Frisian languages

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spoken in

Germany , the Netherlands and partly in the USA
speaker 400,000 (native speakers)
Official status
Official language in NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands ( Friesland Province )
Recognized minority /
regional language in
GermanyGermany Germany ( North Friesland district , Helgoland municipality, Saterland municipality )
Language codes
ISO 639 -1

no ISO code: fy

ISO 639 -2

no ISO code: or generalfrr, frygem

ISO 639-3

no ISO code: ofs, frr, fry, stq

The distribution area of ​​the Frisian
Bilingual German-North Frisian signs at the Husum Police Department , North Frisia
Bilingual place-name signs in Fryslân (Netherlands)

The Frisian languages , generally just Frisian (West Frisian Frysk , Sater Frisian Fräisk , North Frisian Friisk , fresk , freesk , frasch , fräisch , freesch ) are a group of three languages. They belong to the North Sea Germanic branch of the West Germanic languages . Frisian was originally widespread on the North Sea coast between the Rhine and Elbe estuaries and later also north of the Eider estuary as far as the Wiedau (see map). Today it is still spoken by around 400,000 people, mainly in the Netherlands .

The list of Frisian words offers a comparison of different word forms from Frisian dialects and the neighboring languages ​​Dutch, Low German, High German and Danish .


From the years from around 500 to around 1200, only a few Frisian runic inscriptions and individual words within Latin texts are known. Complete texts have only been passed on since the 13th century. The language level from this time to the 16th century is known as Old Frisian and is roughly in the same epoch as Middle Dutch , Middle and partly also Early New High German and early Middle Low German .

Clear differences between the West Frisian and East Frisian dialects can already be seen in the Old Frisian period. Old Frisian texts from North Frisia, however, have not been preserved. Today's North Frisia was settled in two waves around the years 700 and 1100, the North Frisian dialects split off from the language of the East and West Frisians at this time.

Modern Frisian originated from the 16th century and is divided into three main groups. In linguistics it is controversial whether the three main Frisian groups “only” form dialects of one language. Today, however, the three remaining successors are no longer understandable among each other and are viewed as different languages .

Individual languages ​​of the Frisian language branch

North Frisian

North Frisian is still spoken in parts of the district of North Friesland and on Heligoland in Schleswig-Holstein . On the islands and the mainland there are still nine different North Frisian dialects, some of which are difficult to understand. Of the approximately 164,000 inhabitants of the Nordfriesland district, around 10,000 still speak North Frisian. In the Endangered Languages ​​in Europe Report, North Frisian is classified as seriously endangered , as it is only passed on to the younger generation in a few places, especially in the north and center of the island of Amrum and in the west of the island of Föhr is passed on.

As a cross-dialect North Frisian name of the language, friisk has become naturalized.

East Frisian

In the former East Frisian language area between the Lauwers and Weser rivers (especially East Frisia , the province of Groningen and northern Oldenburg ), the Frisian language has almost completely died out. Since around 1400, East Frisian has been gradually replaced by various Low German dialects - and more recently by High German . The Wangeroog Frisian was last extinct in the 1950s .

The last remnant of the East Frisian language, Sater Frisian , is spoken by around 1,000 to 2,500 people in the municipality of Saterland in the district of Cloppenburg . If the East Frisian language distinct from the East Frisian Platt distinction should be made, in accordance with the designation westerlauwerssches Frisian for the Frisian also the term osterlauwerssches Frisian used.

West Frisian

The Frisian is in the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân) spoken by about 440,000 people, of which there talking about 350,000 as their mother tongue. It consists of four main dialects and four other minor dialects. West Frisian is the only one of the three Frisian language branches to have developed a standard variety .

Non-Frisian varieties with the designation "Frisian"

There are various linguistic varieties that were adopted by Frisians or by residents of former Frisian populated areas instead of Frisian, but linguistically not counted among the Frisian languages. Nevertheless, many of these vernacular varieties have the name “Frisian” in some form as a self or external name or at least part of it.

Today, “East Frisian” is usually used to describe East Frisian Platt , which has replaced Frisian as the vernacular in East Frisia. This was favored by the fact that the Sater Frisians no longer count themselves among the Frisians and do not call their own language Frisian , but rather Saterland ('seeltersk'). Basically it is similar with the Low German in North Friesland. Since the Frisian language is still alive there, the term North Frisian is used exclusively for the Frisian dialects. The North Frisian Platt does not differ so much from the rest of Schleswig Platt as the East Frisian Low German from its neighboring dialects.

Often called Stadsfries dialects designated dialects of the towns in the province of Friesland also not part of the Frisian. They were taken over by Frisian merchants from the province of Holland in the 15th century. Due to the strong influence of West Frisian grammar and syntax , classification as a Dutch dialect is also difficult. They are therefore mostly treated as a special group within the Dutch language , but sometimes even referred to as a special language.

Not to be confused with the West Frisian language is also the Dutch dialect of the West Frisian region in the Dutch province of North Holland . It is also known as West Frisian . There is no risk of confusing the dialect with the West Frisian language in the Netherlands. There West Friesland is clearly the North Holland region. The province of Friesland, which is usually referred to as West Friesland in Germany, is simply called Friesland or Fryslân in the Netherlands.

Language comparison with Germanic languages

  • Sater Frisian : The Wänt strookede dät Wucht uum ju Keeuwe un oapede hier ap do Sooken.
  • North Frisian ( Mooringer dialect ): Di dreng aide dåt foomen am dåt kan än mäket har aw da siike.
  • West Frisian : De jonge streake it famke om it kin en tute har op 'e wangen.
  • Low German : De Jong strakel de Deern üm't chin and kiss ore up de cheeks.
    • East Frisian : De Jung (Fent) straaktde / straktde dat Wicht um't Kinn to un tuutjede hear up de cheeks.
    • Ostfälisch (Lower Saxony) : De Jung strakele de Deern umt chin and gaww öhr een sows up de cheeks.
    • Lower Saxony (Netherlands) : De jonge strek 't dearntje um de kinne en gaf heur een smok.
      • Gronings (Groninger dialect of Low German): t Jong fleerde t weight om kinne tou en smokte heur op wange.
  • High German : The boy stroked the girl's chin and kissed her cheek / cheeks.
  • Dutch : De jongen aaide (streek, streelde) het meisje over / long hair / de kin en kuste / zoende hair op hair / de cheeks.
  • Afrikaans : The seun het die meisie om die ken streel en het hair op die cheek.
  • English : The boy stroked the girl around the chin and kissed her on the cheeks.
  • Danish : Drengen aede (strøg) pigen om / på hagen og kyssede hende på children.
  • Norwegian ( Bokmål ): Gutten strøk / kjærtegnet jenta rundt / på hook and kysset henne på kinnet / kinnene.
  • Swedish : Pojken strök / smekte flickan på hakan och kysste henne på kinden.

See also


  • Horst H. Munske , Nils Århammar, Volker F. Faltings, Jarich F. Hoekstra, Oebele Vries, Alastair GH Walker, Ommo Wilts (eds.): Handbuch des Frisian . Walter de Gruyter, Tübingen 2001, ISBN 3-484-73048-X ( limited preview in Google book search [accessed January 5, 2017]).
  • Bo Sjölin: Introduction to Frisian. Metzler, Stuttgart 1969.

Web links

Wiktionary: Frisian  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Frede Nielsen: Frisian and the Grouping of the Older Germanic Languages. In: Horst H. Munske (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Frisian. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2001.
  2. ^ A b Rolf H. Bremmer: An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2009, p. 6.
  3. ^ Rolf H. Bremmer: An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2009, pp. 6-15.
  4. ^ Rolf H. Bremmer: An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary. Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2009, pp. 15-18.
  5. On the mutual intelligibility of North and West Frisian: Femke Swarte, Nanna Haug Hilton: Mutual intelligibility between speakers of North and West Frisian . (PDF; 516 kB) 2013; accessed on April 16, 2017
  6. Who we are. , accessed on June 2, 2020