Language Use of Frisian Bilingual Teenagers on Social Media

L. Jongbloed-Faber*, H. Van de Velde, C. van der Meer, E.L. Klinkenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


This paper explores the use of Frisian - a minority language spoken in the Dutch province of Fryslan - on social media by Frisian teenagers. Frisian is the mother tongue of 54% of the 650,000 inhabitants and is predominantly a spoken language: 64% of the Frisian population can speak it well, while only 12% indicate that they can write it well. However, in recent years Frisian contributions have frequently shown up on social media, an important development as active use on the Internet is essential for a language to survive into the next century. In this study, more than 2,000 Frisian teenagers aged between 14 and 18 years filled in a questionnaire about their language use, language preferences, language attitudes and language proficiency. Results show that, on social media, Frisian is mainly used by mother tongue speakers, 87% of whom use it to some extent. The study indicates that the teenagers' peer group, language attitudes and writing proficiency are reliable explanatory factors for the use or non-use of Frisian on social media. Although teenagers do not always follow its official spelling rules, Frisian has conquered a presence on social media. Social media thus seem to have introduced Frisian into the written domain for an extended group of people, which is a positive sign of the vitality of the Frisian language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-54
Number of pages28
JournalTreballs de Sociolingüística Catalana
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Frisian
  • attitudes
  • bilingualism
  • linguistic vitality
  • minority languages
  • social media
  • teenagers


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