15 June, 4.00-5 pm: Judith Nobels

Pronominal terms of address in Dutch: new insights from seventeenth-century letters

Venue: Lipsius 148

The history of the Dutch terms of address has been a topic of a long linguistic debate. Many of the articles published in the 20th century focused on the origin of various personal pronouns, leaving the use of these pronouns somewhat underexposed (Van den Toorn 1977: 525). For the seventeenth century, however, Van Leuvensteijn (2002) examined the terms of address in the correspondence of the patrician Maria van Reigersberch. On the basis of the Letters as Loot-corpus we can take this research one step further and examine how terms of address were used by various ranks of the seventeenth-century society in the West of the Dutch Republic, rather than by one individual from the upper class. In this presentation I will show how the general terms of address for the singular (gij, jij, and u) on the one hand, and the epistolary terms (U.L. and U.E.) on the other are distributed across social class and sex. The influence of the relationship between sender and addressee on the terms of address used will be examined too.

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