The Fryske Akademy (FRY) has played a leading role in the documentation, archiving and research of linguistic diversity in the Fryslan province, including the different dialects of West Frisian, Dutch, Low Saxonian and several mixed language varieties since its foundation in 1938. Its research projects are centered around three themes: (i) language standardization and description, (ii) synchrony and diachrony in language, and (iii) multilingualism and language learning.
Fryske Akademy is extremely well equipped to advance the first, second and third theme of this proposal. Fryske Akademy has a long tradition in making research data available, and has the ambition to become the open access portal to all data on West-Frisian, for both researchers and the general audience. FA has also been playing an important role in the standardization of West Frisian, in the introduction and monitoring of multilingual education programs and in the development of language tools (dictionaries, grammars, spelling checkers, automatic translation, automatic speech recognition, etc.), often in collaboration with public and private partners.
Fryske Akademy also hosts the Mercator European Research Center on Multilingualism and Language Learning, an internationally recognized, independent reference center, where policy makers and stakeholders can obtain information and advice about multilingual education, policy and legislation in Europe, based on academic research. To obtain reliable information about small languages spoken in other European countries, Mercator closely cooperates with other European experts, institutions and universities.
Research questions under study at Mercator include:
- How are less used languages embedded in the policy of Europe’s nations, and how might their position be strengthened?
- How are less used languages embedded in the education system of Europe’s nations?
- How might the working environment and the education system benefit from the multilingual reality that we face today?
- How can the visibility and the online presence of less used languages be improved?