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Meet a language policy adviser

In this video a policy adviser of the Province of Friesland in the Netherlands describes his work on language policy making.
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My name is Tsjerk Bottema and I’m a language policy adviser for of the province of Fryslan. And what does a language policy advisor do? Well, a language policy maker does various things. In the first place, I advise the regional minister and the Member of the Executive Council that I work for who is responsible for our language policy. But we prepare new policies on language and culture, education, and sport. Or sometimes members of the regional parliament hand in questions on language policy and then we prepare the answers.
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The regional parliament decides on new language policy and we prepare the things they have to decide on.
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What are language policies? Well, the language policy is not something on its own. It always has to do with other societal domains, other domains in society. A language policy is on the position of language and education, language and media, language and culture, language and business, that kind of thing, for example, the position of the Frisian language and education, the advantage of using language in business, Frisian media.
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That’s what the language policy is about. It’s about, on the one hand, preserving the language, on the other hand, stimulating the use of the language and explaining the advantages of using this language.
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The Dutch State is responsible in terms of the European charter for regional and minority languages because the Dutch state undersigned this charter. And both the province of Fryslan and the Dutch State are responsible for safeguarding the Frisian language and culture. In practice, that means that, on the state level, there is legislation on the use of the Frisian language, on the use of the language in education. There is a Frisian language law. And on the provincial level, we really carry out the policy on Frisian in those domains in society that I mentioned.
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I think what you see is that of course there are a lot of more languages like Frisian in Europe, original and minority languages. There is Catalan, there is Basque, there is Welsh, there is Sorbian.
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So there are lots of similarities and differences as well. And it’s interesting to put a language policy in an international, multilingual perspective. And that is what we try to do. So we cooperate with those other language, minority language, regions. And in our language policy, we have a multilingual approach. For example, when we speak about the position of Frisian in education, lots of times we speak about trilingual education, trilingual primary schools, where they use English and Dutch and Frisian as instructive languages.

You will watch a policy adviser working for the regional government of the Province of Friesland in the Netherlands describing his work on language policy making. He will tell you about policies to protect minority languages and describe the different levels language policies have to go through before they can be implemented.

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