Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere considers himself a language romanticist. 'A romanticist will consider language as the spine of one’s identity.'
Babel in the Low Countries
Which languages have been spoken in the Low Countries? Celtic, Latin, Flemish, Hollandish, Belgian, Dutch? In this series, editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere wonders how we keep on managing in our very own Babel. He contemplates the way we use language today, but just as easily delves into the past to consult with historical figures and writers who stand guard over language, smirking and grumbling, swearing and caressing.
Why do we call the language we speak today 'Dutch'?
When did the first texts written in Dutch date from?
16th century humanist Jan van Gorp believed that Dutch was the only language that originated directly from the Proto-Human language and was still very similar to it.
Emperor Charles V embodied the complex linguistic situation in the Low Countries.
Latin is often denounced for being elitist, but people tend to forget that, before, anyone had to master it as a second language. Therefore, not a single European nation could feel disadvantaged by Latin.
When it comes to language, Belgium has a complex history. That is beautifully illustrated by the position of French-language literature written at the end of the 19th century by Flemings.
Flemish and Dutch people have a totally different relationship with their language. Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere explains why.
For centuries, the Dutch language in Belgium had to pave the way for French. And yet, editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere, a Fleming, wouldn’t miss French for the world.
Have you ever heard of “suburban Flemish” and “Polderdutch”? Editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere about the tension between dying dialects, weird "in-between-languages" and overpowering standard languages.
Luc Devoldere rejects the existence of a bond between language and ethnicity – or Blut und Boden. Instead, he suggests the term ‘territory’.
When it comes to Dutch, editor-in-chief Luc Devoldere states that it is not clear who determines which language norms to respect and which rules to adhere to.