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West Frisian language

West Frisian language

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Encyclopedia
West Frisian is a language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 spoken mostly in the province of Friesland
Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

 (Fryslân) in the north of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian
Saterland Frisian language
Saterland Frisian, also known as Sater Frisian or Saterlandic , is the last living dialect of the East Frisian language. It is closely related to the other Frisian languages—North Frisian, which, like Saterland Frisian, is spoken in Germany and West Frisian, which is spoken in the Netherlands.- Old...

 and North Frisian
North Frisian language
North Frisian is a minority language of Germany, spoken by about 10,000 people in North Frisia. The language is part of the larger group of the West Germanic Frisian languages.-Classification:...

, which are spoken in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Within the Netherlands however, the West Frisian language is the language of the province of Friesland and is almost always called simply "Frisian": Fries in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, and Frysk in Frisian; Westfries (literally: West Frisian) is the Dutch name of the dialect of the Dutch language spoken in West Friesland
West Friesland (region)
West Friesland is a contemporary region in the northwestern Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.The region covers an area of about , delineated by the Westfriese Omringdijk...

, a region in the province of North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

. For this Dutch dialect see: West Frisian dialect.

The 'official' name used by linguists in the Netherlands to indicate the West Frisian language is Westerlauwers Fries (West Lauwers Frisian), the Lauwers
Lauwers
The Lauwers is a river in the Netherlands. It forms part of the border between the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. From the 730's to Widukind's defeat in 785 it was part of the border of the Frankish Empire....

 being a border stream which separates the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen
Groningen (province)
Groningen [] is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen , in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea...

.

Speakers


Most speakers of West Frisian live in the province of Friesland
Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

 in the north of the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. This province was formerly officially called Friesland, but officially changed its name to Fryslân in 1997. The province has 643,000 inhabitants (2005); of these 94% can understand spoken Frisian, 74% can speak Frisian, 75% can read Frisian, and 26% can write it.

For over half of the inhabitants of the province of Friesland, 55% (c. 354,000 people), Frisian is the native language. In the central east, Frisian speakers spill over the province border, with some 4,000–6,000 of them actually living in the province of Groningen
Groningen (province)
Groningen [] is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen , in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea...

, in the triangular area of the villages Marum (Frisian: Mearum), De Wilp (De Wylp), and Opende (De Grinzer Pein).

Also, many Frisians have left their province in the last sixty years for more prosperous parts of the Netherlands. Therefore, possibly as many as 150,000 Frisian speakers live in other Dutch provinces now, particularly in the urban agglomeration in the West, and in neighbouring Groningen and newly reclaimed Flevoland
Flevoland
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. Located in the centre of the country, at the location of the former Zuiderzee, the province was established on January 1, 1986; the twelfth province of the country, with Lelystad as its capital...

.

In addition, there is a surprisingly large Frisian diaspora abroad, with Friesland having had in relative terms the highest percentage of emigrants of all Dutch provinces between the Second World War and the 1970s. It is estimated that there may be as many as 80,000–100,000 Frisian speakers scattered around the world, with the largest concentrations located in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. Therefore, the total number of Frisian speakers in the world today may be as high as 600,000. The West Frisian surname perhaps most familiar to Americans is Dykstra
Dykstra
Dijkstra and Dykstra are Dutch surnames. "Dykes" is a variation of the English place name, and describes a man who lived by a dyke. The suffix "-stra" is derived from old Germanic -sater, meaning sitter or dweller....

.

Apart from the use of Frisian as a first language, it is also spoken as a second language by about 120,000 people in the province of Friesland.

Dialects


The West Frisian language consists of eight mutually intelligible dialects, of which four are widely spoken and the other four are confined to small communities of less than a hundred to several hundreds of speakers.

The least-used dialect of West Frisian is Skiermûntseagersk, the island dialect of Schiermonnikoog
Schiermonnikoog
Schiermonnikoog is an island, a municipality, and a national park in the northern Netherlands. Schiermonnikoog is one of the West Frisian Islands, and is part of the province of Friesland....

 (Frisian: Skiermûntseach), which is actually on the verge of extinction, spoken as it is by no more than 50-100 people (out of an island population of 900 people).

Hylpersk (in Dutch known as Hindeloopers), the archaic Frisian dialect of the peninsular harbour town of Hindeloopen
Hindeloopen
-External links:* Museum Hindeloopen: Hindelooper schilderkunst, klederdracht, stads- en scheepvaarthistorie.*...

 (Hylpen), on the west coast, is still spoken by some 300 people at the most.

Skylgersk (also known as Westersk) and Aastersk are the dialects of the western and eastern parts of the island of Terschelling
Terschelling
Terschelling is a municipality and an island in the northern Netherlands, one of the West Frisian Islands.Waddenislanders are known for their resourcefulness in using anything and everything that washes ashore. With few trees to use for timber, most of the farms and barns are built with masts...

 (Skylge) and have about 800 and 400 speakers respectively. They are separated from each other by the Dutch dialect of Midslands, which is spoken in the central part of Terschelling.

Because of their insular nature these four less-used dialects are also those that have deviated the most from mainstream Frisian. In fact, three of the four widely used mainland dialects are so much alike that a non-Frisian could probably not make out any differences.

The fourth mainland dialect, that of Súdwesthoeksk ("South Western"), which is spoken in an area called de Súdwesthoeke ("the South West Corner"), deviates from mainstream Frisian in that it does not adhere to the so-called newer breaking system, a prominent grammatical feature in the three other main dialects.

The Noardhoeksk ("Northern") dialect is spoken in the north eastern corner of the province but does not differ much from Wâldfrysk.

By far the two most widely spoken West Frisian dialects are Klaaifrysk and Wâldfrysk. Both these names are derived from the Frisian landscape. In the western and north-western parts of the province, the region where Klaaifrysk is spoken, the soil is made up of thick marine clay, hence the name Klaaifrysk, which literally means "Clay Frisian
Clay Frisian
Clay Frisian is a dialect of the West Frisian language spoken in the northwestern part of the Dutch province of Friesland. It has been the primary dialect of written West Frisian since the nineteenth century as a result of its high status. Historically, this region has been the centre of commerce...

". While in the Klaaifrysk speaking area ditches are used to separate the pastures, in the eastern part of the province, where the soil is sandy, and water sinks away much faster, rows of trees are used to that purpose. Therefore, the dialect spoken in the eastern area is called Wâldfrysk, meaning "Wood Frisian
Wood Frisian
Wood Frisian is a dialect of the West Frisian language spoken in the eastern part of the Dutch province of Friesland, which is called Wâlden...

" or "Forest Frisian".

Although Klaaifrysk and Wâldfrysk are mutually very easily intelligible, there are, at least to native Frisian speakers, a few very conspicuous differences. These include the pronunciation of the words my ("me"), dy ("thee"), hy ("he"), sy ("she" or "they"), wy ("we") and by ("by"), and the diphthongs ei and aai.

Of the two, Wâldfrysk probably has the greater number of speakers, but because the western clay area was originally the more prosperous part of the mostly agricultural province, Klaaifrysk has had the larger influence on the West Frisian standardised language.

Old Frisian


In the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 the Frisian lands stretched from the area around Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

, in what is now Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, to the river Weser, in northern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. At that time, the Frisian language was spoken along the entire southern North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 coast. Today this region is sometimes referred to as Greater Frisia or Frisia Magna, and many of the areas within it still treasure their Frisian heritage, even though in most places the Frisian language has been lost.

Old Frisian
Old Frisian
Old Frisian is a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine and Weser on the European North Sea coast. The Frisian settlers on the coast of South Jutland also spoke Old Frisian but no medieval texts of this area are known...

, however, did bear a striking similarity to Old English. This similarity was reinforced in the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 by the Ingvaeonic sound shift, which affected Frisian and English, but hardly the other West Germanic varieties at all. Historically, both English and Frisian are marked by the suppression of the Germanic nasal in a word like us (ús), soft (sêft) or goose (goes): see Anglo-Frisian nasal spirant law. Also, when followed by some vowels the Germanic k softened to a ch sound. For example, the Frisian for cheese and church is tsiis and tsjerke, whereas in Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 it is kaas and kerk.

One major difference between Old Frisian and modern Frisian is that in the Old Frisian period (c.1150-c.1550) grammatical cases still occurred. Some of the texts that are preserved from this period are from the twelfth or thirteenth, but most are from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Generally, all these texts are restricted to legal documents. Although the earliest definite written examples of Frisian are from approximately the 9th century, there are a few examples of runic inscriptions from the region which are probably older and possibly in the Frisian language. These runic writings however usually do not amount to more than single- or few-word inscriptions, and cannot be said to constitute literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

 as such. The transition from the Old Frisian to the Middle Frisian
Middle Frisian
Middle Frisian evolved from Old Frisian from the 16th century and was spoken until ca. 1820, considered the beginning of the Modern period of the Frisian languages....

 period (c.1550-c.1820) in the sixteenth century, is based on the fairly abrupt halt in the use of Frisian as a written language.

Middle Frisian and New Frisian


Up until the fifteenth century Frisian was a language widely spoken and written, but from 1500 onwards it became an almost exclusively oral language, mainly used in rural areas. This was in part due to the occupation of its stronghold, the Dutch province of Friesland
Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

 (Fryslân), in 1498, by Duke Albert of Saxony, who replaced Frisian as the language of government with Dutch.

Afterwards this practice was continued under the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 rulers of the Netherlands (the German Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 and his son, the Spanish King Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

), and even when the Netherlands became independent, in 1585, Frisian did not regain its former status. The reason for this was the rise of Holland as the dominant part of the Netherlands and its language, Dutch, as the dominant language in judicial, administrative and religious affairs.

In this period the Frisian poet Gysbert Japiks
Gysbert Japiks
Gysbert Japicx was a Frisian writer, poet, schoolteacher and cantor.He admired Horace and Ovid and was a defender for the memmetaal which elevated Frisian to a literature language...

 (1603–1666), a schoolteacher and cantor from the city of Bolsward
Bolsward
Bolsward is a city in Súdwest Fryslân in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands. Bolsward is just short of a population of 10,000.- History :The town is founded on three artificial dwelling hills, of which the first was built some time before Christ....

 (Boalsert), who largely fathered modern Frisian literature and orthography, was really an exception to the rule.

His example was not followed until the nineteenth century, when entire generations of Frisian authors and poets appeared. This coincided with the introduction of the so-called newer breaking system, a prominent grammatical feature in almost all West Frisian dialects, with the notable exception of Súdwesthoeksk. Therefore, the New Frisian period is considered to have begun at this point in time, around 1820.

Alphabet


West Frisian uses the Latin alphabet. A, E, O and U may be accompanied by circumflex or acute accents.

Vowels

Frisian vowels with example words
Symbol Example
IPA IPA orthography
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

English translation
i vit wyt 'white'
tiːt tiid 'time' ("tide")
ɪ sɪt sit 'seat' ("sit")
eː 1 seː see 'sea'
ɛ lɛt let 'late'
ɛː 2 fɛːst fêst 'firm' ("fast")
ə de 'the'
a axt acht 'eight'
aːd aard 'character, nature'
ɔ ɡɔt gat 'hole' ("gate")
ɔː 2 vɔːd wâld 'forest' ("wold"/"weald")
o op op 'on, at' ("up")
oː 1 hoːpjə hoopje '[to] hope'
u busə bûse 'pocket'
huːt hûd 'skin' ("hide")
y yt út 'out'
dryːf drúf 'grape'
ø pøt put '(water) well' ("pit")
øː 1 løːnə leune 'to support, to lean'
stiən stien 'stone'
ɪə ɪər ear 'ear'
huət hoed 'hat' ("hood")
oər oar 'other'
nyət nuet 'tame'
œː frœːn freon 'friend'
ɛi hɛi, bakərɛi hy, bakkerij 'he', 'bakery'
øy strøyə struie 'to sprinkle' ("strew")
ui bluiə bloeie 'blossom'
oəi moəi moai 'beautiful'
aːi kaːi kaai 'key'
ai mais mais 'corn' ("maize")
au haut, ɡau hout, gau 'wood ("holt"), soon'


On average Frisians use a high number of long vowels. To reduce the length of speech there are two systems to reduce consonant length. The first is the new Frisian breaking. New Frisian breaking reduces the length of a long vowel by replacing it with a consonant and a vowel or semi vowel. Breaking pairs are ie-ji/i, ue-uo, oa-ua and dei-je/dje.

The second system is article and suffix reduction to glottal stop
Glottal stop
The glottal stop, or more fully, the voiceless glottal plosive, is a type of consonantal sound used in many spoken languages. In English, the feature is represented, for example, by the hyphen in uh-oh! and by the apostrophe or [[ʻokina]] in Hawaii among those using a preservative pronunciation of...

s. Both definite article
Definite Article
Definite Article is the title of British comedian Eddie Izzard's 1996 performance released on VHS. It was recorded on different nights at the Shaftesbury Theatre...

s (de (/də/) and it (/ət/)) and the indefinite article (in (/ən/)) may undergo article reduction. Popular suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

es for reduction include -en (/ən/) and -t (/ət/). "it tinken" (the act of thinking) for example may be reduced from /ət tɪŋ͡kən/ to /ʔtɪŋ͡kʔ/. This however is an extreme reduction and does not occur in most dialects. More common is removing the schwa
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

 (/ə/) and in case of a reduced article following a reduced dental suffix one of the /t/'s is dropped. In Standard Frisian writing this phenomenon can be represented by replacing the character representing the schwa by an apostrophe
Apostrophe
The apostrophe is a punctuation mark, and sometimes a diacritic mark, in languages that use the Latin alphabet or certain other alphabets...

.

The use of both systems vary from dialect to dialect and in the standard language there are irregularities whether to write broken vowels in their broken or unbroken form.

Consonants

b ch d f g h j k l m n p r s sj t tsj v w x y z
b x d, r f ɡ, ɣ h j k l m n p r s sj t tsj v v, f, w ks j z

, /oː/ and /øː/ are commonly realized as the diphthongs [eɪ], [oʊ] and [øʏ]. and /ɔː/ are commonly realized as [ɛ.ə] and [ɔ.ə].
  • a is pronounced [ɔ] before d, t, l, n, s
  • er is pronounced [ɛː] in bern, gers and ferzen
  • eau is pronounced [øə] in past participles and [joː] in preterites and other words
  • ei is pronounced [i] in Moandei and other compounds with -dei
  • eur is pronounced [øə]
  • the word ôf is pronounced [ɔu] or [ɔː]
  • oa becomes [a] in moatte and Moandei, and [ãː] in Woansdei
  • oe is pronounced [u] before ch, g, k
  • y is pronounced [ɛi] in my, dy, hy, wy, by, but [i] in dy as demonstrative pronoun
  • any vowel or diphthong before n + s, z, f, v, w, j, l, r, is nasalised
  • any nasalised vowel is lengthened before ns, nz
  • d is silent before l. often pronounced [r] in intervocalic position
  • h is silent before [j], [w] and in thús
  • j is often silent before [i]
  • in âl, l is silent before d, t
  • when assimilated, n becomes [m] before p, [ŋ] before k, or is dropped while nasalising the preceding vowel
  • r is silent before t, d, n, l, s, z
  • w is pronounced [v] at the beginning of a word, [f] in final, [w] elsewhere. It is silent before [w]. ww is pronounced [v]

Status


In 1951 Frisian language activists, protesting the exclusive use of Dutch in the courts, caused a riot in Leeuwarden. The resulting inquiry led to the establishment of a committee of inquiry. This committee recommended that the Frisian language would receive a legal basis as minority language.

Since 1956, West Frisian has an official status along with and equal to Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, in the province of Friesland
Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

. It is used in many domains of Frisian society, among which are education, legislation, and administration. In 2010, some sixty public transportation ticket machines in Friesland and Groningen
Groningen (province)
Groningen [] is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. In the east it borders the German state of Niedersachsen , in the south Drenthe, in the west Friesland and in the north the Wadden Sea...

 added a Frisian-language option.

Although in the courts of law the Dutch language is still mainly used, in the province of Friesland
Friesland
Friesland is a province in the north of the Netherlands and part of the ancient region of Frisia.Until the end of 1996, the province bore Friesland as its official name. In 1997 this Dutch name lost its official status to the Frisian Fryslân...

, Frisians have the right to give evidence in their own language. Also, they can take the oath in Frisian in courts anywhere in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

Primary education in Friesland was made bilingual in 1956, which means Frisian can be used as a teaching medium. In the same year, Frisian became an official school subject, having been introduced to primary education as an optional extra in 1937. It was not until 1980, however, that Frisian got the status of a fully-fledged, i.e., required, subject in primary schools, and not until 1993 that it got the same position in secondary education.

In 1997, the province of Friesland officially changed its name from the Dutch form Friesland to the Frisian Fryslân. So far 5 out of 31 municipalities (Tytsjerksteradiel
Tytsjerksteradiel
Tytsjerksteradiel is a municipality in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. It is named after the town of Tytsjerk, whose name is derived from a person named Tiete. Tiete was a daughter of Tryn, after whom the region is named...

, Boarnsterhim
Boarnsterhim
Boarnsterhim is a municipality in the northern Netherlands. The Dutch name is Boornsterhem.- Population centres :Akkrum, Aldeboarn , Dearsum , Eagum , Friens, Grou , Idaerd , Jirnsum , Nes, Poppenwier , Raerd , Reduzum , Sibrandabuorren ,...

, Littenseradiel
Littenseradiel
Littenseradiel is a municipality in the northern Netherlands. In Dutch it's known as Littenseradeel.- Population centers :Baaium, Baard, Bears, Boazum, Britswert, Easterein, Easterlittens, Easterwierrum, Hidaard, Hilaard, Hinnaard, Húns, Iens, Itens, Jellum, Jorwert, Kûbaard, Leons, Lytsewierrum,...

, Wûnseradiel
Wûnseradiel
Wûnseradiel is a former municipality in the Friesland province of the northern Netherlands, at the eastern end of the Afsluitdijk. The official name of the municipality is in the West Frisian language, though it is known as Wonseradeel in Dutch...

 and Ferwerderadiel
Ferwerderadiel
Ferwerderadiel is a municipality in the northern Netherlands. Its official name is West Frisian. The Dutch name is Ferwerderadeel.- Population centres :...

) have changed their official geographical names from Dutch to Frisian.

Within ISO 639
ISO 639
ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization that is concerned with representation of names for language and language groups....

 West Frisian falls under the codes 'fy' and 'fry', which were assigned to the collective Frisian languages.

Folklore about relation to English and Dutch


A saying, "As milk is to cheese, are English and Fries," describes the observed similarity between Frisian and English. One rhyme that is sometimes used to demonstrate the palpable similarity between Frisian and English is "Rye bread, butter and green cheese is good English and good Frisian," which sounds not tremendously different from "Brea, bûter en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk."

Another rhyme on this theme, "Bûter, brea en griene tsiis; wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries" (in English, "Butter, rye bread and green cheese, whoever can't say that is no genuine Frisian") was used, according to legend, by the 16th century Frisian freedom fighter Pier Gerlofs Donia
Pier Gerlofs Donia
Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian warrior, pirate, and rebel. He is best known by his West Frisian nickname "Grutte Pier" , or by the Dutch translations "Grote Pier" and "Lange Pier", or, in Latin, "Pierius Magnus", which referred to his legendary size and strength. His life is mostly shrouded in...

 as a shibboleth
Shibboleth
A shibboleth is a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important...

 that he forced his captives to repeat to distinguish Frisians from Dutch and Low Germans).

Westerlauwers Frisian


West Frisian can be confused with an area (or its local language) in the Dutch province Noord-Holland (NL: area = West-Friesland or local language = West-Fries), that is why the term Westlauwersk Frysk or Westerlauwersk Frisian has been introduced, The River Lauwers is the part of the border between the Dutch provinces Friesland and Groningen.

In the Netherlands West Frisian can refer to the local language spoken in the region Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Medemblik.

Sample Text


The Lord's prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, from the Frisian Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, third edition, published in 1995.

Us Heit yn 'e himel,

lit jo namme hillige wurde,

lit jo keninkryk komme,

lit jo wil dien wurde

op ierde likegoed as yn 'e himel.

Jou ús hjoed ús deistich brea

en ferjou ús ús skulden

sa't wy ús skuldners ek ferjûn hawwe;

en lit ús net yn fersiking komme,

mar ferlos ús fan 'e kweade;

want jowes is it keninkryk

en de krêft

en de hearlikheid

oant yn ivichheid. Amen.

See also

  • Frisian alphabet
    Frisian alphabet
    Depending on the way one counts, the Frisian alphabet contains between 25 and 32 characters-Letters:-Alphabetical order:In alphabetical listings both I and Y are usually found between H and J...

  • Frisia
    Frisia
    Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

  • Frisian languages
  • Frisian Islands
    Frisian Islands
    The Frisian Islands, also known as the Wadden Islands or Wadden Sea Islands, form an archipelago at the eastern edge of the North Sea in northwestern Europe, stretching from the north-west of the Netherlands through Germany to the west of Denmark...

  • Frisians
    Frisians
    The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...

  • Frisian literature
    Frisian literature
    Frisian literature is works written in the Frisian languages, particularly that of West Frisian spoken in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, from which most texts were produced or have survived. The first texts written in Frisian emerge around the 13th century...

  • Languages of the Netherlands
    Languages of the Netherlands
    The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by almost all people in the Netherlands. Dutch is also spoken in Flanders and Suriname. It is a West Germanic, Low Franconian language that originated in the Early Middle Ages The official language of the Netherlands is Dutch, spoken by...

  • Swadesh list with English and Frisian words

External links