Learning Helgolandic to Feel Connected to the Land

Written by Dyami Millarson

I have been learning Helgolandic since 1 March this year. I wanted to learn Helgolandic to feel connected to the land. I have been very curious about Helgoland ever since I heard about it, and I believe that learning Helgolandic is the best way for me to feel connected with Helgoland. I noticed with learning the language of Schiermonnikoog in 2018, I could finally satisfy my curiosity about the island and this satisfaction cultivated in me a sense of belonging that intertwined my destiny with the unique natural character of the island.

I do not want to feel like a tourist whenever I travel to a place, but I want to feel grounded like a local. To me, it is important that I feel like I belong in a place. It gives me a profound sense of comfort when I feel connected with my surroundings. Although few speak the languages that I have learned, it gives me a feeling about a place that I could otherwise never have had. When I am on Eastern Terschelling, on Schiermonnikoog or in Hindeloopen, I feel at home because I speak the historical language of those locations.

Terschelling, Schiermonnikoog and Hindeloopen are popular tourist destinations. However, I do not go to those places to ‘run away’ or to ‘get relaxed’. But I go to those places to feel at home. It feels like I grew up in those places and like my family has lived there since time immemorial. I feel truly a part of the local community and I feel compelled to find clever ways to contribute to the local community. I wish to contribute by keeping the language alive. For as long as I breathe, I will use the language, distinguishing it from all other languages of the world. I will thus breathe Helgolandic, keeping it unique so that it may foster connection with the island of Helgoland situated in the North Sea.

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