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Multilingualism in Friesland.

Placing Frisian in a national and international context further emphasises the beauty of the language, both within and outside the provincial borders. We don’t want to isolate Frisian, our aim is it let it be heard in interaction with the rest of the world. We’d like people everywhere to discover Frisian and work with the language, and therefore awaken young generations (who aren’t particularly culturally isolated) to the special nature of multilingualism as we know it here. It’s important to note that we don’t just want to make Frisian heard in interaction with other minority languages, but also with the ‘major’ languages, to make it more accessible.

Poet Tsead Bruinja, current Poet of the Fatherland, is a good example of someone who’s making Frisian more accessible, instead of isolating it. His expressions are always multilingual, and he constantly adapts his language. For a Frisian audience he uses Frisian, while for a Dutch-speaking audience he places Frisian next to Dutch so people can understand his poems and get acquainted with Frisian at the same time. He also translates into English for international audiences. Bruinja moves dynamically between ‘his’ languages. His curious and communicative attitude has built a solid bridge between different language areas. This is exactly how Leeuwarden, as a UNESCO City of Literature, wants to approach multilingualism and Frisian.