The first language assertiveness training for trainers was held in Fryslân in the small village of Boksum in early July.
Six participants from different backgrounds, in language teaching, communication, cultural anthropology and coaching, attended the training. They were given information about the structure of the linguistic assertiveness workshop itself and the theoretical background on what causes a speaker to switch from a minority language into a dominant language.
Questions raised included: why do minoritised language speakers switch from their language (in this case Frisian or Bildts) to the dominant language (in this case Dutch), and in which situations? What kind of assumptions play a role in this? Why is it hard sometimes to maintain a bilingual conversation?
By thinking about and discussing their own language attitudes and behaviours the participants gained more insight into their own behaviour. They were then provided with various methods that can be used in order to change their language behaviour in normal, everyday situations.
In September the second part of the training will take place, including an online lecture by ELEN President Ferran Suay (University of Valencia) who is leading the project.
The training forms part of the ground-breaking LISTEN project, an EU Erasmus Plus funded project created by a consortium comprising the European Language Equality Network (ELEN), University of València, Sapientia University (Kolozsvár), ILS at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Pisa), language-planning specialists’ Iaith (Cymru), the Frisian NGO Afûk, and the Irish NGO Conradh na Gaeilge. (By Mirjam Vellinga, pictures Fotobureau Hoge Noorden, Jaap Schaaf. Eurolang 2020)