Historical Sociolinguistics and Sociohistorical Linguistics

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Review of:

Peeter Heyns [1571 and 1605] (2006). Cort Onderwijs van de Acht Deelen der Fransoischer Talen. Stichting Neerlandistiek VU: Amsterdam/Nodus Publikationen: Münster. (Reissue of original text with an introduction by E. Ruijsendaal), 157 pp. (Vol. 1, paperback.)


Jan des Roches [1812] (2007). Nieuwe Nederduytsche Spraek-Konst. Stichting Neerlandistiek VU: Amsterdam/Nodus Publikationen: Münster. (Reissue of original text by J.M. van der Horst with an introduction by J. Smeyers), 120 pp. (Vol. 2, paperback.)

Received December 2009, published August 2010 (HSL/SHL 10)

1. Introduction

As part of a new series (Geschiedenis van het Talenonderwijs in de Lage Landen), two volumes have so far been issued (year of publication: 2006 and 2007, respectively). The goal of this series, published under the auspices of the Peeter Heynsgenootschap (henceforth Peeter Heyns Society), is explained on the back flap of the first volume: to make texts in the field of language education and cultural history more widely available (especially for research into these areas). The Peter Heyns Society selected two Dutch school grammars, one of the French language and the other of Dutch to form the opening volumes of their series. In Volume 1, two editions of Peeter Heyns’s Cort Onderwijs van de Acht Deelen der Fransoischer Talen (henceforth CO 1571 and CO 1605) were reissued. Volume 2 comprises a reissue of the Nieuwe Nederduytsche Spraek-Konst (henceforth NNSK 1812) by Jan des Roches.

Both volumes in the series are comparable in structure. They begin with a short preface and an introduction. In Els Ruijsendaal’s preface to CO, we discover that Peeter Heyns’s French grammar was to be reissued to commemorate the 400th year of his death (in 1998), but this plan couldn’t be realised until 2006. In the meantime the original initiative has grown into a project to reissue an entire series of grammars. The second volume of this series became NNSK, which, as J.M. van der Horst writes in his preface, was not the first, best, nor most voluminous grammar available in the south of The Netherlands, but was certainly the most well-known and most reprinted grammar by the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth.

In the introductions to CO (by Els Ruijsendaal) and NNSK (by J. Smeyers) the most important facts about the lives and works by Peeter Heyns (1537, Antwerp – 1598, Haarlem) and Jan des Roches (1735?1740?, Voorburg – 1787, Brussels) are presented on the basis of extensive studies which are – along with supplementary information – often referred to in footnotes and of which a full overview is given at the end of the introductions. At the end of the introduction to CO, even Peeter Heyns’s works for school purposes are presented in the form of a list, along with a survey of similar textbooks by his contemporaries.

The lives of Peeter Heyns and Jan des Roches – despite an age difference of 200 years – show distinct similarities. Both authors wrote various textbooks and worked their way up in scholarly and cultural circles. Peeter Heyns rose from being a teacher to becoming a boarding school proprietor in the Korte Augustijnenstraat at “De Roode Leeuw” in Antwerp (1555–1567 and 1570–1585), after which he became a representative of the Berchem chamber of rhetoric “De bloeyende Wyngaert”; later, he became dean of the St. Ambrosius guild of schoolmasters (as of 1584). He was a man of considerable stature and wide learning and a member of learned circles around Plantijn. From 1757, Jan des Roches was an usher at the boarding school run by a German Augustinian in Antwerp, where he taught reading and writing. In 1765, he took over the school, but after complaints of sexual abuse he was forced to close the institution. Later, however, he made a considerable career move in the world of education. In 1773 he became a member of the Académie Impériale et Royale des Sciences et Belles Letters de Bruxelles (established by empress Maria Theresia), and in 1777 he became secretary of the Commission Royale des Études (which became the Département Scolastique in 1785). This institute was responsible for educational reform, inspection and administration. He was later appointed as a schoolmaster in Brussels. Des Roches was widely read in the fields of history and linguistics, and was familiar with recent French philosophical literature.

For both Heyns and des Roches the French language played an important role in their lives. Heyns wrote a French grammar, CO, and taught French at a boarding school (which was attended mostly by girls from the upper classes) where mathematics and reading were the most important subjects and where French was considered a binding language. Jan des Roches used French in his public life (in e.g. correspondence) which, in the minds of the central authorities was seen as a positive factor. During the educational reform, on which he was working as the secretary to the Commission Royale des Études,  the programme was oriented towards Latin and French. Dutch, i.e. the mother tongue, was merely used to facilitate the learning of French. The publication of the Nieuwe Fransche Spraek-konst and the Nieuw Nederduytsch en Fransch woordenboek bear witness to this fact.

In considering the historical context of the southern part of The Netherlands, it may not be surprising that the French language played such an important role in the lives of Heyns and des Roches, particularly considering the fact that these men spent most of their lives there. However, both authors can also be linked to the northern part of The Netherlands, though in some respects in an opposite way. Heyns, who fled via Germany after the fall of Antwerp in 1585 to the northern part of The Netherlands, died in Haarlem (where he had started a boarding school for girls). Des Roches, on the other hand, was born in the northern part of The Netherlands and spent his youth there, although in 1757 he moved to Antwerp, tempted by a position as usher which had become available there. He stayed in the southern part of The Netherlands until his death.

After the introductions to their lives and works follow the texts of the reissued grammars. In Volume 1 this constitutes two editions of CO (1571  and 1605), which have been “reproduced as faithfully as possible according to present conventions” (2006:20). At the end of CO (1605) there is a photomechanical reproduction which displays the first three pages of the original 1605 edition. Volume 2 reproduces NNSK in facsimile.

2. The Cort Onderwijs van de Acht Deelen der Fransoischer Talen

CO (1571), which has not come down to us in complete form, contains thirty-two pages. “In completed form the text would be approximately half the size of the 1605 edition” (2006:14). The (1605 edition was heavily edited and revised by Peeter Heyns (as opposed to earlier editions) and published by his son Zacharias in Zwolle; it amounts to 102 pages. Both editions of CO have a similar structure, although CO (1605) is more elaborate as regards the scope and contents (such as definitions, explanations and examples). This becomes already evident in the introductory section. In CO (1571), the introduction comprises only a short paragraph in French (representing the “privilege”, a kind of copyright), whereas in CO (1605) the introduction consists of a Dutch motto and a brief preface in which the goals of that edition are stated: to apply corrections and to dutchify certain grammatical terms. Apart from that we find two Dutch poems, written by Hendrick Laurensz Spieghel and two sonnets written in French by Jan Borrekens and C. Plantin.

After this we encounter the different kinds of word classes, or parts of speech (“deelen”), which are treated in separate chapters. Basing himself on the traditional classification of words into word classes Peeter Heyns  distinguishes eight parts of speech: noms, pronoms, verbes, participes, adverbs, conjunctions, praepositions and interiections. In contrast to CO (1571), CO (1605) systematically provides the Dutch equivalents for these parts of speech: namen (“naamwoorden”), voor-namen (“voornaamwoorden”), woorden (“werkwoorden”), naem-woorden (“deelwoorden”), by-woorden (“bijwoorden”), voorsetsels (“voorzetsels”), voegers (“voegwoorden”) and inworpsels (“tussenwerpsels”). Additionally, CO (1605) raises the dilemma whether or not articles (“Articulen/Ledekens”) that  – as opposed to Latin – form part of the French language should be considered as a separate ninth part of speech. Ultimately, however, Peeter Heyns adheres to the classical eight part division of speech.
In the first chapter of both editions of CO the category “namen” is treated (amounting to eight and nineteen pages for the 1571 and 1605 editions, respectively). This category is divided into substantives and adjectives; thus, these separate word classes in Present-day Dutch (PdD) are treated as a single word class in Heyns’s grammar. The substantives, on the basis of their meaning, are further divided into what we would nowadays call appellative and proper name. After this the properties of nouns are treated. Peter Heyns not only follows the traditional model (which goes back to Donatus and Priscianus) concerning classification of words into word classes, but  he also takes up the so-called feature-based, accidentia, approach of the different parts of speech in classical grammars. According to Heyns, nouns have seven accidents (“accidenten” or “toe-valligheden”): Especes (Specien (1571), Aerdt (1605)), Comparaison (“Verghelijckinghe”), Genre (“Gheslachte”), Nombre (“Ghetal”), Figures (“Figuren” (1571), “Ghedaenten” (1605)), Cas (“Casus” (1571), “Val” (1605)), Declinaison (“Buygingh oft Vervallingh” (1605)). These accidents are subsequently treated in turn. On the basis of the traditional model, meaning (especes) and form (figures) aspects of words are handled separately. Regarding especes, Heyns speaks of primitifs (“oorspronckelijcke”) (1605), i.e. primitive nouns (e.g., bon, “goet”), and derivatifs (“afcomstighe”) (1605), i.e. derivative nouns (e.g. bonté, “deucht oft goetheyt”), from which the meaning of the primitive nouns can be derived. With regard to the form aspect we encounter simple figure (“eenvoudighe of slechte ghedaente”), i.e. simple form (1605) (e.g. juste “rechtveerdich”) and figure composéé (“verknocht ghestalte oft deylbaer ghedaente”), i.e. compound form (1605) (e.g. in-juste “onrechtveerdich”). But Heyns’s examination of these traditional features, i.e. the accidents of nouns, also brings up some striking considerations and facts. Of the accident “comparaison”, for example, he says that within the noun class only adjectives may be compared, but that the formation of diminutives of substantives may be regarded as a similar process (e.g. verge “roede”, vergette “roeyken”). In CO (1605) Heyns furthermore notices that in Dutch the diminutive, formed by adding the suffix -ken, regardless of the original gender of the substantive, is always neuter, while the French substantive retains its gender. Such explicit comparisons between French and Dutch are regularly found in CO (1605) (but not in CO (1571)), which thus offer us valuable information about the Dutch language. When treating the accident “cas” (case) Heyns again adopts the classical model, which is why he distinguishes six cases. However, from the information that the author provides, it is – to name but another interesting example – obvious that French only has three cases (nominative, genitive and dative) remaining. The accusative, vocative and ablative have all merged with the previously mentioned cases. Moreover, substantives do not become inflected, only the article which precedes it. Furthermore, as part of the traditional accidentia approach in CO (1605) Heyns even briefly mentions some issues of word order, such as the fact that the adjective in French must be placed after the substantive (for example, vin rouge “rooden wijn”).

The second chapter of CO is about pronouns (six pages in (1571) and twelve in (1605)). Both editions begin by stating that this word class has six accidents, which are merely listed. However, the six listed accidents do not fully match in CO (1571) and (1605); cf. (1571) espece, personne, genre, figure, nombre and cas met declinaison and (1605) espece/aerdt, personne/persoon, genre/gheslachte, figure/ghedaente, cas/val and declinaison/buygingh oft vervallingh. In CO (1571) cas and declinaison are seen as a single accident in pronouns, while in CO (1605) these are regarded as separate ones. But because nombre is missing from the list in CO (1605), the number of accidents also comes to six in this edition. What may cause confusion in the classification of these features here is the fact that declension is actually a hyperonymous category for case, number and gender. Declension entails nothing other than the changes which are expressed in form, case, number and gender whenever relevant. The pronouns in both editions of CO are split into four groups: demonstratifs “aenwijsers” (1605) (including personal and reflexive pronouns), possessifs  “besitters” (1605), relatifs ”betreckers” (1605) and interrogatifs “vraghers” (1605), and they are treated subsequently. Emphasis is generally placed on declension, which is illustrated with examples alongside their Dutch equivalents. Furthermore, we also encounter example sentences (including Dutch translations) which focus on the use of pronouns. In CO (1605), here and there, the reader is explicitly made aware of the differences in use between French and Dutch.

The third chapter, on verbs, is the last chapter of CO (1571). Although the section is incomplete, it remains the longest chapter with fourteen pages. The structure is identical to that of the chapter in the 1605 edition (fifty pages): general definition of verbs, listing and defining the kinds of verbs – active and passive verbs, auxiliary verbs (Heyns interprets aydans “helpwoorden, behulpsame woorden” as auxiliaries of time, which complete the conjugation) and impersonal verbs – derivation of substantive verbs and vice versa, naming the accidents of verbs (figure “ghedaente” (1605), coniugaison “verandering oft vervoeging” (1605) (classifying French verbs into four classes on the basis of their infinitival ending: -er, -ir, -or or -re), mode “maniere oft wijse” (1605), temps “tijdt” (1605), personne “persoon” (1605) and nombre “ghetal” (1605)). After that, the accidents of verbs are dealt with one by one in both editions. Interestingly, in the case of verbs the issue of “complexity” of a word is, unlike substantives (cf. espece, complexity with regard to meaning, and figure, complexity with regard to form), approached  only from the form aspect: e.g. venir “comen” (simple form) and advenir “toe-comen”, prevenir “voor-comen”, revenir “weder-comen” (compound forms).

Furthermore, comparisons between French and Dutch are also made with verbs in case of the number of accidents in both editions. Thus, the perfect in French can be expressed in two ways, whereas Dutch has only one form for this. In CO (1605) for the accident “coniugaison” the author refers even to the first Dutch grammar, Twe-spraack from 1584, which says that also in Dutch several (five as a matter of fact) verb classes can be distinguished, though not on the basis of infinitive endings (Dutch only has one, -en), but on the basis of the differences in expressing past tenses. The incomplete final chapter of CO (1571) ends by giving conjugation examples, i.e. by the conjugation of the auxiliaries avoir “have” and estre “be”, but the second part (preteritum, perfectum, plusquamperfectum, futurum perfectum and the infinitive) of the conjugation of estre is missing. In CO (1605), in which this chapter has been preserved intact, the conjugation of the auxiliaries of tense ends with examining how these verbs are conjugated in interrogative and negative sentences and with some considerations about the pronunciation of avoir in the different conjugated forms, followed by a discussion of the uses of estre and the difficulty of translating this verb in Dutch. Subsequently, a number of examples are given of the conjugation of the four classes of French verbs and of the conjugation of the passive voice, in which a number of issues of word order are dealt with as well. The impersonal verb is mentioned briefly, too. The chapter ends with some considerations about which complements the active and passive verbs govern. A striking feature in the last part of this chapter is that we no longer encounter any Dutch terminology alongside French, nor do we encounter any Dutch equivalents alongside French examples. Also, the French example sentences are only translated in a number of cases, whereas CO (1605) had been very consistent in this respect.

The remaining five chapters of CO (1605) are much shorter compared to the preceding chapters: Participes “Naem-woorden” (two pages), Adverbes “By-woorden” (six pages), Prepositions “Voor-setsels” (two and a half pages), Conjonctions “Voeghers” (one and a half pages) and Interjections “In-worpsels” (1 page). All these chapters have in common that they start with the definition of the word class and that besides the examples there are no Dutch equivalents, nor are many of the example sentences translated into Dutch. Furthermore, the chapter on participles emphasises that participles possess both the properties of substantives and those of verbs. The adverb chapter contains a list in which each adverb is arranged according to its meaning (indication of time, place, manner, affirmation, negation, quality etc.). It also states that it is possible to derive adverbs from adjectives by adding the -ment suffix. This process leads to derived adverbs that – as opposed to the other adverbs – can be compared. In the chapter on the preposition, Heyns examines which prepositions govern which case. The chapter on the conjunction emphasises the nature of the relationship they establish between sentences.

CO (1605) ends with “Besluyt deser Acht deelen”, in which one paragraph is devoted to French word order, illustrated with a number of example sentences with Dutch translations. And, finally, the most important findings about the parts of speech treated in the book are summarised in verse (“De acht deelen riim-wiis int Corte vervat”).

3. The Nieuwe Nederduytsche Spraek-Konst

Volume 2 of the series, NNSK, contains 101 pages. The grammar was originally approved for publication in 1761, though no copy remains extant from that year. The reissue of the book is based on the third edition from 1812, which is relatively neat. NNSK starts with a preface (“Voor-rede”, four pages) which clearly shows the aim of the book: Jan des Roches wants students to become acquainted with spelling rules (where he strives for simplification and neatness), and the morphology and syntax of Dutch. Knowledge of the mother tongue will be particularly useful for the learning of Latin, he argues, which should naturally still receive priority. The main subject of NNSK, i.e. the grammar of Dutch, is treated in three parts. The first part (nineteen pages) is about spelling, the second part (fifty-eight pages), which is the core of the book, treats morphology, and the third part (ten pages) discusses syntax. The terminological framework of the book shows a somewhat varied picture: usually Dutchified Latin terms (e.g. vocaelen, diphtongen, triphtongen) though Dutch terms, created after the example of Latin, are used as well (e.g. mede-klinkers “consonants”, geluidteekens “accents”, noemer “nominative”, aanklaeger “accusative”, roeper “vocative”) alongside Latin terms (e.g. circumflexus, aphostophus, masculinum). At times, we detect a notion of insecurity in the use of Dutch terms (naemvallengevallen “cases”; aenwyzende voórnaemen – aentoonende voórnaemen “demonstratives”).

The first part starts by listing the letters in the Dutch alphabet (in alphabetical order), which are subsequently divided into vocalen, diftongen, triftongen and mede-klinkers and treated under these categories. Especially the discussion on vocalen, diftongen and triftongen is striking in its observations and considerations concerning spelling and pronunciation, since these are often presented somewhat unsystematically and can’t be distinguished from each other clearly. Take for example the diphthongs: not only combinations of successive vowels within one syllable (e.g. ey in goedheyd – a diphthong in pronunciation) fall under the category of diphthongs, but also vowel combinations where the second vowel is merely written to indicate the length of the preceding vowel (e.g. oo in hoofd or ue in muer – a diphthong in spelling but not pronunciation). The last combinations are no diphthongs as such, of which des Roches is aware: “[…] er veéle Diphtongen zijn, als ae, ee, oo, en ue, die in geluyd enkele Vocaelen niet verschillen, […]” (1812: 26; “there are many diphthongs, e.g. ae, ee, oo and ue, that don’t differ from simple vowels in pronunciation”). The consonants are treated in alphabetical order.

In agreement with the goal to teach students to spell neatly the author here and there passes judgement on certain spellings of consonants. Thus, he disapproves of the use of c for k in native words like ik and strik and of the use of gh- and th- for g- and t- in words like ghy and thonen. Furthermore, when treating a number of consonants, the author (without giving a name to it) clearly formulates (and applies) the princple which is currently called “principle of uniformity” (a principle which along with other principles imposes certain restrictions on the basic principle, i.e. the phonological principle). When discussing the use of ch and g, we can for instance read the following: “Indien een grondwoórd met ch geschreéven word, zullen alle woórden, die van het zelve worden afgeleyd, met ch geschreéven worden; van gelyken zal men de g gebruyken, indien het grondwoórd de g vereyscht. [lachenlach; leggenik lag] (1812: 29; “If the base form of a word is spelled with ch, all words deriving from this form must be written with ch; similarly, g is used if the base form requires a g”). According to current spelling rules we even encounter overuse of this principle in NNSK: “Om dat worden met eene d geschreéven word, zal, ik word, gy word, en alles wat van worden voortskomt met de d, en niet met de t gesloóten worden” (1812: 31; “Because the verb worden is written with a d, all forms of this verb, ik word, gy word, must end in d rather than t”). The problem here is that in case of gy word application of the principle of uniformity leaves morphological transparency out of consideration: in this verb form the ending t that must be added to the root of the verb (word-) has a grammatical function. It expresses 2nd person singular or plural and this function should be reflected in the spelling (see (gy) word + -t à wordt).

At the end of the first part of NNSK two more topics are raised: on the one hand, the different accents are defined, described and extensively illustrated with examples. On the other hand, a list of homophones is presented. This list is interesting because from the word pairs it contains we can draw some conclusions about the pronunciation of Dutch around 1800. To name but an example: that “Rede [“speech]”, redevoering of spraek, in ’t latyn oratio, sermo” and “Reden [“reason”], dat regtmaetig is, in ’t latyn ratio” are presented as homophones indicates that already at that time there was a tendency to leave out final -n after schwa in the pronunciaton of words like this.

In the second part of NNSK, which focuses on the morphology of Dutch, Des Roches distinguishes between nine deelen “parts of speech” (naemwoórd “noun”, artikel, voórnaem “pronoun”, werkwoórd “verb”, deelwoórd “participle”, byword “adverb”, tusschenzetsel “interjection”, voorzetsel “preposition” and koppelwoórd “conjunction”). In addition, he treats articles as a separate word class – in contrast to Peeter Heyns, who in CO (1605) (despite some hesitancy due to his awareness that the article is not a Latin category, nevertheless) adopted the traditional eight parts of speech classification and treats articles in the section on nouns. But in case of a different word class, the “tusschenzetsels”, also Des Roches adopts the traditional system of parts of speech and treats this category as a separate word class, even though according to Des Roches interjections could be treated among adverbs. Subsequently the word classes are treated in separate chapters. In these chapters we encounter some interesting details: the substantives and adjectives – as in CO – are treated here as constituting a single category (naemwoord). However, Des Roches does not explicitly make use of the traditional feature-based (accidentia) approach. But the properties which he treats (number, gender, declension, comparison of adjectives and diminutive forming with substantives), and the way in which he discusses these properties, remind us very much of the traditional model. I will give two examples of this.

Firstly, although no terms are explicitly given, the meaning and form aspects of the issue of the complexity of nouns are still treated separately here – as in CO (cf. especes with subcategories primitifs “oorspronckelijcke”, i.e. primitive, and derivatifs “afcomstighe”, i.e. derivative nouns, and figures with subcategories simple figure “eenvoudighe of slechte ghedaente”, i.e. simple form and figure composéé “verknocht ghestalte oft deylbaer ghedaente”, i.e. composed form). We can therefore not speak of a form–meaning–relationship treatment; cf. the following two categorisations: (1) (meaning aspect) oorspronkelyke or grondwoórden “primitives” (goed) and afgeleyde woórden “derivatives” (goedheyd) and (2) (form aspect) simple (stervelyk) and compound (onstervelyk) nouns.

Secondly, on declension, the author distinguishes between six cases after the example of Latin: noemer “nominative”, teeler “genitive”, geéver “dative”, aenklaeger “accusative”, roeper “vocative”, neémer “ablative”. For all that, he is clearly aware that there are substantial differences between Dutch and Latin in this respect: in Latin the substantive itself is declined, whereas in Dutch the substantive no longer takes any inflectional endings (apart from certain residual cases such as stad “town” nom. vs. stede gen.), but it is the preceding articles that are declined, and Des Roches therefore discusses declension only in the chapter on articles. From his comments on the declension in that chapter, it appears that we can clearly speak of loss of the old case system: analytical forms are used alongside inflectional endings (e.g. the description of the genitive by way of the van-construction) while certain cases show the result of a process called levelling (nominative and accusative; genitive and ablative).

The loss of the case system is also evident in the word class of pronouns. In NNSK – in contrast to the four types in the CO – six types of pronouns are distinguished: personalia or personeéle “personal”, possessiva or bezittende “possessive”, demonstrativa or aentoonende “demonstrative”, interrogativa or vraegende “interrogative”, relativa or betrekking-hebbende “relative” and indefinita or onbepaeld “indefinite”. Personal and demonstrative pronouns are thus not treated as a subcategory of pronouns, as in CO, but as independent subcategories. When treating the personal pronouns, which still includes the reflexive pronoun zich, among other things, it is the use of hen and hun to which special attention is paid by the author. Apparently these forms were already used interchangeably (at least in spoken language) around that time. Compared to the subcategory classification of the pronouns in CO (which of course drew on French and not Dutch), we encounter a new subcategory, namely that of indefinite pronouns which comprises words like elk een, ieder een, iemand, niemand, alle, sommige etc.
In the author’s treatment of the category verbs in the next chapter, we notice on the one hand again a certain attachment to the traditional Latin model (e.g. he distinguishes five participle forms: hoópende, gehoopt, gehoopt hebbende, zullende hoópen and zullende gehoópt hebben, of which the last three clearly appear to be artificially created forms). But on the other hand he is clearly aware of the loss of original verb endings, through which different forms have levelled, such as the indicative and the subjunctive; consequently, mood is no longer formally distinguished. The analytical forms used for the expression of tense (the perfect: hebben “have”/ zijn “be” + past participle) already entered the Germanic language in a very early stage, but in the Dutch of Des Roches’s time the use of analytical forms for certain moods and the replacement of the inflectional endings in those moods were apparently already inevitable, even when the author himself – in contrast to observed usage – pleads for the keeping of the differences in inflectional endings. In all likelihood, zullen “shall/will”, in all its functions including modal ones such as for the expression of the subjunctive is therefore regarded as an auxiliary, which is used to indicate tense. Thus, he speaks of the Incertum (indefinite tense) in the example ik zoude hoópen “I should hope” and of the Incertum compositum (composite indefinite tense) in the example ik zoude gelooft hebben “I should have believed”. However, many grammarians of the time regarded these forms – as Des Roches himself indicates, but disagrees with – as periphrastic subjunctives, thus indicating a mood not a tense. The discussion of auxiliaries, or “behulpsaeme werkwoorden”, is also interesting. These are regarded, as in CO, as elements necessary to complete the conjugation of verbs. The resulting “complete conjugation”, however, not only includes the different tenses, but also passive constructions. Thus, not only the auxiliaries indicating tense, but also the passive auxiliary worden “be” belong to this category. However, just as in CO, the modal auxiliaries are not included in this category in NNSK (zullen/zouden “shall/should” is treated in all its functions, including modal, as auxiliary of tense).

The remainder of the second part of NNSK deals with the remaining word classes. Here, some of the word classes are linked by comparing their function. Adverbs and adjectives both indicate, according to Des Roches, circumstances. In doing so, adverbs modify verbs, while adjectives modify substantives. Thus, adverbs have a similar relation to verbs as adjectives have to substantives. Prepositions and conjunctions both are used to establish “den samenhang der Rede, met dit verschil, dat zy meer tot het aen-een-knoopen der Verba, en de Præpositien meer tot de Nomina worden gebruykt” (1812:97; “relationship between the parts of speech, differing only in that conjunctions serve to link verbs and prepositions are used more with nouns”).

The third part of NNSK deals with syntax. In this book – in contrast to CO (1605) – a separate part is devoted to sentence structure. The congruence between adjective, pronoun, participle and substantive is dealt with first and it is illustrated with examples. Des Roches makes the reader aware that congruence is something which many “Hollanders” seem to forget through the use of incorrect conjugation (e.g. een groote Koning instead of een grooten Koning “a big king”). This once again indicates the levelling of case endings and loss of the case system, although the author himself will maintain usage of different inflectional endings and tolerates the occurrence of the levelling of case endings only when consideration of poetic license. Other subjects in the third part include the congruence between subject (substantive in the nominative) and the predicate and their word order (everything which belongs to the subject, for example, a subordinate clause, must stay together); examples for the use of the different pronouns; word order in active and passive sentences (in the latter case it is interesting to see that the agent, in contrast to modern Dutch, can not only be indicated through the use of the door construction, but also through the use of the van construction); the use and description of the te “to” + infinitive construction and, finally, the position of word classes such as adverbs and conjunctions in the sentence.

NNSK ends with a table of contents (Tafel, three pages), a Goed-keuring “approval” of NNSK by P. Verheyen (one page) and a Privilegie, a kind of copyright, signed by F.J. Mostinck and with an imprimatur from empress Maria Theresia.

4. Conclusion

The series Geschiedenis van het Talenonderwijs in de Lage Landen was instigated in order to make texts on language education and cultural history more widely available and to stimulate research in these areas. The first texts in this series unequivocally present excellent opportunities for research in language education: how CO, a French school grammar written in Dutch, and NNSK, a Dutch school grammar written in Dutch, fit into the grammatical tradition (foreign language grammars, school grammars) of the Lower Countries, and which works these books influenced and vice versa, which works influenced these school grammars. These are all relevant and interesting research topics within the field of language education. The reissue of CO and NNSK are, however, also valuable sources for historiographical linguistic research. These books can, for example, offer a significant contribution to the exploration of the development of Dutch grammatical terminology (such as how dutchification of jargon develops), or the exploration of the state of Dutch at the time, for instance with help of the comparisons made between French and Dutch in CO(1605) or the observations made by Des Roches about Dutch in the NNSK. Given the fact that the authors of CO and NNSK can be linked to both the Southern and Northern Netherlands, it may be worthwhile to approach systematically the northern and southern elements in each book (e.g. Hantwerpen instead of Antwerpen or heysschen “to lift” instead of eysschen, which are typical examples of southern Dutch hypercorrective use of h- in CO).  Such research may yield interesting results. Finally, it may be a worthwhile consideration to make these texts (and others to come) electronically available in order to facilitate research.

Zsófia Tálasi, Budapest (contact the reviewer) (translated from Dutch by Matthijs Smits).