Case Study: Taaltaske (‘Language Pack’) – Early Language Learning in Friesland

Language Rich Europe promotes the sharing of good practice in the area of multilingualism. On our website, you can read and submit your own case studies.

In this post, we focus on one from the Dutch province of Friesland, which is actively promoting early language learning.

Many recommend learning languages as early as possible – improved literacy skills, increased confidence, more effective cognitive skills and a broader cultural understanding are just a few of the benefits often mentioned. New research even suggests that we can begin learning languages before we are born.

In Friesland, the bilingual province of the Netherlands, they take early language learning seriously – issuing a language pack (Taaltaske) to all parents when they register a birth. The pack contains information on raising a bilingual child, a Frisian children’s book and CD with children’s songs.  As the case study on the Language Rich Europe website explains

Young/future Frisian parents in the Province of Fryslân are often not aware of the possibilities of raising their child bilingually. The Taaltaske is a way to explain to them how they can go about raising their child bilingually.

This early introduction to Frisian is supported by formal education, with the language being a compulsory subject in primary schools and many using it as the language of instruction.

Submit your own case study now!

Today’s launch: The Netherlands and Friesland

The Netherlands 

Did you know that…

“In the Netherlands there is a lot of importance given to Dutch as well as the English language in general. Other than English, foreign languages are not that often available and there is little space given to immigrant languages.”

Friesland

Did you know that…

“Upon registering the birth of their child, parents in Fryslân are presented with a language pack (‘Taaltaske’). This language pack is offered by the province of Fryslân. The aim is to point out the advantages of plurilingualism. The materials in the pack include a brochure about plurilingualism, a Frisian children’s book, and a CD with children’s songs (Provinsje Fryslân, 2011b).”

The Netherlands and Friesland launch will take place on 31 May 2012 in Geldmuseum, Utrecht. Utrecht is, after Luxembourg and together with Malta, the second multilingual hotspot in Europe. For more information, have a look at one of our previous blog posts. It also boasts one of the best practices mentioned in the Language Rich Europe research.

Speakers at this launch are:

  • Martin Hope, Language Rich Europe Project Director (opening)
  • Prof.dr.Guus Extra, Emeritus Hoogleraar Taal en Minderheden aan de faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Tilburg (about the goals and results of the LRE projects overall)
  • Drs. Saskia Benedictus-van den Berg, onderzoeksassistent, Mercator Kenniscentrum/Fryske Akademy (about the Netherlands and Frisian results of the LRE research)

After the presentations there will be a panel discussion with the following panel members:

  • Martin Hope, MA, directeur British Council Benelux & EU office en directeur van het Language Rich Europe project
  • Dr. Jacomine Nortier, universitair hoofddocent bij de afdeling Taalkunde van de opleiding Nederlands, universiteit Utrecht
  • Prof.dr. Gerard Westhoff, emeritus hoogleraar didactiek moderne vreemde talen, Universiteit Utrecht en zelfstandig onderwijskundig adviseur
  • Drs. Tsjerk Bottema, senior beleidsmedewerker taal en media, provincie Fryslân

Meartaligens is in pre op dyn CV

Last week, Idske Bangma, research assistant at the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning, gave a presentation about multilingualism in children’s everyday life at the ‘Dag van het jonge kid’ (Day of the young child). This presentation was partly based on the results of the EC-funded MELT project (Multilingual Early Language Transmission).

Below you can read the abridged version of Idske Bangma’s presentation, in Frisian, which appeared in the newspaper the Friesch Dagblad on April 23.

Meartaligens is in pre op dyn CV

Wy kinne net mear om meartaligens hinne. Ek it ûnderwiis kriget dat hieltyd better yn ‘e gaten.

De taal is te fine yn ferskillende farianten om ús hinne. De winkelstrjitten fan ‘e grutte stêden binne hieltyd Ingelsktaliger en ‘sale’ hat ‘uitverkoop’ hast hielendal ferdrongen. Kommersjeel is der foar it Frysk of in oare streektaal gjin romte, mar op oare terreinen binne der in protte foarbylden fan de lytse taal of it dialekt, foaral yn it deistige libben en de kultuer. Tink oan muzyk, teater, kabaret en oare kultuerútings yn it Frysk, Bildts, Grunnegs, of Stellingwarfs. Yn ‘e kranten komme streektalen, dialekten en minderheidstalen werom yn berte- en rou-advertinsjes en is it Ingelsk noch fier te sykjen. Taal is dan gjin kommersjeeel kommunikaasjemiddel, mar is relatearre oan gefoel, identiteit. Wat is it moai datst dy yn dyn memmetaal úterje kinst en by dyn eigen gefoel bliuwe meist. En datsto frij bist om dyn eigen taal rûnom te brûken.

For the full article, click here.