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Gronings edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grunnegs or Grönnegs
Spoken in Netherlands: Groningen, parts in the north and east of Drenthe, the east of the Frisian municipality Kollumerland
Region Groningen
Total speakers 320,000 (est.)
Language family Indo-European
Official status
Official language in the Netherlands (as part of Low Saxon)
Regulated by No official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2
ISO 639-3 gos
Gronings kaart.png
This article is a part of the
Dutch dialects series.

Low Franconian

Low Franconian/Ripuarian

Low Saxon

Gronings, in the language itself called Grunnegs or Grönnegs, is a collective name for some Friso-Saxon dialects spoken in the province of Groningen and around the Groningen border in Drenthe and Friesland. Gronings and the strongly related varieties in East-Frisia have a strong Frisian influence and take a remarkable position within the Low Saxon language. The language is characterized by a typical accent and vocabulary, which differ strongly from the other Low Saxon dialects.



The name Gronings can be perfectly geographically defined. The dialect in the north of the province of Drenthe (Noordenvelds) are so strongly related that most linguists see it as part of Gronings. The dialect of the southeast, called Veenkoloniaals is alike on both sides of the Groningen-Drenthe border. In the Frisian municipality of Kollumerland, the western dialect called Westerkwartiers is also spoken, as well as a separate Groningen dialect called Kollumerpompsters. The latter is spoken in the Frisian village of Kollumerpomp and has more West Frisian influences, while most Groningen dialects have a strong East Frisian influence.


The Gronings language can be subdivided into 8 dialects:

Subdivision of the Groningen dialects
Groninger Dialekte.png
Gronings dialects in the provinces
of Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe
  1. Kollumerpompsters
  2. Westerkwartiers
  3. Stadjeders
  4. Hogelandsters
  5. Oldambtsters
  6. Westerwolds
  7. Veenkoloniaals
  8. Noordenvelds
  9. Other varieties of Dutch/German Low Saxon


Though there are several differences between the dialects, they form a perfect whole. Most words are written the same way, but the pronunciation can differ. The examples show the pronunciation.

  • Westerkertiers: t Eenege dat wie niet doun is slik uutdeeln
  • Stadsgrunnegs (city): t Oinege dat wie noit doun is baaltjes oetdailn
  • Hoogelaandsters: t Ainege dat wie nait dudden is slik oetdijln
  • Westerwoolds: t Einege dat wie nich dun is slikkerij uutdeiln
  • Veenkelonioals: t Ainege wat wie nait dudden is slikke uutduiln
  • East Frisian Low Saxon: Dat eenzige, dat wi neet doon is Slickeree utdelen.
  • Northern Low Saxon of Germany: Dat eenzige, dat wi nich doot, (dat) is Snabbelkraam uutdeeln.
  • Standard Dutch: Het enige dat we niet doen is snoep uitdelen.
  • Standard German: Das einzige, dass wir nicht machen, ist Süßigkeiten austeilen.
  • Scots: The anerly thing we dinnae dae is gie oot snashters.
  • English: The only thing we do not do is hand out sweets.


There are many uncertainties about the classification and categorization of Gronings. Some linguists see it as a variety of Low German, also called Nedersaksisch in the Netherlands. These words are actually more political than linguistic, because they unite a large group of very differing varieties. Categorizing Gronings as Low German or Low Saxon could be considered correct, but the questioning is about the existence of the linguistic unity called Low Saxon/Low German.

Others, especially German linguists, see Gronings-East Frisian as a separate group of German dialects. The Frisian influence, the sounds ou, ai and ui and the typical accent are crucial here. Gronings-East Frisian would be categorized as Friso-Saxon instead of Low Saxon. Other linguists categorize all Gronings-East Frisian dialects as North Low Saxon. In that case, all the other Low Saxon varieties in the Netherlands are categorized as Westphalian.

Especially Dutch linguists classify Gronings as Dutch Low Saxon, in Germany also called Westplatt. In this case the Dutch influence is crucial, while the dialects on the other side of the national border are strongly influenced by High German. These influences concern especially the vocabulary, like the Dutch word "voorbeeld" (example) which is "veurbeeld" in Gronings while the East Frisian dialects use "biespööl", which is related to the High German word "beispiel". In this case there is no separation between Groningen-East Frisian (or North Low Saxon) and Westphalian, but rather a difference between Groningen and East Frisian. The national border would equal the linguistic border.


The Gronings dialects are a kind of mix between two languages: Old Frisian (East Frisian) and Middle Low German. Frisian was spoken in the Ommelanden (surrounding lands of the city of Groningen), while the city of Groningen, the surrounding rural area called Gorecht and the eastern lordship of Westerwolde were Low Saxon. When the city of Groningen developed a mighty position in the Ommelanden, a switch from Frisian to Saxon occurred. Although it was not a complete switch because there are many Frisian influences in the "new" Groningen language. Many Frisian words and grammatic features are still in use today. In less than one century, the same process also started in East Frisia, from the city of Emden, which was influenced by the Hanseatic League. This declares the strong relation between both varieties.

In the second half of the 16th century Gronings started to grow to Middle Dutch because of the strong influence of the new standard language. But because of the political, geographical and cultural isolation of Groningen, a strong provincialism in the first half of the 19th century caused Gronings to develop itself in a significant way. The sounds that are used today were formed in this period.


Daily life

Today approximately 65% of people from Groningen can speak and write their native language. If the larger cities and villages of Groningen, Hoogezand-Sappemeer, Veendam, Stadskanaal, Delfzijl and Winschoten are abandoned in this count, the percentage would rise to about 80%. Almost all of the older people use Gronings as their main language. Until the second half of the 20th century, Gronings was more important in Groningen than Dutch. Young people also speak the language frequently, although many pure Gronings words are lost.

Since the second half of the 20th century, the usage of the language is declining. Because of the globalization, other languages like Dutch and English are becoming more important. Many parents today chose to raise their children in the Dutch language.


In the media Gronings is used frequently. For example on the local radio station Radio Noord, Gronings is used by the presenters and listeners. On the local television Gronings is less used. Something that is always in Gronings is the weather forecast. The news is always in Dutch, because not everyone who watches can speak Gronings. In the second half of 2007, the local television broadcast a series in Gronings called Boven Wotter. Another program that is in and about Gronings is Grunnegers, which is actually some kind of education in Gronings.

Examples of Gronings magazines are Toal en Taiken (language and signs) and Krödde, which actually means weed.

There are many Gronings dictionaries as well. The first official dictionary was the "Nieuw Groninger Woordenboek" and was put together by Kornelis ter Laan. This dictionary and the writing system used in the book became the basics of each dictionary and writing system ever since.

More recent is "Zakwoordenboek Gronings - Nederlands / Nederlands - Gronings" by Siemon Reker, which is a little less specific. K. G. Pieterman wrote a dictionary of Gronings alliterations which is titled Gezondhaid en Groutnis (sanity and greetings).

Education and culture

Because Gronings is not an official language it is not an obligatory subject in schools, though many primary schools in Gronginen choose to give attention to the regional language. This attention varies from external storytellers to actual courses. In secondary schools Gronings does not receive much attention.

At the University of Groningen it is possible to study the language. In October 2007 Gronings became an official study within the faculty of letteren (language and literature). The new professor, Siemon Reker, had already undergone many studies in the language and is famous for his dictionary.

Another possible way to learn Gronings is taking classes. In the last few years the trend of people taking courses has risen. More and more people, also people from outside who come to live in the area in which Gronings is spoken, are interested in the language and are willing to take courses. There are two types of courses. The first one is understanding and the second one is understanding and speaking.

Every year around march writing contest as held in every municipality in Groningen. Everyone can participate and send in a poem or some prose. The winners of the different ages succeed to the provincial round.


Well known Groningan musical artists are Wia Buze, Alex Vissering, Eltje Doddema, Pé Daalemmer & Rooie Rinus, Burdy, Hail Gewoon and Ede Staal (†). Every year the supply of successful artists in regional languages in the Netherlands is rising.

Frisian substratum

Some linguists classify Gronings to North Low Saxon, to which also East Frisian belongs. Both related dialects are characterized by a Frisian influence. Hence other linguists classify Gronings-East Frisian as a separate group of Northwest Low Saxon or Friso-Saxon dialects. The most important similarities are grammar features and the vocabulary. The most important differences are the writing system and the loanwords. The East Frisian writing system is based on High German while Gronings uses many Dutch features. For example the word for “ice skate” is in Gronings “scheuvel” and in East Frisian “Schöfel”, while the pronunciation is almost alike. Here are a few examples of words compared to West Frisian, East Frisian Low Saxon, German, Dutch and English.

West Frisian East Frisian Gronings German Dutch English
Reed Schöfel Scheuvel Schlittschuh Schaats Ice skate
Lyts Lüttje Lutje Klein Klein Little
Foarbyld Bispööl Veurbeeld Beispiel Voorbeeld Example
Bloet Bloot [blout] Bloud Blut Bloed Blood

The East Frisian combination -oo (for example in Bloot = blood) is pronounced like -ow in the English word “now”([blowt]; Gronings: blowd). In some parts of the Rheiderland they say blyowt, which is a leftover of Frisian in this area. The East Frisian combination -aa (for example in quaad) is pronounced like –a in the British English word “water”. In Gronings this sound is written like –oa. The word water would be written like “woatah” in Gronings. The pronunciation of the word “quaad” is similar to the Gronings word “kwoad”, which means “angry”. The East Frisian combination -ee and -eei (for example in neet) are pronounced like the –y in the English word “fly” ([nyt]; Gronings: nyt)*.

Linguistic distance from Standard Dutch

After Limburgish, Gronings is the dialect with the farthest distance from Standard Dutch. Reasons for this are vocabulary and pronunciation. The Gronings vocabulary is quite different from Dutch, for example:

Gronings: Doe hest n hail ìnde luu dij scheuvellopen kinnen
Dutch: Jij hebt heel veel werknemers die kunnen schaatsen
English: You have a lot of employees who can ice skate

The pronunciation differs from the writing system. The combination -en is most of the times pronounced like -'n. The Groningen people speak quite fast compared to the Dutch people, with the result that a lot of words are pronounced together as one word. Thus the example sentence is pronounced in English like "doo'estn hyil'eande lu dy-skowfle-low'm kinn". In the word skowfle, the k can also be pronounced like the Dutch -g and the -ow is pronounced like in Australian English ([øw]). The Dutch pronunciation of that sentence is like "y'I habt hail vail warke'naymers dee cøhna sgahtse", in which the -g- is pronounced as in Dutch itself.

Another reason is the fact that Gronings is a dialect with a lot of own expressions. One third of the language consists of these expressions. In the example sentence n hail ìnde is an example of those expressions. Many of these are given in the 'Nieuwe Groninger Woordenboek' by K. ter Laan published in 1977, (1280pp).

Because of this far distance from Standard Dutch and the official status of the neighbouring Frisian, Grunnegs is considered as a separate language by some of its native speakers, while linguist consider it as part of Dutch Low Saxon.

Duitse dialecten sinds 1945
The German dialects. Gronings and East Frisian considered as one language.


Lord’s Prayer

Os Voader in Hemel, (litt. Our Father in Heaven)
dat Joen Noam haailegd worden zel, (litt. May Thy name be hallowed)
dat Joen Keunenkriek kommen mag, (litt. May Thy kingdom come)
dat Joen wil doan wordt (litt. May Thy will be done)
op Eerd net as in hemel. (litt. On earth, like in heaven)
t Stoet doar wie verlet van hebben (litt. The bread we need so badly)
geef os dat vandoag, (litt. give it to us today)
en reken os nait tou wat wie verkeerd doun, (litt. And do not blame us for the things we do wrong)
net zo as wie vergeven elk dij os wat aandut. (litt. As we forgive those who trespass against us)
En breng os nait in verlaaiden, (litt. And lead us not into temptation)
mor wil van verlaaider ons verlözzen. (litt. But deliver us from the tempter)
Den Joe binnen t Keunenkriek, (litt. Because Thou art the kingdom)
de Kracht en de Heerlekhaid. (litt. the Power and the Glory)
Veur in aiweghaid. (litt. For eternity)


As told before, the Gronings vocabulary is strongly related to East Frisian Low Saxon, Saterfrisian and West Frisian. However, today the pure Gronings vocabulary is in decline. More and more Gronings words are being replaced by “Groningized” Dutch words. For example the word “stevel” (boot, German “Stiefel”) is sometimes replaced by the word “leers” (Dutch “laars”). Although most people do know the pure words, they are less and less used, for example because people think others will not understand them or because they are too long and the Dutch word is much easier. An example of the latter is the word for sock, which is “Hozevörrel” in Gronings. The Dutch word “sok” is much easier, so it is more often used than hozevörrel.

Some often used Gronings words.

Gronings Dutch English
Aingoal Voortdurend Continuously
Aine Iemand Someone
Akkenail Dakkapel Dormer
Beune Zolder Attic
Boksem Broek Trousers
Bolle Stier Bull
Boudel Boel/Toestand Rampus, mess
Bözzem Schoorsteenmantel Mantelshelf
Dammit Zometeen Right away
Edik Azijn Vinegar
Eelsk Verwaand/Aanstellerig Affected
Eerdappel/Eerpel Aardappel Potato
Elkenain Iedereen Everyone
Gounend Een aantal (mensen) Some (people)
Hounder, tuten Kippen Chickens
Hupzelen Bretels Suspender
Jeuzeln Zeuren/janken To nag
Jirre Vies water Dirty liquid
Graimen, klaaien Morsen To Grime
Kloede Klont/Dik persoon Lump/Fat person
Koare Kruiwagen Wheelbarrow
Kopstubber Ragebol Round ceiling mop
Kribben Ruzie maken To wrangle
Krudoorns Kruisbessen Gooseberry
Leeg Laag Low
Liepen Huilen The weeping
Loug Dorp Village
Lutje Klein Little
Mishottjen Mislukken To fail
Mous Boerenkool Kale
Mug Vlieg Housefly
Neefie Mug Winter Crane Fly
Om toch! Daarom! (nietszeggend antwoord op vraag met “waarom”) "because I say so"(a meaningless answer to a question with “why”)
Opoe Oma Grandmother
Poeppetoon, Woalse boon Tuinbonen Broad bean
Puut (plastic) Zak (plastic) Bag
Plof(fiets) Brommer Moped
Rebait Rode biet Red beet
Raive Gereedschap Tools
Schraaien Huilen To weep
Siepel Ui Onion
Sikkom Bijna Around
Slaif Pollepel Ladle
Slik Snoep Candy
Slim Erg Very, badly
Smok Zoen Kiss
Spèren/spijen Braken, spugen Vomiting
Stoer Moeilijk Difficult
Steekruif Koolraap Turnip cabbage
Riepe Stoep Sidewalk
Verlet hebben van Nodig hebben To need (badly)
Vernaggeln Vernielen To demolish
Weg/Vot Vandaan From (like in: “Where do you come ~?”)
Wicht Meisje Girl
Wied Ver Far
Zedel Folder Leaflet

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



  • IPA: /ˈɣronɪŋs/


Gronings n. (no plural, no diminutive)

  1. a Low Saxon dialect


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