Frisian languages: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frisian
Frysk / Fräisk / Frasch /
Fresk / Freesk / Friisk
Bilingual sign in Frisian in Husum Bilingual signs German-Frisian, police station Husum, Germany 0892.JPG
Spoken in  Netherlands
 Germany
Region  Friesland
 Groningen
 Lower Saxony
 Schleswig-Holstein
Total speakers 500,000
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Latin alphabet
Official status
Official language in  Netherlands
 Germany
Regulated by NL: Fryske Akademy
D: no official regulation
unofficial: the Seelter Buund (for Sater Frisian), the Nordfriisk Instituut (for North Frisian)
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3 variously:
fry – West Frisian
stq – Saterland Frisian
frr – North Frisian
Frisians.png

Original and 21st century distribution of Frisian (without the island of Rømø (Danish language)).

The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 members of Frisian ethnic groups, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. The Frisian languages are the most closely related living European languages to English, although Scots is sometimes considered a separate language rather than a dialect of English, which would make Frisian the second most closely related. However, modern English and Frisian are mostly unintelligible to each other. Frisian languages bear similarities to Low German, Dutch (from which many Frisian words have been borrowed) and Danish, and Danish speakers are able to understand some spoken Frisian. Additional shared linguistic characteristics between the Great Yarmouth area, Friesland, and Denmark are likely to have resulted from the close trading relationship these areas maintained during the centuries-long Hanseatic League of the Late Middle Ages.

Contents

Division

There are three varieties of Frisian: West Frisian, Saterland Frisian, and North Frisian. Some linguists consider these three varieties, despite their mutual unintelligibility, to be dialects of one single Frisian language, while others consider them to be three separate languages, as do their speakers. Of the three, the North Frisian language especially is further segmented into several strongly diverse dialects. Stadsfries is not Frisian, but a Dutch dialect influenced by Frisian. Frisian is called Frysk in West Frisian, Fräisk in Saterland Frisian, and Frasch, Fresk, Freesk, and Friisk in the dialects of North Frisian.

The situation in the Dutch province of Groningen and the German region of East Frisia is more complex: The local Low Saxon dialects of Gronings and East Frisian Low Saxon are a mixture of Frisian and Low Saxon dialects; it is believed that Frisian was spoken there at one time, only to have been gradually replaced by the town language of Groningen City. This local language is now, in turn, being replaced by standard Dutch.

Advertisements

Speakers

Most Frisian speakers live in the Netherlands, primarily in the province of Friesland, since 1997 officially using its West Frisian name of Fryslân, where the number of native speakers is about 350,000. An increasing number of native Dutch speakers in the province are learning Frisian as a second language. In Germany, there are about 2,000[1] speakers of Saterland Frisian in the Saterland region of Lower Saxony; the Saterland's marshy fringe areas have long protected Frisian speech there from pressure by the surrounding Low German and standard German.

In the Nordfriesland (North Frisia) region of the German province of Schleswig-Holstein, there are 10,000[2] North Frisian speakers. While many of these Frisians live on the mainland, most are found on the islands, notably Sylt, Föhr, Amrum, and Heligoland. The local corresponding North Frisian dialects are still in use.

Status

Saterland and North Frisian[3] are officially recognised and protected as minority languages in Germany, and West Frisian is one of the two official languages in the Netherlands, together with Dutch. ISO 639-1 code fy and ISO 639-2 code fry were assigned to "Frisian", but that was changed in November 2005 to "Western Frisian". According to the ISO 639 Registration Authority the "previous usage of [this] code has been for Western Frisian, although [the] language name was "Frisian"."[4]

The new ISO 639 code stq is used for the Saterland Frisian language a variety of Eastern Frisian (not to be confused with East Frisian Low Saxon, a West Low German dialect). The new ISO 639 code frr is used for the North Frisian language variants spoken in parts of Schleswig-Holstein.

The Ried fan de Fryske Beweging took care of the Frisian language varieties being constitutionalized. Nevertheless, Saterland Frisian and most dialects of North Frisian are seriously endangered[5].

History

Old-Frisian from 1345.
Bilingual signs in Fryslân (Netherlands).
Bilingual sign in North-Frisia (Germany).
Bilingual sign in East-Frisia (Germany).

Old Frisian

[6]

In the early Middle Ages the Frisian lands stretched from the area around Bruges, in what is now Belgium, to the river Weser, in northern Germany. At that time, the Frisian language was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast. Today this region is sometimes referred to as Great Frisia or Frisia Magna, and many of the areas within it still treasure their Frisian heritage, even though in most places the Frisian languages have been lost.

Frisian is the language most closely related to English and Scots, but after at least five hundred years of being subject to the influence of Dutch, modern Frisian in some aspects bears a greater similarity to Dutch than to English; one must also take into account the centuries-long drift of English away from Frisian. Thus the two languages have become less mutually intelligible over time, partly due to the marks which Dutch and Low German have left on Frisian, and partly due to the vast influence some languages (in particular French) have had on English throughout the centuries. Although intelligibility is often strained between the two languages (especially spoken), the Northumbrian dialect of English bears a striking similarity to Frisian in many ways.

Old Frisian, however, was very similar to Old English. This similarity was reinforced in the late Middle Ages by the Ingaevonic sound shift, which affected Frisian and English, but only affected the other West Germanic varieties slightly, if 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 it is kaas and kerk, and in German the respective words are Käse and Kirche. Contrarily, this did not happen for chin and (to)choose, which are kin and kieze[7].

One rhyme demonstrates the palpable similarity between Frisian and English: "Butter, bread, and green cheese is good English and good Fries," which is pronounced more or less the same in both languages (Frisian: "Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis is goed Ingelsk en goed Frysk.") [8]

One major difference between Old Frisian and modern Frisian is that in the Old Frisian period (c.1150-c.1550) grammatical cases still existed. 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 legalistic writings. 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 as such. The transition from the Old Frisian to the Middle Frisian 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

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 (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 rulers of the Netherlands (the German Emperor Charles V and his son, the Spanish King Philip II), 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 great Frisian poet Gysbert Japiks (1603-66), a schoolteacher and cantor from the city of Bolsward, 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 Southwest Frisian. Therefore, the Modern Frisian period is considered to have begun at this point in time, around 1820.

Family tree

Each of the Frisian languages has several dialects. Between some, the differences are such that they rarely hamper understanding; only the number of speakers justifies the denominator of 'dialect'. In other cases, even neighbouring dialects may hardly be mutually intelligible.

Text samples

The Lord's Prayer

The Lord's Prayer in Standard Western Frisian (Frysk):

Us Heit, dy't yn de himelen is
jins namme wurde hillige.
Jins keninkryk komme.
Jins wollen barre,
allyk yn 'e himel
sa ek op ierde.
Jou ús hjoed ús deistich brea.
En ferjou ús ús skulden,
allyk ek wy ferjouwe ús skuldners.
En lied ús net yn fersiking,
mar ferlos ús fan 'e kweade.
[Want Jowes is it keninkryk en de krêft
en de hearlikheid oant yn ivichheid.] "Amen"

The English translation in the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

Our Father, which art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
in earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from evil.
[For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.] Amen.

(NB: Which was changed to "who", in earth to "on earth," and them to "those" in the 1928 version of the Church of England prayer book and used in other later Anglican prayer books too. However, the words given here are those of the original 1662 book as stated)

Comparative sentence

Saterland Frisian
Die Wänt strookede dät Wucht uum ju Keeuwe un oapede hier ap do Sooken.
North Frisian (Mooring 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.
East Frisian Low Saxon
De Jung straktde dat Wicht um't Kinn to un tuutjede hör up de Wangen.
Danish
Drengen aede pigen på kinden og kyssede hende på kinderne.
Dutch
De jongen streelde/streek het meisje rond haar kin en kuste haar op haar wangen.
Dutch Low Saxon
De jonge strek 't dearntje um de kinne en gaf heur een smok.
German
Der Junge streichelte das Mädchen ums Kinn und küsste sie an den Wangen.
English
The boy stroked the girl on the chin and kissed her on the cheeks.
Lancashire dialect and accent
Th' lad strorkt 'lass on 'jib an busst er on th' cheaks.
Lancashire dialect and accent
Th' lad strorkt 'lass on 'jib an gev er a smeawch on th' cheaks.
Scots
The laddie straikit the lassie oan the chin an gied hir a smouch oan the chouks.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Gegenwärtige Schätzungen schwanken zwischen 1.500 und 2.500." Marron C. Fort: Das Saterfriesische. In: Horst Haider Munske,Nils Århammar: Handbuch des Friesischen – Handbook of Frisian Studies. Niemayer (Tübingen 2001).
  2. ^ Ethnologue.com
  3. ^ Gesetz zur Förderung des Friesischen im öffentlichen Raum - Wikisource (German)
  4. ^ Christian Galinski; Rebecca Guenther, Håvard Hjulstad. "Registration Authority Report 2004-2005" (PDF). pp. 4. http://www.niso.org/international/SC4/N585.pdf. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  5. ^ Matthias Brenzinger, Language Diversity Endangered, Mouton de Gruter, The Hague: 222
  6. ^ Rolf H. Bremmer Jr, An Introduction to Old Frisian. History, Grammar, Reader, Glossary (Amsterdam & Philadelphia, 2009)
  7. ^ English to Frisian dictionary
  8. ^ The History of English: A Linguistic Introduction. Scott Shay, Wardja Press, 2008, ISBN 0615168175, 9780615168173

External links

West Frisian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saterland Frisian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message