Approximately 40,000 Dutch letters from the second half of the 17th to the early 19th century have been gathering dust for centuries in British archives. They were sent home by sailors and others from abroad but also vice versa by those staying behind who needed to keep in touch with their loved ones. Many letters did not reach their destinations: they were taken as loot by privateers and confiscated by the High Court of Admiralty during the wars fought between The Netherlands and England. These confiscated letters of men, women and even children represent priceless material for historical linguists. They allow us to gain access to the as yet mainly unknown everyday Dutch of the past, the colloquial Dutch of people from the middle and lower classes.
The first extensive sociolinguistic analysis of these Dutch letters was conducted in the Letters as Loot research programme (2008-2013) at Leiden University. This research concentrated on a selection of about one thousand Dutch private letters from the late seventeenth and late eighteenth centuries, written by more than 700 different letter writers.
|Project||Letters as Loot|
|Refereren||The Letters as Loot / Brieven als Buit-corpus. Leiden University. Compiled by Marijke van der Wal (Programme leader), Gijsbert Rutten, Judith Nobels and Tanja Simons, with the assistance of volunteers of the Leiden-based Wikiscripta Neerlandica transcription project, and lemmatised, tagged and provided with search facilities by the Institute for Dutch Lexicology (INL). 3d release 2021. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10032/tm-a2-s4|
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- Datum plaatsing 26/02/2021
- Laatst bijgewerkt 23/02/2022