9 Words in Aasters

Written by Dyami Millarson

I would like to shed light on the following nine typical words:

1. Tsjirmje – to tremble from the cold

The weather and exposure to the elements are an inherent part of Aasters traditional culture. It is no wonder then that speakers of Aasters exhibit a profound knowledge of the weather and nature; this traditional knowledge was necessary for their survival on the island.

2. Toesjoed – again and again, always

This is a loanword from French: toujours.

3. Spitig – unfortunate(ly)

This word is very common in Frisian: spitich.

4. Sjekje – night dress

This word is nowadays archaic. Moreover, night dresses have become old-fashioned. Aasters people traditionally wore night dresses when they went to bed.

5. Toetmem – sign of homogeneity

This Aasters expression is worth memorising: Et is un toetmem, it is all the same.

6. Smoek – cozy, pleasant, nice

In Danish there is the typical word hygge and in Dutch there is the word gezellig. It is hard to translate these culturally specific words to English.

7. Spil – game

In Frisian they say “spul.”

8. Tefoeg – useful, suitable

This is an all-purpose word in Aasters.

9. Staf – forgetful

In Aasters they have an expression: So staf as un hoen, so forgetful as a chicken. This expression is used to describe someone who is very forgetful.

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