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Language movement and language loss among Frisian migrants

Preliminary results

Simmer2000', an event for which thousands of Frisians have returned to Fryslân, is an opportunity for the Fryske Akademy to launch an investigation into language movement and language loss among Frisian emigrants.

The Akademy is conducting a research project jointly with the State University of Groningen (department of psychology) and the University of Amsterdam (department of general economy). Six thousand Frisian emigrants to 65 countries have been approached. The project is mainly aimed at answering the question of how things have fared with the emigrants since leaving their native country.

Several aspects of this question will come in for attention in sub-studies. One is the 'Language movement and language loss' aspect already mentioned.

The Fryske Akademy and the Frisian Department of the University of Amsterdam want to chart the process of language movement and language loss among Frisian emigrants. To what extent have older generations been able to pass on their mother tongue (Frisian) to the next generation? Is there any mixing of languages? These are the questions that come up in this specific sub-study. The project will result in a dissertation.

The sub-study will be conducted by Drs Gemma Bakker. She studied Communication at the State University of Groningen, concluding her training with a thesis about Dutch migrants to South Africa and New Zealand. She then conducted research into migrants in New Zealand.

In her study, Mrs Bakker will utilise all the survey material she collected in her general research about migrants in New Zealand. During the Simmer 2000 event, she has been doing extensive field work. Hundreds of interviews on language use and language command have been conducted. Tape recordings have been made to determine the quality of the Frisian spoken.

If you would like to learn more about this investigation you can contact:

the Fryske Akademy
P.O. Box 54
8900 AB  Ljouwert

fax: 0031582131409

www.fryske-akademy.nl

or you could send an email to cvdmeer(a)fa.knaw.nl