Frisian (Frysk/Friisk/Seeltersk)

Frisian is a group of West Germanic languages spoken in Germany and the Netherlands. There are three main varieties of Frisian: West Frisian which is spoken by about 450,000 people in the Netherlands; North Frisian a collection of nine different dialects spoken in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) by about 8,000 people, and Sater Frisian with about 2,000 speakers in the German state of Lower Saxony.

Frisian is closely related to English with up to 80% of lexical similarity.

North Frisian (Frasch / Fresk / Freesk / Friisk)

North Frisian is spoken in Schleswig-Holstein in the rural district of North Frisia (Nordfriesland). The language area comprises part of the mainland, the islands of Sylt, Föhr, Amrum and Heligoland, and the small islands of the Halligen archipelago.

Though North Frisian has no official status in Germany, it is occasionally used at local council meetings, etc. A few villages have Frisian road signs and bilingual place names are allowed. Frisian house names are popular, particularly on the islands where Frisian is spoken. The language is taught for a couple of hours a week in schools and there are a number of Frisian courses for adults throughout the region. There are regular, short broadcasts in Frisian on the radio, occasional Frisian articles in the German newspapers, and some Frisian literature, theatre and choirs.

There are a number of different local names for North Frisian: Noordfreesk (Wiedingharde), Nordfrasch (Mooring/Böökingharde), Nordfriisk (Sylt), Nuurdfresk (Föhr) and Nuurdfriisk (Helgoland).

Pronunciation of North Frisian

Pronunciation of North Frisian


All dialects

Sylt dialect

Mooring & Föhringer

Mooring dialect

Useful phrases in North Frisian

Sater Frisian (Seeltersk)

Sater Frisian is spoken in the three villages of Ramsloh, Scharrel and Strücklingen in the Community of the Saterland in the Northwest corner of the Lower Saxon County of Cloppenburg. The language is taught to a limited extent in some kindergartens and primary schools; articles appear regularly in Cloppenburg newspapers, and there are some theatrical performances in the language.

Sater Frisian pronunciation

Sater Frisian pronunciation


West Frisian (Frysk)

West Frisian is spoken in the Dutch province of Fryslan/Friesland, and also in a number of border villages in the neighboring province of Groningen. The language can be used in dealings with public bodies, and is taught or used as a medium of instruction in most schools. There are regular radio and television broadcasts in Frisian, and occasional Frisian articles in the newspapers.

West Frisian alphabet (Frysk alfabet)
A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I/Y i/y
aa bee see dee ee ef gee haa ii
J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r
jee kaa el em en oo pee kuu er
S s T t U u V v W w X x Z z    
es tee uu fee wee iks set    


Pronunciation of West Frisian

Pronunciation of West Frisian vowels, diphthongs and triphthongs



Sample texts in Frisian languages and dialects

Mainland North Frisian dialects

Wiedingharde dialect (freesk)

Ale mänskene sän fri, likwjarti än mä däsjilwe rochte toläid. Jä hääwe ferstand än gewääten mäfingen än skuulin enoor äs broorne oonmuittreere.

Mooring/Böökingharde dialect (frasch)

Åle manschne san fri, likwjardi än ma daseelwie ruchte tuläid. Ja hääwe ferstånd än gewääten mafüngen än schönj enouder as brouderne önjtiinjtreese.

Hoorning dialect (fräisch)

Ale mänschne sän fri, glikweerti än mä däseelwie rochte tolaid. Jä hääwe ferstand än gewääten mäfüngen än schouln enår as bråre ounjintree'e.

Halligen (Tideland Island) (freesk)

Ale mänskene sän frai, glikweerti än mä de sälefste rochte tolaid. Jä hääwe ferstand än gewääten mäfungen än sköön nöör as bröörne ööntiantree'e.

Insular North Frisian languages

Sylt (söl'ring)

Ali Mensken sen frii, likwertig en me disalev Rochten beren. Ja haa Forstant en Giweeten mefingen en skul arküder üs Brödern öntöögentreer.

Föhr (fering)

Ale mensken san frei, likwäärtig an mä dönsalew rochten bäären. Jo haa ferstant an geweeten mäfingen an skul enöler üüs breler uunjintreed.

Amrum (öömrang)

Ale minsken san frei, likwäärtag an mä josalew rochten bäären. Jo haa ferstant an geweeten mäfüngen an skul enööder üs breder uunjintreed.

Helgoland (halunder)

Alle Mensken sen frai, likwörti en med de sallowski Rechten geboorn. Djo hoa Ferstant en Geweeten medfin'n en skul arker as Bruurs uundjintreed.

Saterland East Frisian Language (Seeltersk)

Roomelse dialect

Aal do Moanskene sunt fräi un gliek in Wöide un Gjuchte gebooren. Joo hääbe Fernunft un Gewieten meekriegen un schällen sik eenuur as Bruure ferhoolde.

Strukelje dialect

Aal do Maanskene sunt fräi un gliek in Wöide un Gjuchte gebooren. Jo hääbe Fernunft un Gewieten meekriegen un schällen sik eenour as Broure ferhoolde.

Schäddel dialect

Aal do Maanskene sunt fräi un gliek in Wöide un Gjuchte gebooren. Jo hääbe Fernunft un Gewieten meekriegen un schällen sik eenuur as Bruure ferhoolde.

West Frisian (Frysk)

Alle minsken wurde frij en gelyk yn weardigens en rjochten berne. Hja hawwe ferstân en gewisse meikrigen en hearre har foar inoar oer yn in geast fan bruorskip te hâlden en te dragen.

A recording of this text

Useful phrases in West Frisian

Tower of Babel in West Frisian


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about pronunciation and sample texts provided by François Paes, Pyt Kramer, Reinhard Hahn and the NordFriisk Instituut.


Information about Frisian

Online course in West Frisian

Information about North Frisian

Downloadable Frisian dictionary

Online German-Seelter Frisian dictionary

Seelter Frisian Grammar

Farsk - Frysk Literêr Ynternet Tydskrift (Frisian literature)

Online Frisian Radio (North Frisian) (West Frisian)

Geeske's Griemside (Frisian cartoons)

Tweets in Frisian

Frisian books are available from:

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, Frisian (East), Frisian (North), Frisian (Saterland), Frisian (West), German, Gothic, Gottscheerish, Gronings, Hunsrik, Icelandic, Limburgish, Low German, Luxembourgish, Mòcheno, Norn, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Ripuarian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Stellingwarfs, Swabian, Swedish, Swiss German, Transylvanian Saxon, Värmlandic, Wymysorys, Yiddish, Yola, Zeelandic

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet


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