Minoritism at the Drongo festival

Minoritism was at the Drongo Festival, held on 25 and 26 September in Utrecht (NL) for the very first time this year! Drongo is a national festival celebrating multilingualism in all its shapes and forms. We were there to showcase our BA and MA programmes, and together with our students enjoyed this two-day multilingual event.

Our information stand was right on the main square, where they opened the festival with a performance by Piter Wilkens; a known Frisian singer. After his performance he was the first to have his voice recorded in our pop-up lab next to our stand. Here, we made recordings of several people reading a sentence in different languages, which we then turned into their very own voice charts.

The charts showed the differences in their speech contours in different languages and provided a nice insight in what a multilingual experiment can look like. Are you one of the visitors who got recorded and would you like to find out more about your chart and what it means? Please visit our PhD student Amber Nota’s website and read all about it via this link.

Besides offering our guests this small academic experience we provided them with information about our Bachelor and Master programmes. The passers-by came from a multitude of backgrounds. Not only interested prospective students came to learn the details of the programmes, we also spoke to representatives of international businesses, other universities, and general multilingualism enthusiasts. We, for example, had the pleasure to meet a woman from a Rwandan minority culture who wanted to share her story and book Manners in Rwanda with us!

We, the members of the Frisian department, were joined by many of our students. They took full advantage of visiting all the stands at the festival to get in touch with organisations involved in multilingualism to find internship, or even job opportunities!

At Drongo, people from all sides of multilingualism got together; there were large institutions dealing with formal matters of multilingualism, such as the European Union, but also companies involved in innovative multilingual practices, such as QBMT; the builders of a multilingual robot. Besides the information fair, visitors could partake in workshops, listen to music, watch interviews, or even try their interpreting skills!

All in all, the festival was not only a great way to share information and promote our programmes, it also showed the diverse facets of multilingualism in society. We and our students made new contacts, broadened our scope on multilingualism in the Netherlands and went home with a confirmed notion that multilingualism is indeed everywhere, and certainly should be celebrated with such a festival!