Linguae Intergermanica: The Use of Low Saxon, English, Dutch, German, and Receptive Multilingualism in Northern Dutch – Northern German Communication
Denge, G.J.M. ter
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Low Saxon is a group of language varieties which is often overlooked, especially in academic research. It is, however, spoken by approx. 7,5 million people in a large area, forming a dialect continuum covering the north-east of the Netherlands, and the north of Germany. This would lead one to believe it is a key language in Dutch-German communication, while in fact it is often dismissed as an insignificant language group, and most attention is given to improving English, Dutch, or German proficiency, or Receptive Multilingualism on either side of the border instead. This study tested the use of, and opinions on, all these languages and language modes, by means of a questionnaire in Dutch, German, and in Low Saxon. The results showed that the majority of the respondents would regard Low Saxon a valuable addition to Dutch-German communication, while they were less unanimous about English. Most of the respondents had witnessed or used Receptive Multilingualism. Additionally, the majority had sufficient proficiency in Low Saxon for it to be employed successfully in northern Dutch-German communication.