Language Abbreviations in ‘Zur Geschichte der englisch-friesischen Sprache’

Written by Dyami Millarson

Theodor Siebs (1862-1941) used some commonly known language abbreviations in his pioneering 1889 work Zur Geschichte der englisch-friesischen Sprache (On the History of the Anglo-Frisian Language), where he combined – as it should be – phonetics and historical linguistics. We will not treat those here, as I am chiefly interested in his abbreviations for Frisian languages and Frisian language families. I will categorise his abbreviations into three categories based on the major languages families of Frisian: West Frisian, East Frisian, and North Frisian. I will also add an additional historical category: Old Frisian. I will translate the meaning of these abbreviations to English terms I would use. An overview of Siebs’ Frisian language abbreviations, which has been categorised by major language family, is particularly relevant to my contemporary and historical Frisian linguistic studies; for it gives an impression of which Frisian languages Theodor Siebs studied. I have previously published my study of Moritz Momme Nissen’s language abbreviations in DE FRĖSKE FINDLING, and the overview provided in that article serves the same purpose as my overview of Theodor Siebs’ language abbreviations in his monumental work Zur Geschichte der englisch-friesischen Sprache.


Belonging to West Frisian (abbreviated as westfrs.) are the following:

  • Baa. = Baard Frisian
  • Bk. = Balk Frisian
  • Hi. = Hindeloopen Frisian
  • Holw. = Holwerd Frisian
  • Jels. = Jelsum Frisian
  • Jo. = Joure Frisian
  • Makk. = Makkum Frisian
  • Modd. = Moddergat Frisian
  • Molkw. = Molkwerum Frisian
  • Murn. = Murnerwoude Frisian
  • Opp. = Oppenhuizen Frisian
  • Oud. = Oudemirdum Frisian
  • Schierm. = Schiermonnikoog Frisian
  • Tersch. = Terschelling Frisian
    • O.T. = East Terschelling Frisian
    • W.T. = West Terschelling Frisian
  • Tj. = Tjum Frisian
  • Wo. = Workum Frisian

Theodor Siebs used the language abbreviation Hi. for Hindeloopen Frisian (see pages 335-341 of his work for example), but he forgot to add this to his list of abbreviations.

Page 356 of Theodor Siebs’ 1889 work ‘Zur Geschichte der englisch-friesischen Sprache’ published in 1889. Pages 346-347 is where a list of abbreviations can be found. Theodor Siebs forgot to include the abbreviation Hi. for Hindeloopen Frisian before the abbreviation Hilm. on this page.

Belonging to East Frisian (abbreviated as ostfrs.) are the following:

  • Ag. = Upgant Frisian
  • harl. or Cad. = Harlingerland Frisian
  • stl. = Sagelterland Frisian
    • Ho(ll). = Ramsloh Frisian
    • Sch. = Scharrel Frisian
    • Str. = Strücklingen Frisian
  • wg. = Wangerooge Frisian
  • Wu(rst). = Wursten Frisian

Belonging to North Frisian (abbreviated as nordfrs.) are the following:

  • Amr. = Amrum Frisian
  • Bold. = Boldixum Frisian
  • Br. = Breklum Frisian
  • Gr. = Gröde Frisian
  • Hattst. = Hattstedt Frisian
  • Helg. = Heligoland Frisian
  • Hoo. = Hooge Frisian
  • Karrh. = Karrharde Frisian
  • Ldh. = Lindholm Frisian
  • Ndm. = Nordmarsch Frisian
  • Ndtst. = Nordstrand Frisian
  • Nieb. = Niebüll Frisian
  • Niebl. = Nieblum Frisian
  • Ockh. = Ockholm Frisian
  • Ol. = Oland Frisian
  • Olds. = Oldsum Frisian
  • Si. = Sylt Frisian
  • Wied. = Wiedingharde Frisian
Page 357 of Theodor Siebs’ work ‘Zur Geschichte der englisch-friesischen Sprache’ published in 1889. Pages 346-347 is where a list of abbreviations can be found.

Belonging to Old Frisian (abbreviated as altfrs.) are the following:

  • B = Bro(e)kmerland Frisian
  • E = Emsigo/Emsigerland Frisian
  • F = Fivelgo Frisian
  • H = Hunsingo Frisian
  • R = Riustringen Frisian
  • S = Old Frisian type S
  • W = Old Frisian type W

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