Groningen, Netherlands

Old Frisian and its Neighbours

blended course
when 5 July 2021 - 9 July 2021
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee EUR 300

The central theme of this summer school concerns medieval language shifts along the North Sea coast: Old Frisian, Old/Middle Dutch and Old Saxon/Middle Low German. Old Frisian is a West Germanic language spoken by inhabitants of the coastal region of the Low Countries since approx. the 5th century. The Old Frisian language area stretched as far as the Rhine/Meuse estuaries in the south-west and the Weser mouth in the north-east. During the Middle Ages language shifts took place both in the south-western area (in favor of Dutch) and in the north-eastern area (in favor of Low German). As a result, Frisian is at present still spoken in the Dutch province of Fryslân as well as in various isolated regions and islands of Northwestern Germany.

Old Frisian deserves international attention because of its close connection to Old English. Knowledge of Old Frisian deepens insights into the Old English language and, more broadly, into the development of West Germanic. It has been handed down in a relatively small but coherent corpus of, mostly, late-medieval law texts and a number of sagas (1100-1550 AD) – a well-hidden gem!

Participants have the option to participate in the on-campus edition of the summer school or may choose to join us online. The educational part of the programme will be similar for both editions.

If health and safety measures from the Dutch government in the face of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic prevent us from organizing an on-campus summer school, we will only offer an online summer school.

Course leader

Dr. Anne Popkema, Faculty of Arts

Target group

This summer school is designed for students of the various Old Germanic languages, graduate and post-graduate students.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Course aim

The participants will learn to read and interpret Old Frisian texts and get a good grasp of its grammatical structures. There will be lectures about the various language shifts Frisian experienced over the medieval period when it gave way to Dutch or Low German in formerly Frisian-speaking areas. There will be due attention to the sociolinguistic processes which may have steered these phenomena.

Credits info

1 EC
The workload is estimated at 40 hours (five days from 9-5 with lectures, workshops, assignments and (paper) presentations).

Participants who attend all sessions and who present a research proposal or paper on Friday will receive a certificate of participation signed by the coordinators of the summer school. Upon request the certificate can mention the workload of 40 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.

Fee info

EUR 300: Participation fee (on campus): Incl. manuscript viewings, transport to Groningen on Wednesday, lunches, conference dinner, city tour, welcoming drinks, excursion
EUR 200: Participation fee (online)

Register for this course
on course website