- Funding Period: March 2018-September 2019
- Funder: Smithsonian Institution for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
- Programme: Sustaining Minority Languages in Europe (SMiLE)
- Budget: US$ 120,000
- Academic Team: Femmy Admiraal, Nils Langer & Lena Terhart
- Host Dept: Frisian Studies, University of Flensburg
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.
- Admiraal, Femmy, Nils Langer & Lena Terhart. 'Measuring Effectiveness – A study on changes in minority language use and perception due to revitalisation efforts, with evidence from North Frisian.' 1st Conference on Frisian Humanities, Fryske Akademy, Leeuwarden. (Apr)
- Langer, Nils. Challenges of North Frisian Language Policy. Research Colloquium, Department of German. University of Cambridge. (Nov)
- Admiraal, Femmy, Nils Langer & Lena Terhart. Progress Report and Queries. SMiLE-project meeting. NUI Galway. (Nov)
- Langer, Nils. Is Frisian a Pluricentric Language?. Language, Cultures, and Nations. International Conference at the University of Stockholm. (May)
- Admiraal, Femmy & Lena Terhart. Responses to 50 years of North Frisian in education. 17th International Conference on Minority Languages, Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning, Leeuwarden. (May)
- Admiraal, Femmy. Sustaining Minoritized Languages in Europe - the case of North Frisian. Lunchtime talk at KNAW-DANS, Den Haag. (Jun)
- Langer, Nils. 'Wan frasch, dan uk rucht frasch.' Zur Wahrnehmung von Sprachrichtigkeit bei friesischen MuttersprachlerInnen.' Forschungskolloquium. Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. (Jun)
- Langer, Nils. 'Book Frisians are pretty perferct as regards grammar but they are also exhausting as they keep correcting us.' On Evaluating Language Use and Language Contact in North Frisia. German(ic) in Language Contact.International Conference FU Berlin. (Jul)
- Langer, Nils. Minderheitensprachensprecher im Spannungsfeld von new speakers und Sprachkodizes, am Beispiel des Nordfriesischen. LaienWissenSprache. International Conference at the University of Kiel. (Sept)
- Admiraal, Femmy, Nils Langer & Lena Terhart. On the Effectiveness of Minority Languages in Education for the Promotion of Cultural Values and Linguistics Survival. Final SMiLE-Project conference. Föhr. (Oct)
- Admiraal, Femmy. 2020. Winter Ends with a Bonfire: Culture and Community in North Frisia. Folklife, digital magazine of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington.
- Bosse, Temmo & Nils Langer. 2020. 'Zur Wahrnehmung von Sprachnormautoritäten im Nordfriesischen.' In: Andresen, Helga, Elin Fredsted & Franz Januschek (Hgg.). Regionale Sprachenvielfalt. Hildesheim: Olms. 59-84.
- Langer, Nils. 2021a. mit Johanna Gregersen. 'Linguistic Purism and Smaller Languages - with examples from North Frisian.' In Zimmer, Christian & Horst Simon. Language Contact. Berlin: Language Sciences Press.
- Langer, Nils. 2021b. Standardisierung im Nordfriesischen. In: Walker et al. TBC.
Fellows of the Smithsonian Institution
- Prof. Nils Langer (University of Flensburg)
- Dr Femmy Admiraal (KNAW-DANS, Den Haag)
- Lena Terhart (University of Flensburg)
Other team members (in alphabetical order)
- Antje Arfsten (Nordfriisk Instituut Bredstedt)
- Temmo Bosse (University of Flensburg)
- Prof. Jeroen Darquennes (University of Namur, Belgium)
- Dr Jelske Dijkstra (Fryske Akademy Leeuwarden, The Netherlands)
- Dr Nanna Haug Hilton (University of Groningen)
- Prof. Jarich Hoekstra (University of Kiel, Germany)
- Dr Joshua Wilbur (University of Freiburg)
- Prof. Colin Williams (University of Cardiff)
RQ1. Summative I: What types of language revitalisation activities have taken place at what time in what areas of the North Frisian language region?
RQ2. Summative II: What scholarly research has been conducted with what aims and in which parts of North Frisia?
RQ3. Data collection I: In what geographical area / villages and with what socio-demographic dynamics are the figures for language competence and language usage highest or lowest?
RQ4. Data collection II: What is the perception of the North Frisian language, its users and any language planning / revitalisation activities that consultants have encountered?
RQ5: Analysis: What correlations can be observed or posited between the existence of (historical or current) language revitalisation activities and changes in the competence, usage or perception of minority languages, in our case, that of North Frisian?
RQ6: Analysis: What wider conclusions can be drawn from a comparison of our findings for North Frisian and that of other case studies?
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