Frisian languages

The Frisian (/ˈfrʒən/,[1] /ˈfrɪziən/[2]) languages are a closely related group of West Germanic languages, spoken by about 500,000 Frisian people, who live on the southern fringes of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. The Frisian languages are the closest living language group to the Anglic languages; the two groups make up the Anglo-Frisian languages group and together with the Low German dialects these form the North Sea Germanic languages. However, modern English and Frisian are not mutually intelligible, nor are Frisian languages intelligible among themselves, owing to independent linguistic innovations and foreign influences.

West Frisian:
Saterland Frisian:
North Frisian:
Friisk, fresk, freesk, frasch, fräisch, freesch
Netherlands and Germany.
West Frisian: Friesland, Westerkwartier;
Saterland Frisian: Saterland;
North Frisian: Nordfriesland, Heligoland
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early forms
Present-day distribution of the Frisian languages in Europe:

There are three different Frisian branches, which are usually called the Frisian languages, despite the fact that their so-called dialects are often not mutually intelligible even within these branches.[3] These branches are: West Frisian, which is by far the most spoken of the three and is an official language in the Dutch province of Friesland, where it is spoken on the mainland and on two of the West Frisian Islands: Terschelling and Schiermonnikoog. It is also spoken in four villages in the Westerkwartier of the neighbouring province of Groningen. North Frisian, the second branch, is spoken in the northernmost German district of Nordfriesland in the state of Schleswig-Holstein: on the North Frisian mainland, and on the North Frisian Islands of Sylt, Föhr, Amrum, and the Halligs. It is also spoken on the islands of Heligoland, in the North Sea. The third Frisian branch, East Frisian, has only one remaining variant, Sater Frisian, spoken in the municipality of Saterland in the Lower Saxon district of Cloppenburg. Surrounded by bogs, the four Saterlandic villages lie just outside the borders of East Frisia, in the Oldenburg Münsterland region. In East Frisia proper, East Frisian Low Saxon is spoken today, which is not a Frisian language, but a variant of Low German/Low Saxon.

Depending upon their location, the six Frisian languages have been heavily influenced by and bear similarities to Dutch and Low German/Low Saxon, and in addition North Frisian has a Danish substrate. However, Frisian is still unintelligible to Dutch; a cloze test in 2005 revealed that Dutch respondents understood 31.9% of a West Frisian newspaper, 66.4% of an Afrikaans newspaper and 97.1% of a Dutch newspaper.[4] Additional shared linguistic characteristics between Friesland and the Great Yarmouth area in England are likely to have resulted from the close trading relationship these areas maintained during the centuries-long Hanseatic League of the Late Middle Ages.[5][better source needed]

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