New speakers of West Frisian: Promoting language learning and use to foster revitalisation
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Description: West Frisian, the second official language in the Netherlands, is a minority language that has been classified by UNESCO as being in danger of becoming extinct. West Frisian is being protected and promoted by means of provincial language planning. So far, the main focus of such language planning has been on encouraging ‘traditional’ speakers to use their language. However, as a result of wider societal changes, it has become crucial to extend the focus of language planning to getting more ‘new’ speakers to learn and use Frisian. The term ‘new speakers’ refers to “individuals with little or no home or community exposure to a minority language but who instead acquire it through immersion or bilingual educational programs, revitalization projects or as adult language learners” (O’Rourke, Pujolar & Ramallo 2015: 1). New speakers can strongly contribute to the vitality of minority languages like West Frisian. However, there are comparatively few new speakers of West Frisian – and many of them primarily use the language in the classroom. Component 1 of this study examines current new speakers’ attitudes towards West Frisian and its varieties, with a focus on potential language planning measures to encourage the learning of West Frisian. Component 2 investigates new speakers language practices and their predictors – both with a focus on potential language planning measures to encourage the use of West Frisian.
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