Roos Beerkens

Receptive multilingualism as a language mode in the Dutch-German border area

2010,  Zivilgesellschaftliche Verständigungsprozesse vom 19. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart,  Band 4,  330  Seiten,  E-Book (PDF),  34,10 €,  ISBN 978-3-8309-7346-1

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What possibilities do Dutch and German native speakers have when communicating with each other in the border area? Roos Beerkens answers this question in her study by analysing language use. Her analysis shows that ‘receptive multilingualism’ is a successful way of communicating and that it is also being used as such. Receptive multilingualism is a language mode in which each person speaks his/her own language and has enough receptive knowledge of the other language to understand what is said. It is a solution which possesses many advantages. The main advantage being that one is able to express oneself best in his/her own language. The societal development of receptive multilingualism is also taken into account; the language mode is being used in both civil society as well as governmental organisations, albeit for different reasons. Nevertheless, both developments contribute to the development of the use of receptive multi-lingualism in the Dutch-German cross-border society.


Roos Beerkens, born 1983, studied Communication Studies in Utrecht and in Aarhus. She was awarded summa cumma laude for her PhD in January 2010 as a member of the DFG-research training group ‘Negotiating processes of the civil society from the 19th century to the present – Germany and the Netherlands compared’ at the Westfalian-Wilhelms University in Münster. Currently she works as a communication consultant at Involve in Nijmegen (the Netherlands), where the focus is on internal communication in a range of different organisations.