Spreker: Alisa van de Haar (Universiteit Leiden)
It has often been argued that the printing press played a pivotal role in the uniformization of orthography: in order to enlarge their possible area of distribution, printers supposedly avoided dialectal variation in spelling and vocabulary. In the sixteenth century, the orthographical rules of French and Dutch were an important topic of debate among the intellectual elite. Despite the fact that historians of language have emphasized the influence of the printing press on changes in spelling, printers themselves rarely took part in these discussions on orthography. This talk will examine the rare explicit remarks on vernacular spelling left behind by printers from the Low Countries, in particular those by Christophe Plantin. These statements are compared with the actual spelling practices in the editions they published, to shed new light on the impact of printers on the standardization of French and Dutch.
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