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'I write my own Claus-language'. Language variation in the literary prose of Hugo Claus (1929-2008): a stylistic analysis

Language has in Belgium always been the object of conflict. Not simply between its French and Dutch speaking communities, but also within Flanders, a fierce debate has been devoted to language norms. Advocates of strict conformity to northernDutch prevailed, but compliance with this norm has not always run so smoothly. This prompted investments to promote Standard Dutch, which gradually developed into a process that linguists today are beginning to recognize as 'hyperstandardisation'. Itis in this climate that Hugo Claus (1929-2008) starts experimenting with a language that openly mixes Standard Dutch with Flemish dialects; the author himself dubbed it 'Claus-language'. While Claus is one of the most investigated Flemish authors, hislanguage is still beset with many ambiguities. This research will systematically investigate the language variation in the prose of Claus, how it fits with the author's poetics and why Claus felt the need to 'invent' a new language. It will also examinehow this 'Claus-language' may have affected linguistic debate in Flanders, especially the discussion concerning the so-called 'tussentaal' ('interlanguage'). Through combining linguistic and literary research methods and, more in particular,through using a number of methods derived from international stylistics research, this proposal does not only address a gap in Claus studies, but also stimulates interaction between linguistic and literary research on a theoretical and methodological level.
Date:1 Oct 2014  →  30 Sep 2018
Disciplines:Language studies, Literary studies, Theory and methodology of language studies, Theory and methodology of linguistics, Theory and methodology of literary studies, Other languages and literary studies