Seven things I learned in Friesland

1. Friesans are Dutch, but not. And Frisian is like Dutch, but is not Dutch. In fact, it’s closer to English than to Dutch. I feel that I should have learned this much earlier in my Dutch experience – professional shame on me!

2. Friesland has almost 50 trlingual primary schools – Frisian, Dutch and English. It’s a great program, and it’s working.

3. Researchers and trainers across Europe are at work on programs meant to bring foreign languages (what “foreign” means is another topic…) to school children from earlier ages.

4. There is an institute in the Netherlands doing fantastic work with children with communication issues (Kentalis). They have staff who understand and work with families dealing with language issues in bilingual children.

5. The results of the research program show that EU teachers want more training in working with language learners.

6. There are families in the EU that are monolingual, and so dedicated to the idea of bilingualism for their children that the parents are undertaking the job of learning and teaching their children another language (Google “Hocus and Lotus”.

7. There is a whole network of like-minded people out there, ready and happy to talk about bilingualism with me, in my Year of Talking About Bilingualism!

2 thoughts on “Seven things I learned in Friesland

  1. eacrisfield says:

    Some really interesting information on the educational revival of Gaelic (in Northern Ireland). A true testament to how dedication to a heritage language can move mountains! Now I just need to learn a bit of Gaelic (my daughter does Irish Dance, so we already know the music!).


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