Frisian language

group of Germanic languages

Frisian refers to three languages that comes from Friesland, a province in the Netherlands. They are spoken in the Netherlands, in Eastern Germany, and in some areas of Jutland, Denmark. It is also spoken on the Frisian Isles (Wadden Isles) and Western German (East Frisian) Isles such as Borkum.

Bilingual signs German-Frisian, police station Husum, Germany 0892.JPG
Bilingual sign in German and North Frisian, respectively, in Husum, Germany
Native toNetherlands, Germany
RegionFriesland, Groningen, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein
Native speakers
480,000 (ca. 2001 census)[1]
Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Regulated byNL: Fryske Akademy
D: no official regulation
unofficial: the Seelter Buund (for Sater Frisian), the Nordfriisk Instituut (for North Frisian)
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
fry – West Frisian
frr – North Frisian
stq – Saterland Frisian
Frisian languages in Europe.svg
Present-day distribution of the Frisian languages in Europe:

     West Frisian      North Frisian

     Saterland Frisian
Frisian speakers

They are West Germanic languages related to Dutch and are also the closest living languages to English. Since they have been spoken since Roman times, English could descend from Frisian directly.

The Frisian languages are:

Frisian languages comparison
language wordlist
English one two three four five six seven eight nine ten
West Frisian ien twa trije fjouwer fiif seis sân aacht njoggen tsien
North Frisian ian tau trii fjauer fiiw  sääks sööwen aacht  njugen tiin
Saterland Frisian aan two trio fjauer fieuw  sääks soogen oachte njuugen tjoon
  1. West Frisian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    North Frisian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
    Saterland Frisian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Frisian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.