The Randstad area in the Netherlands: Emergent and fluid identity-locality production through language in use

Leonie Cornips*, Vincent de Rooij, Dick Smakman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In the 1930s, Albert Plesman, founder of the Royal Dutch Airlines, hosted a trip over the west of the Netherlands. Dutch is indisputably the most dominant language in Randstad. Like in other areas in the Netherlands, poverty exists in Randstad. This chapter introduces the physical, infrastructural and population characteristics of the area in some detail, which explain the specific language variation situation in this area and the poses the challenges. It provides specific illustration of urban language contact situations – from the cities of Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. It demonstrates the daily language use in the big cities within the region, the mechanisms of identity expression through language, and the coming to existence of language variation in neighbourhoods where speakers with different social orientations meet, interact and assert themselves. The historical cities all have strong remnants of historical dialect formation through generations of less mobile speakers residing in the same cities and neighbourhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Sociolinguistics: The City as a Linguistic Process and Experience
EditorsDick Smakman, Patrick Heinrich
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781315514659, 9781138200364
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes

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