Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to Frisian: Frisian Islands, Frisian language


, Friesian
a language spoken in the NW Netherlands, parts of N Germany, and adjacent islands, belonging to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family: the nearest relative of the English language; it has three main dialects



the language of the Frisians. Frisian is spoken mainly in the province of Friesland in The Netherlands, which includes the West Frisian Islands of Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog (population, approximately 350,000 people). It is also spoken in the northwestern part of the Federal Republic of Germany, mainly in the Saterland, in the Land of Lower Saxony (approximately 3,000), and the far north, in the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, including the North Frisian Islands and Helgoland (approximately 16,000).

Frisian, a West Germanic language, was once spoken on a vast territory along the North Sea. It includes three dialects: West Frisian (Friesland), East Frisian (Saterland), and North Frisian (Schleswig-Holstein). Urban Frisian, which is commonly spoken in the towns of Friesland, has been significantly influenced by Dutch. Frisian is closely related to Old English.

The phonological system of Frisian is notable for its rich vowel system, which has nasal vowels, 26 diphthongs, and six triphthongs. Nouns have two genders, and the declension system has been virtually lost; the one remaining case, the genitive, is used only to a limited extent. The language has strong and weak verbs, and its tense system is typical of the majority of the Germanic languages.

The first examples of written Frisian date from the 13th century. Since the 16th century, when Friesland lost its independence, Dutch has been used for all official purposes, and Frisian primarily for spoken communication. The most important poet who wrote in Frisian was Gijsbert Japicx (17th century). In recent decades, Frisian has been taught in schools in The Netherlands. The number of books published in Frisian has notably increased, and periodicals in Frisian have appeared.

The Frisian language uses the Latin alphabet.


Fokkema, K. Beknopte Friese spraakkunst. Groningen-Batavia, 1948.
Sipma, P. Phonology and Grammar of Modern West Frisian. Ljouwert, 1966.
Pietersen, L. De Friezen en hun taal. Drachten, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
During Frisian Flag over 50 NATO aircraft from Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands joined the 122nd EFS in the skies daily over Eastern Europe.
He went on to elaborate, with evidence, in several other works, including a notable letter to The Academy on "The Frisian Origins of the Mercian Dialect.
As the festival grew, the island became a paradisiacal vacation spot for some 50,000 visitors, families and young people cycling from show to show (in the Frisian dialect, oerol means "everywhere").
Under the charter, Danish, Upper Sorbian, Lower Sorbian, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Low German and Romani are defined as regional or minority languages protected in Germany.
out of Frisian mists on lighters pulled by tugs of shallow draft and
Pic will be filmed in Frisian, a language related to Old English and still spoken by a half a million people in the province.
Besides, any genetic tree that places English more than one node away from Frisian is too arbitrary to be credible.
Even though these solidi appear to have been produced on a small scale, they were paid the compliment of being imitated in larger numbers by Frisian forgers later in the century.
Exhibition hall, West Frisian Flower Show, Bovenkarspel, the Netherlands, 1999.
The milk is collected from the ,noble Frisian cows every day without exception and is tested to ensure the absence of antibiotics or hormones.