Regional languages on Twitter A comparative study between Frisian and Limburgish

L. Jongbloed-Faber*, Jolie van Loo, L. Cornips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper addressed the question how the use of Dutch and the regional languages Frisian or Limburgish differ on Twitter and which patterns in language choice can be identified. Previous quantitative studies (Jongbloed-Faber, Van de Velde, Van der Meer & Klinkenberg, 2016; Nguyen, Trieschnigg & Cornips, 2015; Trieschnigg, 2015) have already shown that people in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Limburg tweet in Frisian or Limburgish respectively, but most often in Dutch interspersed with some English. In this qualitative study, we compared the tweets from twenty twitterers in Friesland and Limburg who use both Dutch and Frisian or Limburgish regularly in order to get insight into their language use patterns. The following patterns in language use were identified: when a twitterer aims to maximise his/her audience, Dutch is regularly employed. However, as soon as an interpersonal, addressed tweet is formulated, Frisian or Limburgish is often used. General tweets in Dutch may therefore very well get a Frisian or Limburgish continuation. Another mechanism frequently found in responding tweets is following the language used in the original tweet, notwithstanding such a tweet was in Dutch or in a regional language. Finally, the data show that, although Twitter is a global medium which can be accessed at any time and any place provided that one has access to the needed technical equipment and Internet connection, twitterers sometimes construct localness i.e. what is perceived as local culture through using Frisian or Limburgish exclusively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-196
Number of pages23
JournalDutch Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2017


  • Frisian
  • Limburgish
  • Twitter
  • language choice
  • minority languages
  • regional languages
  • social media

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