From zijt to bent '(you) are' in Early Modern Dutch: a view "from below" approach
Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics
Dutch exhibits suppletion in the verb ZIJN 'be' with b-roots and s-roots merged into a single paradigm (Donaldson, 1983, p. 182). By the end of the Middle Dutch period (late 16th century), second person singular s-root form zijt and b-root form bent were in competition. Donaldson (1983, p. 182) suggests that the change was motivated by a parallel with the first person singular (present) form ben. However, this account lacks an empirical basis. With the use of the Brieven als Buit (‘Letters as Loot’) corpus, my investigation attempts to address this gap by adopting a “history from below” approach (Elspaß, 2007, p. 5; 2012, p. 160), offering a quantitative analysis on linguistic as well as social factors conditioning this change. The results of the analysis suggest that the shift from zijt to bent occurred at a faster rate in the active, rather than the passive voice, the indicative, rather than the imperative mood, and in predicate rather than auxiliary verb function; these domains are considered more basic with a wider usage (Kuryłowicz, 1947). However, this language change cannot be fully accounted for by a strictly language-internal framework; women selected the bent alternate at a higher rate than men, reinforcing that both social and linguistic factors must be considered to provide a comprehensive account of language change.
Early Modern Dutch, historical sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, morphological change, view "from below"
Terpstra, C.I. (2018). From zijt to bent '(you) are' in Early Modern Dutch: a view "from below" approach. In E. Abdollahnejad, D. Abu Amsha, K. Burkinshaw, A.D. Daniel, & B.C. Nelson (eds.), Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics, 30, 67-81.