Please see contribution from Mathieu van Woerkom below.

Best regards,

Håvard Hjulstad    mailto:[log in to unmask]
  Solfallsveien 31
  NO-1430  Ås, Norway
  tel: +47-64944233  &  +47-64963684
  mob: +47-90145563

-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 25. april 2002 15:42
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: ISO 639 submission - Limburgish

Dear Havard Hjulstad

to answer your questions:

> How accurate is you estimate of 1,000,000 speakers? Other sources give
> smaller numbers (but still sufficiently large numbers).

This estimate is very rough, and also considering both the provinces of
in Belgium and the Netherlands. Dutch Limburg has ±1,200,000 inhabitants (of
which an estimated 75% speaks Limburgish) and Belgian Limburg has ±650,000
inhabitants (of which the amount of speakers is unknown).
The amount of 1,000,000 people in both provinces could also be 150,000
or lower.

> Does the language have a normalized orthography?

There is no standard orthography (yet), but a universal spelling system is
for all the different dialects (this means that syllabels who sound the same
are also written the same, in each dialect). The magazine that introduced
spelling system can be found here: .
There is, though, a group of scientists and writers who are looking to
a standard Limburgish, but their system is not official (yet). Their
website: (e-mail: [log in to unmask]).

> Is there any kind of "academy" or formal committee that is promoting the
> language?

Yes, the Dutch province has installed a formal committee last year, called
the "Raod veur 't Limburgs" ("councill for Limburgish"). Although this
committee is formed by the Dutch province, Belgian Limburgish matters are
dealt with. This committee advises the province, regarding language policy.
This committee has no website or general contact address, but you can
one of its members by e-mail at [log in to unmask] (mr. Paul Prikken).
Also, a Limburgish language official (streektaalfunctionaris) is appointed
the provincial government of Dutch Limburg, with the job to promote the
language where possible. His e-mail address is:
[log in to unmask] (mr. Pierre Bakkes).

> Does the language have any recognition in the public school system in the
> Netherlands or Belgium.

There is no compulsory course "Limburgish" in Limburgish schools, but
the language official came up with a plan to teach in and about the language
elimentary schools.

> Does the language enjoy "status as regional language"
> in the Netherlands only, or also in Belgium?

No, the official status counts for Dutch Limburg only, at least on a
level. The government of the Netherlands ratified the Charter for Regional
Minority Languages, recognizing Frisian (fry), Low Saxon (nds) and
as official regional languages. Belgium, however, didn't ratify this
because of the tense lingual situation in that country (Dutch-French).
Walloon (wln) a Romanic regional language was given ISO 639-1 and 639-2
However, on the provincial level, the Belgian province of Limburg has stated
that actions ought to be taken to preserve Limburgish, with or without the
support of the Belgian government.

> Isn't the language also used in
> Germany? How much, and with what kind of status?

Yes, to a very small extent the language is also spoken in Germany (in a few
border villages). However, the status is very low (since Limburgish has more
common with German than with Dutch, people in Germany see it as a German
dialect) and the amount of speakers can't possibly be more than 5,000 . The
area I'm talking about is the Selfkant area ( used to
part of the Netherlands from 1949-1963 (demanded because of 'war damage'). I
don't even know if the majority of the people over there see the linguistic
relation with Limburg at all, but I think they do: on their municipal
it says "Selfkant: einmalig, zweisprachig, vielseitig" and the local tourist
office calles the region: "Land ohne Grenzen zwischen Maas und Niederrhein".

I hope I helped you by answering your questions,

Kind regards,
Mathieu van Woerkom

For more information, visit these websites: - the regional languages in the Netherlands - Limburgish magazine - information on Limburgish language, provided by
European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages. - discussion group on
Lowlandic languages and cultures - Children's dictionary, containing
Limburgish words (called Limburgian there)

> -------------------------
> Havard Hjulstad    mailto:[log in to unmask]
>   Solfallsveien 31
>   NO-1430  As, Norway
>   tel: +47-64944233  &  +47-64963684
>   mob: +47-90145563
> -------------------------
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 05:59:50 -0400
> From: WWW generic account <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: New ISO 639-2 code
> This data was submitted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002 at 05:59:50
> lang_in_eng = Limburgish / Limburger / Limburgian
> lang_in_fre = Limbourgeois
> ref_where_found_1 = European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages / European
> Charter for Regional or Minority Languages /
> lang_in_vern = Limburgs
> ref_where_found_2 =
> trans_lit =
> evidence = - Library of the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands
> (100+)
> (contact: [log in to unmask])
> - Library of the University of Leuven, Belgium (100+)
> - Publisher "Uitgeverij TIC", Maastricht (amount unkown
> (contact:
> - City Library of Maastricht, the Netherlands (amount unknown)
> - Meertens Institute (amount unknown) (contact:
> addinfo = number of speakers: rough estimate 1,000,000
> official status: recognized as regional language in the Netherlands
> 1)
> where spoken: in the 2 provinces of Limburg (the Netherlands and
> Belgium)
> (
> request_addition = ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2
> 2_code_suggestion = LB
> 3_code_suggestion = LIM
> submit_name = Mathieu van Woerkom
> submit_email = [log in to unmask]
> submit_status = academic student