PLM2009 Workshop session: Heritage and identity of Frisians and their language

The subject matter of this workshop shall constitute the state of the art and the prospects of Frisian studies. Its main aim is to expose the investigative achievements of individual researchers and professional organizations which have enriched the history of ideas through their strivings for the promotion of Frisian and its native bearers. In an indirect way, the core of its interest will be the uniqueness and separateness of Frisian, as a language closely related to English, which is spoken today in some coastal areas of the Netherlands and Germany.

In particular, the convenors of the workshop would like to bring together those scholars who are willing to present, in their special field of study or interest, the results of their inquiries into the sense of identity of Frisians (in the Netherlands as well as in Germany), especially, as far as the distinctiveness of the Frisian language is concerned. Regarding the aspects of Frisianness, participants of the workshop may provide explanations of the role of the social-cultural factors which have entailed the growth of ethnic consciousness among the Frisians and contributed to the shift of focus regarding their sense of identity from the history to the language, i.e., from the political liberty to linguistic separateness. Another topic of interest to scholars may well be the existence of mutual relationships between the practitioners of Frisian studies and, also, between them and the representatives of other scientific specialties, on the local, national and global scale. On the basis of particular presentations, it will be interesting to learn which domains of disciplinary knowledge about the Frisians and their language have been specifically developed and which research works have been conducted in those respective domains. It is hoped that the scholarly contributions of guests from other countries who will attend the workshop might well contribute to the popularization of this rare discipline in Poland where the knowledge about Frisian among other Germanic languages has been until recently not so much exposed as in the case of English, German or Dutch studies.

Keeping in mind the exceptionality of this investigative domain, the participants of the workshop are encouraged to concentrate on the heritage and identity either of Frisians as a separate group in relation to their language or of Frisian as a separate language in relation to their users. To assess the respective aims, perspectives and domains of Frisian studies, they may possibly ponder such detailed issues as: (1) Linguistic and cultural separateness of Frisians (linguistic and cultural traits of Frisians as markers of distance to other groups); (2) Individual and collective expression forms of Frisian identity in the past and at present; (3) Individuals and institutions engaged in the study and promotion of Frisian (the Frisian movement); (4) The position of Frisians as a linguistic minority within the Dutch and/or German culture (and also within the context of European culture in general).

Session organisers

  • Elżbieta Wąsik (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), email: wasik <at>
  • Oebele Vries (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), email: o.vries <at>

(In the email addresses above, replace "<at>" with "@".)

Abstract submission procedure

Please follow the general submission guidelines but send your abstract directly to the session organisers.