Written by Dyami Millarson
Two months ago, I sent an e-mail in German to the municipality of Wangerooge in Germany to raise attention to the fact that Wangerooge Frisian, the language indigenous to Wangerooge, has been revived from the dead. I have, however, not received a reply back. I sent my e-mail twice to make sure the municipality received it. Apparently, the municipality does not yet see the relevance of the e-mail. The economy of Wangerooge is dependent on tourism and from this economic perspective, it does definitely make sense to restore authentic heritage. After all, what makes Wangerooge stand out culturally and linguistically? Culturally and linguistically minded tourists are definitely looking for the local treasures of heritage when they travel to some destination, they want an authentic experience. In my view, it is totally in the interest of the municipality of Wangerooge to take the return of Wangerooge Frisian into consideration. Wangerooge has been hit hard by the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and this could actually be seen as an opportunity for Wangerooge to set up a new economy based around the return of the forgotten authentic heritage of Wangerooge which used to make the island stand out as culturally and linguistically unique in Germany. This could be a gift to the locals, especially during these hard times. People are looking for the meaning of life particularly in difficult times and as they are trying to find themselves, they desire authenticity. The return of Wangerooge Frisian offers a fresh start with novel opportunities for the local economy of Wangerooge.
In this light, I would highly appreciate it if my readers can – whether in English or German – send a polite e-mail to the municipality of Wangerooge to raise attention to the return of Wangerooge Frisian. If you support my work for bringing back Wangerooge Frisian with the hope of adding value to the local economy of Wangerooge, please say so; you can openly and kindly tell the municipality of Wangerooge that you support the return of Wangerooge Frisian, and you can ask them whether they also support the return of Wangerooge Frisian. If multiple people politely raise the attention of the municipality of Wangerooge to this topic, we can make a positive change together. We may or may not be citizens of Germany, but all of us can explain in our own words why we think the return of a local language matters. As a single individual, I may not be able to do much. However, since I am not alone, I believe that we have the collective brainpower and motivation to bring about positive changes in this world. I wrote my mail addressed to the mayor of Wangerooge, but you may address it to the municipality: firstname.lastname@example.org. The German term for Wangerooge Frisian is Wangerooger Friesisch, you may put this between brackets if you write an e-mail to them in English rather than German. Again, I would like to stress that it is absolutely essential to be very polite and to be genuine; everyone is free to offer their own perspective on the matter of the revival of Wangerooge Frisian and by kindly raising the municipality’s attention to this topic, they may decide this is an issue that they should reply to. Of course, I am sure that your e-mails will be very heart-felt, creative, original, and perhaps even deeply moving. Speaking straight from the heart is how we can achieve creativity, originality, and authenticity and with these positive qualities, we can influence the destiny of the world with our own enthusiastic efforts in the right direction.
I can imagine you might want to know a little more about Wangerooge Frisian. So if you would like to know more about what I have done for the revival of Wangerooge Frisian, you may check out my extensive article on (learning) Wangerooge Frisian. All questions are welcome below in the comments. I appreciate all of your support, and I do genuinely hope that the municipality of Wangerooge will come around to see the relevance of the old language that died out in the previous century and that has now been brought back to life by Foundation Operation X for languages, cultures and perspectives. I was personally the first in our team to be able to read, write and speak the language again, and Giovanni Pinto is currently making progress in that same direction; obviously, we are willing to contribute to Wangerooge with our own dedicated efforts by bringing back the old culture and language to the island, in one way or another. I do not yet know the form which the return of Wangerooge Frisian might take on the island, but we should be open to all the possibilities and opportunities, and I hope to open a dialogue with the municipality about the possibilities and opportunities with regards to the return of Wangerooge Frisian to its island of origin. I have frequently received queries from people about what they might do to contribute to Operation X for languages, cultures and perspectives; so here you have a cause where you can directly make a difference for the return of a previously extinct language – as well as contribute to the creation of a new and future society that genuinely values and fosters local heritage.