3,000 sign up to learn Frisian online, Groningen course a global hit

Frisian_flagSome 3,000 people from all over the world have signed up to a Groningen University online course to learn the rudiments of Frisian.

The free course has attracted students from Colombia, Japan, Albania, Russia and Venezuela since the beginning of July, the Telegraaf said on Tuesday.

The course, which starts in September, is being taught in English. Frisian is the native tongue of around half the 350,000 people who live in the province of Friesland.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is aimed at students who are interested in Frisian culture as well as the language.

‘We think that much of the interest from the US and Canada comes from people with Frisian roots,’ course leader Gerbrich de Jong told the paper. ‘Then there are people who just want to learn more languages. They might already speak eight. And interest in minority languages is on the up.’

During the three week course, students will ‘learn Frisian phrases, greetings, vocabulary, numbers, spelling and grammar,’ the website says. ‘By the end of the course… you will be able to use simple sentences to describe where you live and the people you know.’

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