Research Project

Measuring Effectiveness - A study on changes in minority language use and perception due to revitalisation efforts, with evidence from North Frisian

Short Description

The present project aims to measure the effectiveness of past and present revitalization activities for North Frisian (ISO code: frr), a severely endangered West Germanic language spoken along the coastline and islands of Northwestern Germany by some 5000-10,000 speakers (Århammar 1968, 2008). At present, the socio-demographic description of North Frisian lacks truly robust figures on the number of speakers and the geographical spread of where North Frisian is spoken. In addition, it is not sufficiently clear which language planning and revitalization efforts have been implemented in which places throughout the region over what time period(s), thus making it difficult to arrive at a distinguishing analysis of the application and success of such efforts. Our project aims at filling these gaps, providing insight into the nature as well as into the effects of these different revitalization activities.

In order to measure the effectiveness of the activities, it first intends to offer a detailed survey of the language planning or revitalization initiatives that have been undertaken at different times and in different regions, villages or towns, and provide an overview of the scholarly work that has been conducted on North Frisian. Subsequently, the status quo of the usage of the language today will be documented in detail, focusing particularly on the language competence and perception in the different regions, villages, and towns. Finally, the project compares these findings and seeks to identify any explicit or implicit links between the past and present revitalization activities on the one hand and current competence and perception of the language on the other, intending to uncover whether any correlations, or indeed causal connections, exist between the two.