[Spellyans] orthography

Daniel Prohaska daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
Wed Nov 13 11:20:00 GMT 2013

The three Frisian languages are West-, East- and North-Frisian. 

North-Frisian is an off-shoot of East-Frisian, as East-Frisian speakers settled on the North Frisian islands around the 8th century and on the mainland around the 11th an 12th centuries. Some linguistic differences between island and mainland dialects go back to these different periods of settlement. North-Frisian, mainland and islands has around 10 000 speakers today. Many speakers are bi-, tri- or evn quadrilingual with North Frisian, Low German, Standard German and South Jutish (Danish dialect).

East-Frisian died out between the 15th and the 20th centuries. It held out longest on the East-Friasian island of Wangeroog which died out in the first half of the 20th century. What is today referred to East-Frisian is a variety of Low German (Low Saxon) spoken in the area where Frisian was once spoken and this Low German variety still shows a great deal of substrate influence from Frisian. East-Frisian proper survives in the Saterland marshland colony that Nicholas mentioned. Saterland Frisian is linguistically quite conservative and has been extensively studied by the American linguist Marron Ford, who has codified the language and written a dictionary. The number of speakers ranges between 1500 and 2000 of a total population of 13 000. 

North- and Saterland-Frisian are spoken in what is today the Federal Repbulic of Germany and the social linguistic positioning of Frisian has been somewhat similar to the regional and local dialects of German throughout the modern age. There has never been particular animosity towards speaking Frisian, but is was considered backward, "rural" and Standard German was the language that "got you somewhere". Intergenerational transmission largely ceased in the 1970s with few exceptions. Today, Frisian is recognised as a national minority language by Germany as well as the EU. Classes can be taken in school and there are some admirable revitalisation projects, such as bringing elderly Frisian native speakers into nursery and primary schools to speak Frisian to the children and interact, good for both generations. 

Here are some links where you can hear North Frisian: 


North Frisian Low German at 0:40
North Frisian at 1:10, 4:18, the commentary is also in North-Frisian, Some of interveiwees speak northen Stadard German; 

More North Frisian:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRXoCixqyk8 (at 0:15)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ni1QIPv_lOw (Föhr)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_jl7mSuxXA (Amrum, at 1:50)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IkZ8sb_D2I (Sylt, at 1:50)


at 0:12


East Frisian Low German:


Farmer haggling for cows


at 0:18


West Frisian has the larges community of speakers, around 400 000 within the borders of the Netherlands.Transmission to the younger generation is less of a problem there, but nonetheless it is endangered from encroaching Dutch. 


at 0:15

West Frisian in Canada
at 3:05

The three Frisian languages aren't mutually intelligible. 


On Nov 12, 2013, at 11:27 PM, Dai Hawkins wrote:

> Friesian is below my radar, sorry!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
> Sent: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 20:35:46 -0000
> To: spellyans at kernowek.net
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] orthography
> Dai, and others!
> Out of pure interest, but do you know the status of Friesian orthography and indeed the state of that language in general?
> I ask because it has been mentioned in connection with a series of crime novels I have been reading, set in Hamburg and featuring a half Scot/half German detective!
> Ewan.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Dai Hawkins
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 1:24 PM
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] orthography
> Lived for a time in Karpfham i R.,Niederbayern, five km from the Mili/Muichgrenze.  also had a lot of contact with Zwiesel, so I expect there's some influence there, too.  Karpfham, with about 500 inhabitants, holds Bavaria's their largest Bierfest (after Minga and Straubing.  What part of Austria are you from?
> I'm fascinated by problems of orthography, and am a great believer (with some qualifications) in historic orthography as opposed to phonetic orthography. This is still an issue in e.g Occitan, Romansch.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
> Sent: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 11:54:39 +0100
> To: spellyans at kernowek.net
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] orthography
> I couldn't resist, thanks group, for indulging. I'm actually Austrian, but our dialects are sufficiently close, especially along the border… How did you get to learn Bavarian?
> Dan
> On Nov 11, 2013, at 1:41 AM, Dai Hawkins wrote:
>> Ah mei!  Des giebds aa!  Des hob i ned vuagseng ghobt, besondrs in diasn Grubbn! 
>> Sometimes it's fun to be upstaged! :)
>> OIs guade aa!
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: daniel at ryan-prohaska.com
>> Sent: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 01:17:04 +0100
>> To: spellyans at kernowek.net
>> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] orthography
>> Servus, Dai!
>> Wånst Boarisch redn konnst, vastehst mi jå. I wui da nua sogn, dåss' schee is, dåsst jetz aa in insra Gruppm dabei bist! 
>> Ois guad!
>> Dan
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 10.11.2013, at 22:36, Dai Hawkins <dafydd at inbox.com> wrote:
>>> Sh'mae bawb! I'm called Dai Hawkins and speak fluent English, Welsh and Bavarian. I have a great interest in orthography, particularly in minority languages, and over the years have followed the debates on this topic with regard to Cornish and Occitan with great interest.
>>> My chief connection with Cornish is that I often visited Cornwall in the 1940s and 50s (my great-aunt lived in Lanner, and there were family friends in Par), and spent a short time as a pupil in Tywardreath junior school.
>>> Cyfarchion cynnes o Gymru!
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