Ann Marynissen: Sprachwandel zwischen Evolution und Normierung. Die e-Apokope als Bruchstelle zwischen dem Niederländischen und dem Deutschen
The e-apocope is a sound change which arose at roughly the same time in both the northwestern Dutch and the southeastern German language areas, steered by the same phonological/prosodic factors. It diffused to the southeast from the Hollandic dialects and to the northwest from the Bavarian ones. The two areas merged in the fifteenth century, but a short time later the Dutch and German paths diverged under the influence of standardization. In German, the further spread of the apocope was retarded by the normative influence of the developing standard language, since the latter was based on a variety in which this feature was only present to a limited extent. In Dutch, however, the apocope was retained, in that the dropping of the -e was an essential characteristic of the Hollandic dialect which formed the basis of the Dutch standard. Language change is balanced between evolution and standardization. A natural sound change can be slowed or arrested by the process of standardization and development of a written norm, but this can also reinforce it. The tension between evolution and standardization has led to a grammatical rift between Dutch and German.