What I learned about Eilauners from the Augusteijn family

Written by Dyami Millarson

I found coursebooks about Eilauners online and so I got in touch via email with Eric Augustein from the heritage organisation ‘t Heer en Feer. He offered to sell me the complete 3-part series of coursebooks and he also offered me some other materials. I called Eric Augusteijn by phone for ordering the coursebooks.

I asked him several questions on the phone about Eilauners. For instance, how many speakers are there? I told him that there were only about 120 speakers in 2001. There are only 20-30 active speakers left today (2018) according to Mr. Augusteijn. Moreover, he informed me that the work group Taalplúech, which offered courses in Eilauners and produced the course materials that I was interested in, had already been disbanded for several years owing to the rapid decline of Eilauners.

Eric Augusteijn said he would hand the materials to his daughter and I could meet with her in Leeuwarden to get the materials.

In the morning of 23 May I met Anneke Augusteijn, the daughter of Eric Augusteijn, to pick up the materials that I had ordered. She sang the Eilauners anthem to me. It was beautiful to hear. I had spoken with her on the phone before and she had promised me to sing the anthem of Schiermonnikoog because it gives an impression of the Eilauners language. When handing me the materials, I had also asked her about the pronunciation of the g in Eilauners. She demonstrated it is pronounced as English [g] nowadays. I informed her about the elder pronunciation as [ɣ]. I intend to restore the old pronunciation of the g in Eilauners. Before handing me the materials, Anneke Augusteijn had also been very curious about why I wanted to learn Eilauners and I thought that I should write a separate article sometime to address this question properly. I want to save Eilauners obviously. But there is much more to say about why I want to learn it!

I am thankful to Mr. Augusteijn and his daughter.

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