By Hans Van de Velde
Fryske Akademy is a research institute dedicated to the Frisian language, culture and history, located in Leeuwarden (Ljouwert), the Netherlands. West-Frisian, usually called Frisian, is recognized as the second official language in the Friesland (Fryslân) province, in addition to Dutch.
The foundation Fryske Akademy was established in 1938. According to its statutes, the Akademy’s goal is “to maintain a working community dedicated to practicing science connected to Friesland, the Frisian people and their culture in all its manifestations, and such in the broadest sense”. Currently, the focus is on fundamental and applied scientific research into the Frisian language, history and culture. The Fryske Akademy makes the Frisian language and historical heritage accessible to science and society and develops digital instruments and collections for innovative research. The institute is financially supported by the national and provincial governments. The Fryske Akademy is not only a research institute, but also a scientific society with more than 300 members. Membership is attributed on the basis of scientific or societal merits.
Fryske Akademy hosts and develops the digital research infrastructure for Frisian and a broad set of Frisian language tools, including various dictionaries, spell checkers, automatic translation and speech recognition. Developers and linguists can access all language data and tools on frisian.eu; language users can find digital assistance on frysker.nl. The scientific grammar of Frisian (and Dutch and Afrikaans) is presented at taalportaal.org. The Frisian historical dictionary is available online, together with the Dutch historical dictionaries, at gtb.ivdnt.org. The focus of our work is on Frisian, but we also include the other language varieties spoken in Fryslân and we develop generic research tools, such as Visible Vowels, a web app for the normalization and visualization of acoustic vowel measurements (visiblevowels.org). Fryske Akademy also holds the Mercator Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning (mercator-research.eu), an independent and accredited reference centre for policy makers and professionals in Europe.
The researchers and developers of the Fryske Akademy have unique historic and contemporary expertise on the Frisian language and society and are experts in the field of research and development in low-resource languages, and they are eager to share this with colleagues from all over the world.