Attitudes and Language Use of (Potential) New Speakers of a Minoritized Language: The Case of Adults Learning West Frisian in Formal Courses

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Adults learning a minoritized language are potential new speakers, that is “adults who acquire a socially and communicatively consequential level of competence and practice in a minority language” (Jaffe, 2015; see also O’Rourke, Pujolar, & Ramallo, 2015). New speakers’ research has become quite common recently, marking a shift from traditional notions of speakerness in minority contexts, built around the Fishmanian discourse of reversing language shift (see Kubota, 2009). The new speaker—actually neo-speaker—is one of the seven categories put forward by Grinevald and Bert (2011), who considered them central to language revitalization. Answering the call for more data on new speakers of minoritized languages in O’Rourke, Pujolar, & Ramallo, 2015, this research aims to start the debate on the new speakers of Frisian (see Belmar, 2018; Belmar, Eikens, Jong, Miedema, & Pinho, 2018; and Belmar, Boven, & Pinho, 2019) by means of a questionnaire filled in by adults learning the language in the evening courses offered by Afûk. This article presents an analysis of their backgrounds, their attitudes towards the language, and their language use.

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