Linguistic Assertiveness to Contest Minorization: Observations from Small Interventions to Boost the Use of Frisian in Fryslân


  • G. Belmar Viernes



As Belmar, van Boven & Pinho (2019) pointed out, Frisians tend to quickly switch to Dutch in conversations in which their interlocutor either answers in Dutch or exhibits signs of struggling with Frisian. This accommodation is often seen as an act of politeness, but it also contributes to the minorization of, in this case, Frisian. Suay & Sanginés (2010) argue that linguistic assertiveness needs to be considered in language promotion campaigns, as it aims to empower speakers to break away from these dynamics of diglossia. 
In this paper we will present qualitative observations from two small interventions where 15 participants took part in Linguistic Assertiveness workshops designed to train them to trust receptive multilingualism and engage in bilingual conversations. The observations from these interventions show that politeness ideologies are an obstacle for the embrace of multilingual conversations, but positive attitudes and reports of positive experiences suggest that these can be contested. The results also suggest that further application of linguistic assertiveness - and the consequent embracing of bi-/multilingual conversations - may have a boosting effect on the use of the Frisian language in the province.