientific societies is typical of par-ticularly the second half of the eighteenth century, and is usually associated with the rise of the bourgeoisie, and with the public domain being taken over by larger parts of society (Kloek & Mijnhardt 2000). The eighteenth-century phenomenon of sociability (Singeling 1996) enabled the upper as well as the middle ranks of society to establish networks in order to share and concentrate power and knowl-edge. In the Dutch context, these societies were usually involved in the educational Enlightenment project aimed at the dissemination of knowledge and culture, sci-ence and the arts, over increasingly larger parts of society (de Vries 2001).
The simplification aimed at by de Haes and Elzevier is not just obvious from the size of their works. Moonen (1706) and Séwel (1712) cover several hundreds of pages, whereas de Haes’ grammar is 170 pages, and Elzevier’s outline only 90. In what follows, I will give a few examples of the way in which de Haes and Elzevier tried to render the grammar of Dutch more accessible to larger parts of the popu-lation (cf. Rutten 2009). I will then turn to van Belle.
A first example is terminology. In the Dutch grammatical tradition, the nom-inal cases were sometimes referred to by their Latin names (nominativus, geniti-vus etc) or with Dutchified alternatives (nominatief, genitief etc). The Latin terms could also be replaced by numerical references, i.e. the first case, the second case etc. Translations had already been offered in the first full grammar of Dutch, the Twe-spraack (‘Dialogue’, 1584), and these translations lasted well into the eighteenth century (Rutten 2006: 2401–241); see Table 1.
Table 1. Dutch terms (normalised spelling) for Latin case names as introduced by the Twe-spraack ‘Dialogue’ (1584)
Latin term Dutch term Origin English gloss
nominativus noemer < noemen ‘name, call’ namer, caller
teler < baren ‘bear’
< telen ‘grow’ bearer
dativus gever < geven ‘give’ giver
accusativus aanklager < aanklager ‘accuse’ accuser
vocativus roeper < roepen ‘call’ caller
ablativus (af)nemer < (af)nemen ‘take (away)’ taker
The Dutch terms were modeled after the Latin originals. The term barer for genitive was commonly replaced by teler from Moonen (1706) onwards.
By 1700, the Dutch terms had become part of standard grammatical terminol-ogy, but they were also subject to severe criticism (de Haes 1764: 19). Note that the Dutch terms are as intuitive to Dutch speakers as the English glosses are to speakers of English, i.e. hardly at all. The criticism concerned the fact that all cases were con-ceptualised as agentive, for example, the noun phrase that takes the vocative is not the person calling, so roeper ‘caller’ is incorrect. Instead, it is the person spoken to.
Also, the semantic functions of the cases could be expressed much better by a dif-ferent verb, for example, bear, grow and accuse are not the typical actions associated with genitive and accusative functions. Table 2 shows the new terms introduced by de Haes (1764), which were slightly modified and taken over by Elzevier as well as by van der Palm (1769, see Section 4.4).
Table 2. Dutch terms (normalised spelling) for Latin case names as introduced by de Haes (1764)
Latin term Dutch term English gloss
nominativus werkende persoon of zaak working person or thing
genitivus eigenaar of bezitter owner or possessor
dativus ontvanger receiver
accusativus daadlijk bewerkt wordende persoon of zaak person or thing acted upon vocativus aangesprokene persoon of zaak person or thing spoken to
ablativus onbepaalde naamval indefinite case
Elzevier (1761: 49–58) considered de Haes’s terminological innovation to be so important that he devoted ten pages of his 90-page outline to the issue. In historical grammars, the ablative case is not distinguished for any period of Dutch, hence the half-hearted decision to keep the case, in line with the Latin model, yet to call it indefinite.
One of the reasons for Elzevier’s enthusiasm about de Haes’s new terminology was his desire to adopt a simplified approach to grammar as opposed to Moonen’s thick book for the learned:
Vooraf zullen wy onderstellen, dat onze leerling geen vreemde talen verstaet, en dus ook niets van onze taelgronden weet; want iemand die de Latynsche, of één ander tael magtig is, zal de eigenschappen en gronden onzer tael gemakkelyk begrypen, en met vrucht de Spraekkonst van Monen doorbladeren; want die Heer schynt eer zyne Spraekkonst te hebben geschreven voor hun, die de tael reeds verstaen, dan voor Leerlingen die begerig zyn om hun eigen tael te leeren.
(Elzevier 1761: 50)
Beforehand, we will assume that our student does not understand any foreign languages, and therefore also does not know anything about the rules of our lan-guage; for someone who masters Latin or another language will understand more easily the properties and rules of our language, and successfully thumb through the grammar by Moonen; since that gentleman appears to have written his grammar rather for those who already understand their language than for students who are eager to learn their own language.
After this introductory statement, which revealed Elzevier’s aims and target au-dience, he discussed the six nominal cases and their names, relying entirely on Moonen (1706) and de Haes’s manuscript grammar published in 1764.
Another example concerns the definition of the noun, where Elzevier (1761: 76) again explained that he aimed to offer a simplified account of Moonen (1706):
De Zelfstandige Naemwoorden die nu volgen, zullen wy eenvoudig verhandelen, zonder ons optehouden met de verdeeling die Monen daer van maekt, als dezelve onderscheidende in oorsprongkelyken, afgeleiden, eigen, enz. wy zullen kort gaen, en zeggen dat het een Zelfstandig Naemwoord is, dat alleen staende, het wezen eener zelfstandige zaek, die men noemt, volkomen betekent, als: man, vrouw, kind, vis,
vogel, enz. (Elzevier 1761: 76)
We will discuss the Nouns, which follow now, in a simple way without concerning ourselves with the divisions Moonen makes, dividing them into primitive, derived, proper etc. We will keep it short and say that a noun is that which by itself completely signifies the nature of a thing that is named, such as man, woman, child, fish, bird etc.
The definition is copied from Moonen (1706: 47). Similarly, Elzevier (1761: 96–104) used only nine pages to summarise Moonen’s (1706: 138–234) extensive discussion of the verb, while indicating the usefulness of Moonen (1706) as a book of reference.
Elzevier summarised, shortened and simplified Moonen’s account of the verb in many ways, but he also elaborated on the discussion of the subjunctive, which he probably deemed necessary given the near-disappearance of the subjunctive in most post-Medieval registers of Dutch (Rutten 2009: 63).
In 1748 and 1755, van Belle, a schoolteacher in the city of Haarlem, published two books on the grammar of Dutch. Both publications have the adjective kort
‘short’ in the title. Van Belle (1748) has about a hundred pages, van Belle (1755) only 55. Van Belle’s aim was to teach the citizens of Haarlem the grammar of Dutch, not just the elite but also the middle ranks of society, not just men but also women, and he hoped that all citizens would transmit their knowledge to the younger gen-erations (van der Wal 1990; Rutten 2008a). In addition, his 1755 publication cuts grammar loose from the literary context characteristic of the period of elitist gram-mar and also present in the works of de Haes and Elzevier. For van Belle, knowledge of the grammar of Dutch was a matter of mature citizenship.
To reach the largest audience possible, van Belle showed himself to be a real educational experimenter, moving well beyond de Haes’s and Elzevier’s efforts to simplify the received set of language norms, and using a wide variety of teaching methods including tables as well as visual and typographical aids (Rutten 2008a).
A striking example from his 1748 book is the fact that it was written in rhyming verse, which would help learners memorise the rules of grammar. Another remark-able memory aid was his system to systematise and remember the conjugations of verbs (van der Wal 2002). He introduced nonce words and symbols to represent the principle parts of both weak verbs without vowel changes and the strong verbs classes with their varying types of ablaut (van Belle 1748: 39–40). The nonce words and the symbols comprise three components for the representation of the vowel quality, and a fourth component in case the participle ends in -en instead of a dental suffix; see Table 3.1
Table 3. Dutch verb classes according to van Belle (1748)
Nonce word Symbolic pattern Dutch verb English gloss
panama ┼ ┼ ┼ haat-haatte-gehaat hate-hated-hated
panamalen ┼ ┼ ┼ ─ weven-weefde-geweeven weave-wove-woven
panémé ┼ ╪ ╪ koop-kógt-gekógt buy-bought-bought
panémélen ┼ ╪ ╪ ─ sluit-sloot-geslooten close-closed-closed
panémalen ┼ ╪ ┼ ─ treed-trad-getreeden tread-trod-trodden
panémielen ┼ ╪ ╫ ─ steel-stal-gestolen steal-stole-stolen Van Belle, however, did away with these teaching aids in 1755, and came up with completely different methods to systematise the various verb patterns, testifying to his ongoing efforts to render the rules of grammar as accessible as possible. He now used numerical indications to represent the principle parts (1, 2, 3), letter strings to represent the ablaut types (aba, abb etc.), and capital letters to indicate the relevant vowels. A few examples are given in Table 4.
Moreover, he also added a folded sheet, three pages in size, to the grammar book, listing the conjugations of seventeen frequent verbs, marked with letters denoting the vowel pattern (abd etc).
Van Belle’s educational ingenuity was remarkable (Rutten 2008a). Whereas Elzevier’s and de Haes’s approach mainly consisted of simplifying the thorough works of the earlier period, such as Moonen (1706), van Belle introduced various kinds of new teaching methods. The 1755 grammar was published posthumously.
1. In van Belle (1748: 39), the third symbol of the final line is identical to the second symbol, which has to be a mistake. Also, van Belle’s examples do not represent all verb classes historically distinguished for Dutch (van der Wal 2002).
In the introduction, the publisher referred to another grammar book by van Belle, still easier than the 1755 one, written in dialogue, i.e. in a format with a long tradi-tion in the history of educatradi-tion. The book was never published. A few years later, the grammatical dialogue was reintroduced into the history of Dutch linguistics with the publication of van der Palm (1769).