Mission Statement

Author: Dyami Millarson, Last updated: 6 April 2022

We learn the most exotic and fascinating languages of Europe. Our work involves chiefly highly endangered minority languages. We are currently focused on the Frisian languages spoken in Europe.

There are 19 living Frisian tongues and we intend to study them all:

  • West Frisian (Westerlauwers Fries, Westfriesisch)
    • Shire Frisian or Wood-Clay Frisian (exonyms: Landfries/Dorpsfries/Boerenfries, endonyms: Geafrysk/Lânfrysk)
      1. Clay Frisian (exo. Kleifries, endo. Klaaifrysk)
      2. Wood Frisian (exo. Woudfries, endo. Wâldfrysk)
      3. North Clay Frisian or North Corner Frisian (exo. Noordkleifries/Noordhoeks, endo. Noardklaaifrysk/Noardhoeksk)
    • South Sea Frisian-Shire Frisian
      1. Southwest Corner Frisian (exo. Zuidwesthoeks, Súdwesthoeksk)
    • Terschelling Frisian (exo. (Ter-)Schellinger Fries, Skylger Frysk, endo. Schyljer Frys)
      1. East Terschelling Frisian (exo. Oosterschellingers, endo. Aasters)
      2. West Terschelling Frisian (exo. Westerschellingers, endo. Westers)
    • South Sea Frisian (exo. Zuiderzeefries, Suderseefrysk)
      1. Hindeloopen Frisian (exo. Hindeloopers, Hylpersk, endo. Hielpes)
    • East-West Frisian
      1. Schiermonnikoog Frisian (exo. Schiermonnikoogs/Eilanders, Skiermûntseagersk, endo. Eilaunders)
  • East Frisian (Oosterlauwers Fries, Ostfriesisch)
    1. Sagelterland Frisian (exo. Saterfriesisch, endo. Seeltersk)
      1. Ramsloh Frisian
      2. Scharrel Frisian
      3. Strücklingen Frisian
  • North Frisian (Noord-Fries, Nordfriesisch)
    • Continental North Frisian
      1. Central Goesharde Frisian
      2. Northern Goesharde Frisian
        1. Langenhorn Frisian (Hoorner)
        2. Ockholm Frisian (Hoolmer)
      3. Hallig Frisian (exo. Halligfriesisch, endo. Halifreesk)
      4. Karrharde Frisian (exo. Karrharder Friesisch)
      5. Wiedingharde Frisian (exo. Wiedingharder Friesisch)
        1. Horsbüll Frisian (endo. Hoorbling)
        2. Neukirchen Frisian
        3. Klanxbüll Frisian
        4. Rodenäs Frisian
        5. Emmelsbüll Frisian
      6. Bökingharde Frisian  (exo. Mooring, endo. Mååring)
        1. Niebüll Frisian (endo. Naiblinge)
        2. Fahretoft Frisian
    • Insular North Frisian
      1. Sylt Frisian (exo. Sylterfriesisch, endo. Söl’ring)
        1. West Sylt Frisian
        2. East Sylt Frisian
      2. Hel(i)golandic Frisian (exo. Helgoländisch, endo. Halunder)
      3. Föhr Frisian (exo. Föhrer Friesisch, endo. Fering)
        1. West Föhr Frisian (endo. Wesdring)
        2. East Föhr Frisian (endo. Aasdring)
      4. Amrum Frisian (exo. Amring, endo. Oomring)
Classification: West Frisian, East Frisian and North Frisian are language families according to the on-going research of our Foundation. North Frisian can be divided into insular and continental subfamilies. Clay Frisian and Wood Frisian, East Terschelling Frisian and West Terschelling Frisian, Hindeloopen Frisian and Molkwerum Frisian, Northern Goesharde Frisian and Central Goesharde Frisian, Föhr Frisian and Amrum Frisia belong to the larger linguistic groupings Shire Frisian (= Clay-Wood Frisian), Terschelliing Frisian, Hindeloopen-Molkwerum Frisian, Goesharde Frisian and Föhr-Amrum Frisian respectively. On a higher level, Hindeloopen-Molkwerum Frisian belongs to South Sea Frisian (Dut. Zuiderzeefries) while Shire Frisian and Terschelling Frisian belong to Shire-Terschelling Frisian. Southwest Corner Frisian ultimatley belongs to Shire-Terschelling Frisian nowadays, yet it is a South Sea Frisian-coloured language as a historical result of language shift in the Southwest Corner which saw the decline of the old South Sea Frisian and the rise of Shire Frisian in the region (a development which is also threatening Hindeloopen Frisian nowadays), thus it may be considered to belong to a separate South Sea Frisian-Shire-Terschelling grouping within the Shire-Terschelling Frisian subfamily of West Frisian. Southwest Corner Frisian is a transitional language (Dutch: overgangstaal) between proper South Sea Frisian and Shire-Terschelling Frisian. Schiermonnikoog Frisian, which has here been classified as West Frisian yet falls outside the Shire-Terschelling Frisian and South Sea Frisian groupings, is hard to classify due to possible East Frisian influences, or possibly having been originally East Frisian; while it is possible that Schiermonnikoog Frisian was originally an East Frisian language with West Frisian influences, nowadays it is practically a West Frisian language with possible East Frisian influences and therefore may as a potential mixed language or contact language be classified as East Frisian-West Frisian, which means, as West Frisian is the last in this compound, it is ultimately West Frisian. While Strand Frisian and Hallig Frisian are closely related and might have a common origin, they may be classified as Hallig-Strand Frisian. If the Schiermonnikoog Frisians are not originally East Frisian yet adopted East Frisian features, this may be explained by the liekly possibility that the Schiermonnikoog Frisians could as a sea-faring people have come into contact with the East Frisians via the Hanseatic League during the Middle Ages.

Ranking by level of endangerment: We give more priority to the study, promotion and protection of a language or linguistic grouping based on its endangerment ranking. Sagelterland Frisian was the only remaining East Frisian language until we revived Wangerooge Frisian. Schiermonnikoog Frisian is without a doubt the most endangered Frisian language in the Netherlands. Föhr-Amrum Frisian is the largest Insular North Frisian grouping and Bökingharde Frisian is the largest Continental North Frisian grouping, making them both relatively the least endangered within their respective groupings. Föhr-Amrum Frisian is larger than Bökingharde Frisian, so the latter is the second largest North Frisian grouping. Goesharde Frisian is the most endangered grouping of the Continental North Frisian groupings. Wiedingharde Frisian is the 2nd least endangered Continental North Frisian grouping. Hallig Frisian is the most endangered after that. Karrharde Frisian may also be very endangered, or so I heard. I guess Karrharde Frisian might be on a similar level with Hallig Frisian and Goesharde Frisian, but I do not know its exact ranking relative to the others as of yet.   

It is our life mission to learn the most endangered Frisian tongues ere they die out. We wish to keep the knowledge of these languages alive with our own efforts and we wish to transmit the knowledge of these languages to a new group of young people.

We take on language challenges to get attention for the variety of languages spoken in Europe today. The diversity of languages in Europe is a topic that is not yet frequently talked about in daily life and we wish to change that by studying and talking about these fascinating, exotic languages. We wish their voices to (still) be heard around the world!

When we learn any language, we believe that we are saving it. We never stop using a language once we have learned it. Articles written in various languages that we have learned frequently appear on our blog. We keep the knowledge of the languages alive this way.

Although we initially prioritise the living over the dead Frisian languages for practical reasons, our ultimate goal is the study of all Frisian languages, both living and dead. Therefore, after learning the 15 living Frisian languages, we will shift our attention to the deceased Frisian languages which may be well-documented or scarcely documented languages of which there are no recorded modern descendants as well as historical languages which are predecessors of living Frisian tongues that we have already familiarised ourselves with.

We do not overlook historical variants. In our estimation, they are just as much tongues as the living and deceased Frisian tongues are. It takes time to study them. Many years prior, we experienced the same while studying both 19th-century Dutch and Modern Dutch.

We wish to study all of the following 34 deceased or historical Frisian tongues:

  • Languages of which there is no living descendant
    • Tongues fragmentarily preserved in texts, vocabularies or grammars
      1. Wangerooge Frisian Seetzenian, Ehrentrautian, Siebsian
      2. Southern Goesharde Frisian
      3. Harlingerland(ic) Frisian
      4. Wursten Frisian
        1. Imsum Frisian
        2. Wremen Frisian
      5. Strand Frisian
        1. Nordstrand Frisian
        2. Pellworm Frisian
        3. Wyk Frisian
      6. Molkwerum Frisian
      7. Upgant Frisian
      8. Holland(ic) Frisian
      9. Makkum Frisian
      10. Workum Frisian
    • Tongues with only scanty remains in names or substrates
      1. Eiderstedt Frisian
      2. Ameland(ic) Frisian
      3. Jeverland(ic) Frisian
  • Languages which are predecessors of living tongues
    1. Classical Hindeloopen Frisian
    2. Classical Schiermonnikoog Frisian
    3. Classical Southwest Corner Frisian (= Classical South Sea Frisian)
    4. Classical East Terschelling Frisian
    5. Classical West Terschelling Frisian
    6. Classical Sagelterland(ic) Frisian
    7. Classical Hel(i)goland(ic) Frisian
    8. Classical Karrharde Frisian
    9. Classical Bökingharde Frisian
    10. Classical Southern Goesharde Frisian
    11. Classical Central Goesharde Frisian
    12. Classical Northern Goesharde Frisian
    13. Classical Sylt Frisian
    14. Classical Hallig Frisian
    15. Classical Föhr Frisian
    16. Classical Amrum Frisian
    17. Classical Wiedingharde Frisian
    18. Classical Hallig Frisian
    19. Middle (West) Frisian (= Classical Shire Frisian)
      1. Gysbert Japicx’ Frisian
      2. Brothers Halbertsma’s Frisian
    20. Old Frisian (= Late Old Frisian; Altfriesisch/Spätaltfriesisch, Oudfries/Laatoudfries, Aldfrysk/Letâldfrysk)
      1. Old East Frisian (Altostfriesisch, Oosterlauwers Oudfries)
        1. Riustringen Frisian (Rüstringer Friesisch, Riustringer Fries)
        2. Bro(e)kmerland Frisian (Brokmer Friesisch, Brokmer Fries)
        3. Fivelgo Frisian (Fivelgoer Friesisch, Fivelgoër Fries)
        4. Emsigo Frisian (Emsigoer Friesisch, Emsigoër Fries)
        5. Hunsingo Frisian (Hunsingoer Friesisch, Hunsingoër Fries)
      2. Old West Frisian (Altwestfriesisch, Westerlauwers Oudfries)
      3. Proto-North Frisian (Urnordfriesisch, Oer-Noord-Fries)
    21. Runic Frisian (= Ancient Frisian, Elder Frisian, Early Old Frisian; Frühaltfriesisch, Vroegoudfries)
Classification: Wangerooge Frisian, Wursten Frisian, Harlingerland Frisian and Upgant Frisian are East Frisian languages like Sagelterland Frisian. Eiderstedt Frisian, Strand Frisian and Southern Goesharde Frisian are North Frisian languages. Molkwerum Frisian, Holland Frisian, Makkum Frisian, Workum Frisian and Ameland Frisian are West Frisian languages. Wangerooge Frisian, Wursten Frisian, Harlingerland Frisian, Jeverland Frisian belong to the Weser Frisian subfamily of East Frisian, while Upgant Frisian along with Sagelterland Frisian and Brokmerland Frisian belongs to the Ems Frisian subfamily. While Molkwerum Frisian is closely related to Hindeloopen Frisian, it may belong to a Molkwerum-Frisian grouping. Hindeloopen-Molkwerum Frisian, Makkum Frisian and Workum Frisian belong to the South Sea Frisian subfamily of West Frisian while Ameland Frisian belongs to the Shire-Terschelling Frisian subfamily of West Frisian. Holland Frisian may belong to a Western South Sea Frisian grouping which is distinct from the Eastern South Sea Frisian grouping to which Hindeloopen Frisian and others belong. This grouping may perhaps also be called Coast or Water Frisian as it was historically spoken in the coast or water regions of North Holland, where West Frisian North Hollandic tongues that replaced the proper West Frisian ones are now spoken. Yet another alternative name for the grouping is South Frisian, as it would be the southernmost Frisian.   

Revival efforts: The goal of our investigations is to study whether it is possible to revive certain languages is possible and if it is possible, how it can be done. For this reason, our first effort consists in investigating whether a language is relatively well or poorly documented. We find this out naturally as we collect all available materials for study. The next effort consists in investigating what possibilities there are for (quick) revival. If a quick revival is not possible, we estimate how much reconstruction and linguistic comparison with related languages is needed. We prioritise quickly revivable languages over languages that cannot be quickly revived and require a significant degree of linguistic reconstruction and linguistic comparison.

Documentation of dead languages without modern descendants: Wangerooge Frisian, Molkwerum Frisian, Southern Goesharde Frisian and Harlingerland Frisian are relatively well-documented compared to the other Frisian tongues that are in the same situation. The Wangerooge Frisian, Southern Goesharde Frisian, Harlingerland Frisian, Wursten Frisian, Strand Frisian, Molkwerum Frisian, Upgant Frisian, Holland(ic) Frisian fragments allow for a generally swifter and smoother revival than whatever remains of Eiderstedt and Ameland(ic) Frisian, although we do not entirely rule out a revival of some sorts might be possible. The question is open as to what such a reconstructed language may be used for, but we think it might have a cultural purpose and could be employed during cultural events that seek to evoke a distinct local Frisian identity that belongs to, for example, Eidestedt or Ameland alone. 

What is our definition of a Frisian classical language? Classical denotes in this context that the language stage is pre-modern. The Frisian classical languages are essentially the monument Frisian languages that existed before the modern era. So what is that monumental era? Practically, a classical Frisian language could be the language stage that is attested before the 19th century, during the 19th century or the very early 20th century which may be regarded as a continuation of the 19th century (the border between the 19th century and 20th century is fluid in the early years). 

In conclusion, our mission since 2016 is studying all Frisian languages and based on our current insights which have evolved over the years, that means 53 Frisian tongues. This personal mission of ours is embedded in our institutional framework: the official aim of our Foundation Operation X for languages, cultures and perspectives is the study, promotion (description, popularisation, teaching), revival or preservation, reconstruction or expansion, etymological analysis, classification, distinction and comparison of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation of (endangered) languages such as the Frisian tongues. Promotional or educational work, as seen both in the publications about us and in our own blog articles, is necessary for cultivating awareness of the names of Frisian languages as well as acknowledging the facts regarding the linguistic diversity of Frisian.



  1. I had heard back when I studied linguistics in college that Frisian is actually the closest relative to English (other than “British English” heh heh). Is that so?

    (And I had no idea there were so many varieties of Frisian!)

    Liked by 7 people

    • Are you saying that Frisian is closer to English than say South African English? Surely “British English” is *the* English.
      How does one determine a “variety” of a language?
      Are all the Englishes spoken on different continents the same English or different varieties?

      Liked by 4 people

      • English is spoken in the USA; with a few variations from the UK; not better or worse just 240 later.
        Queen V. banned the Irish language and all Irish surnames. For example my name was originally Cuinn (Irish) but became Quinn for her majesty.

        Liked by 10 people

      • I heard the exact same thing when I got a Linguistics degree back in the day. There was also a notion circulating back then that differentiated mere dialects from distinct languages. Two spoken idioms were said to be mutual dialects (e.g. British English and U.S. English) if a child of 7 could understand the one while raised native in the other. Otherwise, the two spoken idioms were distinct languages. And it was said that Frisian (of which 1 was cited, not 14) was the closet language to English which was not merely another dialect. One Slavic linguist theorist was trying to formally quantify such matters back then but I do not recall his name.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent question!

      The English-Frisian connection is popular in both the English-speaking and Frisian-speaking worlds.

      Historically speaking, English and Frisian may potentially be the closest languages to each other. However, the situation is more complicated when we look at the modern situation rather than the historical one:

      Since we may generally assume that the members of the same language family are the closest to each other, the answer to this question (if interpreted to be about the modern rather than historical situation) depends on whether one considers Anglic or English to be a language family.

      For instance, one may regard Scots as a separate language belonging to the Anglic/English language family. Of course, Scots is closer to English than English to Frisian. (One should bear in mind that Frisian – at least according to our foundation’s fieldwork – is a language family as well, not a single language.)

      In the modern setting, it might be better to rephrase the question: “What is the closest language family to the Anglic/English one?”

      The answer to that question is straightforward: the Frisian language family.

      Although the concept of an Anglo-Frisian language family has come under fire while being contested by some but not all researchers in recent years (by postulating a North Sea Germanic language family, though this does not by any means necessarily exclude an Anglo-Frisian subgrouping), there is merit to the concept of an Anglo-Frisian language family, to which both the English/Anglic and Frisian language families would belong:

      We are conducting Anglo-Frisian studies at our foundation, because we are studying the English/Anglic and Frisian language families side by side; regardless of what one thinks about the Anglo-Frisian language family, we believe the concept of Anglo-Frisian is useful for the comparison between English/Anglic and Frisian.

      We employ Anglo-Frisian as a comparative concept (to define Anglo-Frisian in a way that is agnostic as to the question whether the Anglo-Frisian language family is an accurate historical classification), because there are striking resemblances as well as fascinating differences between English/Anglic and Frisian; Anglo-Frisian studies are relevant since it is relevant to compare these languages.

      Our foundation’s priority is to focus on the modern situation (e.g., Frisian living languages) rather than the historical situation (e.g., Frisian dead languages). The modern situation has not been sufficiently studied in our view. At some point, we will also come around to study the historical situation in full depth, but as already indicated by our priorities, we wish to first get an accurate grasp of the modern situation before moving on to studying the historical one.

      Liked by 38 people

      • Nicely done, Dyami! It’s a rather tricky question sometimes to determine when something is a different “language” or language family vs. a dialect or creole or pidgin.

        Liked by 6 people

        • Thank you, it usually does help to study how speakers self-identify (i.e., do they regard themselves as a group speaking a distinct language?) and to closely observe their communication behaviours vis-à-vis related groups (i.e., is it comfortable for the related groups to communicate or is it too difficult for comfort?). I observed that groups such as East Terschelling Frisians, Hindeloopen Frisians and Schiermonnikoog Frisians regard themselves as distinct from all other Frisians, they have a very strong sense of identity based on their respective languages and they do not find it comfortable communicating in their languages with other Frisians who usually have trouble following them (and so the sense of discomfort/inconvenience is mutual). Some groups of Frisian-speaking communities are more closely related than others, for sure, but that does not mean they are necessarily speaking identical languages or share identical cultures for that matter. Frisian as a reality on the ground comprises a mosaic of languages and cultures, diversity of Frisian languages and cultures is the reality and any notion of unity is an antithesis of the reality that has existed after speakers of Old Frisian went their separate ways and split into various groups that evolved into communities with identities based around their own language and culture, ultimately derived from Old Frisian and although that is usually a distant memory, Frisian groups generally tend to remember their roots and if forgotten, they usually rediscover those roots through their interactions with other Frisian groups. I would say the Frisian linguistic and cultural landscape looks quite tribal, and this is correlated with the multitude of identities, which is what fascinates us about Frisians. Unfortunately, Frisians have often been studied and analysed one-dimensionally as though they only possess one language and one culture, which entirely misses the point of the actual diversity that is found in all regions that are Frisian-speaking. This reality persuaded us to approach all Frisian linguistic and cultural communities with equal interest and study them with equal zeal. In this way, we hope to highlight the actual situation as opposed to the fiction of unity or homogeneity that may exist in the minds of some analysts. The real situation is way too interesting to miss and we hope to enthuse others about it as well. We feel fortunate that we discovered the diversity of Frisian in our lifetimes and that we got the unique opportunity to study Frisian in all of its diversity and we definitely intend to keep make contrinutions to the preservation of this diversity as our foundation will act as a guardian for the continued active use of all these languages and the continued practice of their associated cultures.

          Liked by 15 people

    • I remember many years ago a feature on the UK children’s TV programme Blue Peter a piece about a visit to the Frisian Islands area by a group of people from East Yorkshire to take part in a dyke vaulting competition. What struck me was the fact that the people from East Yorkshire found they could understand far more than they expected to in the Frisian Islanders’ speech because their own dialect overlapped sufficiently. So Frisian varieties may indeed be close to British English but especially so in the varieties of English spoken along the eastern coast. It might be interesting to study patterns of shared vocabulary in Frisian and north eastern English varieties.

      Liked by 9 people

    • We couldn’t agree more, language is a gateway to wisdom and human connection. Learning various Frisian languages has definitely taught us valuable life lessons that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives and our Frisian studies have also brought us into contact with scores of people with whom we feel a deep spiritual connection thanks to our shared experience of speaking the same minority language. We surely wouldn’t have wanted to miss this unique experience in our lives!

      Liked by 8 people

  2. So, just curious: Is there an actual country or perhaps province of “Frisia” nowadays? My quick Google search indicates that there is indeed a geographical area so indicated but it’s not clear if it’s a sort of independent U.N.-recognized nation or a region that is politically part of another country.

    (And I can’t wait to nonchalantly drop this line into a casual conversation: “As you may know, groups such as East Terschelling Frisians, Hindeloopen Frisians and Schiermonnikoog Frisians regard themselves as distinct from all other Frisians…”) 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Great blog. To quote the ethnobotanist Wade Davis, “…language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules, a language is a flash of the human spirit, its a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old growth forest of the mind, a watershed of thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities.”

    Liked by 10 people

    • Operation X — you are fascinating! Do you have a place where we can actually hear the language being spoken? I found you because you first found me on my blog, and although I know nothing about Frisian (thanks for introducing it) I am constantly fascinated about the process of language learning.
      So, HOW do you learn Frisian?

      Liked by 6 people

    • For the Human to continue to grow and understand, we must continue with our historical nature. A huge part of this is to resurrect the forgotten or ancient languages and decipher their true meaning.
      When historical events, including language are rebirthed, we have a choice to clean up the mess we have created “NOW!”
      It is the wisdom that came first, we ought to never forget. There is venerable knowledge in the archaic ways, especially in language. We have lost meaning to life.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I lived on Föhr (in Nieblum) for a summer during an extended study in Germany. Being a native English speaker otherwise living in Germany I observed that speakers of plattdeutsch and the Friesischer dialects use their mouths much more like English speakers, that is the vowels and consonents seem to come from more forward and are less abrupt than the Hochdeutsch used in school. Also, I found that reading (but not hearing!) these languages is more readily understood by an English speaker who knows some German, than Hochdeutsch. The connections you draw between Friesian language and English are not surprising!


  5. This is mind challenging. I am still trying to grasp that the Australian indigenous peoples and their vast family and tribal identies are trying to reclaim their languages too. More than fifty, English now unites them where before even folk only a few miles down the road had a different language. Desert people and ones by the sea were totally different. What an amazing world! Thank you for your studies.
    on the diversity of European language,

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Fascinating. I had no idea when I clicked on the title I was going to learn something completely new to me even though the languages are concentrated a few miles away from me, across the English Channel.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. How interesting! Please forgive my ignorance on this subject but being the leader of an online gaming Guild we have a rather diverse group of friends, some of which include friends from the Netherlands & Belgium. I listen to them sometimes on voice comms poking fun at each other, in a friendly way, about the languages they each speak & how their ‘version’ is correct as opposed to someone else’s version. I am going to be very interested to learn if any of them actually use Frisian.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. This site and your work are FASCINATING. I have never learned anything beyond the most basic conversational level of French and Spanish. I have always been amazed by those who pursue and understand the intricacies of other languages. But minority languages. And to preserve them. Many kudos to Operation X. Your talents and abilities contribute vitally to our culture. They also provide someone like me, who is intellectually curious but like everyone else has limited time, something new, truly different, worthwhile, and fun to follow on the net. I know this is a long comment and, for that, I apologize. That said, thank you so much for your efforts. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Love this! I just do not hear well enough to relearn my old French. I have been studying the periods of William the Conqueror from Normandy through Edward I of England. People, history, and language are all fascinating!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. That is quite a lofty mission. I studied modern languages at uni but I have only done the big European four – French, German, Italian and Spanish. Nothing as interesting as Frisian. Good luck 👍

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What a wonderful project – I’m so happy I stumbled upon this….actually you stumbled upon me first. I tell people I’m of Dutch heritage, but I am completely and fully Frisian. And yet, cannot understand, read or write the language – in any of it’s forms. My parents left Rotterdam in the 50’s and settled in Canada, but my Mom continued to speak Dutch at home. I was fluent, but I lost my Mom almost twenty years ago and have lost my language as well. When a language is not used, it dies. My Father always insisted that Fries was a bastardization of the ancient Celtic and German languages. I suppose the ancient celtic language had similarities to modern day (and ancient) English, and these languages too are slowly dying. I was lucky to be raised in a country with two official languages (English and French), and a close connection to “dutch” – but they are fading fast. I live in Australia now, so I’ve picked up a lot of “Ausiims” over the 25 years I’ve been here.

    I look forward to reading future blogs. I have an Uncle – Dirk van der Ploeg – who is considered an important Frisian writer and made it his life’s work to keep the language alive. I am always in search of one of his many novels translated to either dutch or english – I will continue my hunt.

    Best of luck with you studies and thank you for “finding” me! Monica Beaton (nee van der Ploeg) Adelaide Australia

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I like your mission statement and your ethos. I have been working to promote a minority language of Scotland – Scots – for many years. I’d love to have the opportunity to share some of my work with your readers – if you felt that would be appropriate.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Being very flexible is key because the learning materials for minority languages such as these are few, we do not have much to choose from and we really can’t be picky about our preferred methods. We tend to be satisfied with a decent grammar book, a dictionary and a corpus of texts, but that may already be too much to ask because these languages tend to be very poorly documented as people overlook them and erroneously consider them mere “dialects” that aren’t worthy of serious consideration.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Fortunately, our blog exists to prove that the seemingly impossible is possible. Since 2016, we have been producing original written materials in the languages that we have studied. We insist on originality with regards to our writings since that may demonstrate our mastery of the languages.

          Liked by 4 people

  13. I love linguistics! It boggles my mind how completely different languages developed during the same time period: why did one group decide to call somehing “x” and another group call it “$!)”. Enjoy your journey!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. My Grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Friesland, as you might guess from my name. Since he died before I was born, the language I heard at family dinners was Dutch, my Grandmother’s language, but when my grandfather’s brother visited, he would talk to my grandmother, so I am fairly sure the Frisian of northern Netherlands was similar to Dutch. I grew up in a very small town where no foreign languages were offered, so by the time I got to college, that part of my brain seems to have been sealed off and I struggled with German and later with Amharic when I lived in Ethiopia. I now scrape by with my Spanish, since I’ve lived in Mexico for 20 years, but I have a great admiration for those with a facility in languages. Keep up the good work. My Grandfather would approve, I’m sure.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Never would I have imagined staring at letters and words whose meanings are so far beyond my grasp — and yet, finding myself utterly delighted! Absent any interest in attributing meaning, the experience is akin to viewing art without attempting to deduce what the artist is trying to say, and simply being mesmerized by the shape or hue of a brushstroke. Same as hearing music and simply letting it travel into and around your bones without any urge to intellectualize. Your blend of art and scholarship is captivating and visceral — no matter what the subject matter.

    Liked by 5 people

    • There has been a decades long effort to revive the Irish language once banned by Queen Victoria, with some success. Bilingual signs are everywhere, but English still prevails.. My last name was originally spelt CUINN and I published a longpoem in my book Newark, Italy and me (Lulu books 2019).

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Amazing and interesting facts. Have never heard of Frisian. Quite honestly, living in the States, there are so many different accents, many of which are very difficult at times to understand. For instance, in the South they say Ont, in the East we say Aunt. Accents are very much noticed here and quickly commented on, especially if you are in the West and just happen to be from the East, like New York City . I’m afraid I’ll have to stick with
    plain English. When spoken properly, I don’t think any other language surpasses it for beauty and clarity. Bob
    Marshall’s Poetry is proof of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Fascinating – My husband’s from the far North of England – settled by Scandinavians over 1,000 years ago DNA found he’s over 60% Norwegian in origin – Older generations – speaking the local dialect – NE Cumbrian, could understand and be understood by Norwegians during WWII.

    Accent or intonation and speech patterns are fascinating too, but the schools I attended tried very hard to suppress regional accents. No flat Northern vowels allowed – but an Irish academic visiting our area named, correctly, the stretch of Ireland’s NW coast. my grandmother came from – ( carer from birth)

    Intonation, he explained, rather than ‘ accent’

    Liked by 2 people

  18. This is a very interesting project! In a French sociolinguistic class I learned about the many different local languages alive in France before French was instituted as the national language by the government. I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. any command of any language is the hallmark of the keen mind. it is sad that this command has deteriorated in far too many, and this loss of command, welcomed by all those thirsting for power, has made it easier for the depots of the world to rise and thrive. keep up the good work. continue…

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Such a fascinating project! I studied linguistics and history of the English language in college. The projects and assignments that we have conducted were an interesting dive for me. I hope to learn a lot here!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Language has always fascinated me: my old Granny used and taught me & my brother so many old and wonderful words and phrases; it’s so sad that they aren’t being used much at all now so are dying out and our languages are becoming less able to explain exactly what we mean, they’re becoming impoverished.

    Here in the UK (as everywhere) there are countless local accents, dialects and particular words for things e.g. a discussion on Twitter recently was about what we call little alley-ways (not roads, only for pedestrians) between buildings – so much variety and wonderful words; in Brighton (UK) we call them ‘twittens’ but elsewhere people would have no idea what we’re referring to.

    I think we really must try to save these ‘invisible’ jewels (our colourful heritages) – and I think (I may be wrong) that the United Nations is trying to – including music/songs – I’ve found some really wonderful ones on Youtube = very enriching. We do NOT want everything to be the same everywhere – as is happening with globalisation. Thank you for what you (and others) are doing to protect and encourage diversity.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I am fascinated by your study of the Frisian language – and look forward to sharing this with my sister-in-law whose roots are in a place she calls Frisia.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s important to preserve minority languages, makes countries more interesting. What about the Celtic languages? Welsh (Brythonic) and Irish (goidelic/Gaelic)? Cornish and Breton (Brythonic; latter in northwest France), Scottish Gaelic and Manx (Goidelic). The main language groups of the Indo-European family being Germanic, Romanic, Slavic, Celtic, Greek, Baltic, Albanian, Armenian, Indo-Iranian. The Celtic group is one whole sub-family where all languages wherein are minority languages.

    Frisian is a West Germanic language family, closer to English than Dutch is. Dutch has some features common to German like the ge- before past participles. Don’t know anything about Frisian. Main thing is, regional and minority languages make places more interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. My grandfather’s family was from Ostfriesland, and emigrated to the US back in the mid-nineteenth century. Now I am curious which of these Frisian languages their people spoke. My cousin did research to find that they were mostly from the area of Grossoldendorf, Leer & Firrel. Can you enlighten me, by any chance? These days, I have been studying the Indigenous language of Passamaquoddy, one of the Indigenous languages of the area now known as Maine. It is amazing to delve into a whole different worldview, linguistic structure, and vocabulary. I had no idea that there were multiple languages in the Frisian world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there! The area your ancestors hail from is a Low Saxon-speaking area, which was historically East Frisian-speaking. Although the original pure East Frisian was replaced by Low Saxon, East Frisian features were carried over into Low Saxon and so the Low Saxon of that area is not pure Low Saxon either, but it is Low Saxon with East Frisian characteristics, and it is called East Frisian Low Saxon in English. So East Frisian Low Saxon, and East Frisian before that, is your ancestral linguistic heritage. I have studied both East Frisian Low Saxon and all the pure “modern” East Frisian languages, which you may claim as your linguistic heritage as well: Sagelterland Frisian, Wangerooge Frisian, Harlingerland Frisian, Upgant Frisian, and Wursten Frisian. I wrote an extensive article dedicated to Wangerooge Frisian in the second half of last year and I have pointed out how well that language preserves Old (East) Frisian and I mentioned East Frisian Low Saxon in that article as well:



  25. Every Frisian language is basically a pair of glasses that offers a slightly different view of the world. It’s too much to get into detail about such a huge topic in this single comment. The aim of this blog is to explore and highlight the uniqueness of each Frisian language through its words and make it as clear as day that Frisian consists of a dozen languages rather than 1 or 3 languages. I hope you keep following our blog to learn more about this. I share facts & details about a variety of Frisian languages on a piecemeal basis.


  26. Fascinating project!
    I have a lot of Frisian ancestors, one group from Hohenkirchen (Wangerland), some from Oldenburg and some from a town near Bremen (I don’t know where their ancestors originally came from, but I guess also from the Wangerland/Oldenburg/Jever area). They switched to some form of Lower German during the 17th century or so, and later to higher German during the 19th. So there are Ibbeken, Popken, Herssen, Menke, Boyeen (later changed to Boyeken, then Payeken, Pajeken, Payken), and all these wonderful Frisian names like Tide, Zjurd, Gralf etc. In the earlier generations, people still had a patronym system instead of a Family name but that changed obviously when they migrated into Oldenburg or Bremen, and the names then became family names. I also have some ancestors in the Counts of Oldenburg family and there is some Frisian nobility connected to them (for example, Maria of Jever (Fräulein Maria) is my first cousin 14 times removed, according to genealogy data I find on the internet, and I guess she also spoke some type of Frisian).
    I also have ancestors from elsewhere, but Frisian people are one of my roots.
    Hope you will find some young people interested in learning these languages to keep or revive them. I know about similar projects from North America and Australia where people seem to have succeeded in reviving some extinct languages or getting them back from the brink of extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment! 
      Your Frisian ancestors are East Frisians. The genuine East Frisian languages are the ancestral languages of the East Frisians. The last vestiges of that linguistic heritage were Wangerooge and Saterland/Sagelterland in modern times. I say ‘were’ because although Sagelterland Frisian never went extinct, Wangerooge Frisian did go extinct in the 20th century. I acquired Wangerooge Frisian, however, in the 21st century. The extinction of a language may be defined as there being no language users left. This is no longer the case for Wangerooge Frisian: since I am able to use it like any other Frisian language, it may no longer be considered extinct. Thus, Wangerooge Frisian, which is a Weser Frisian language, has been brought back from the dead. In contrast to Wangerooge Frisian, Sagelterland Frisian belongs to Ems Frisian. 
      It is noteworthy that the East Frisians identified as Frisian long after they lost their local Frisian languages; the name of the region, namely East Frisia (Ostfriesland), must have helped preserve the memory of the original Frisian identity.
      What ancestors actually spoke is usually hard to verify, but we may make inferences based on place and time. For instance, considering claims of Scandinavian heritage, does the Millarson family trace its origins to speakers of Norn? Circumstantial evidence may be used to make that case. For instance, the form Millar- used instead of Miller- in our surname points to Scotland. The Northern parts of Scotland enjoyed historically strong Scandinavian influence. So if specifically my family lived in Northern Scotland or if they intermarried with a Northern Scotsman, there is a non-zero chance that the Millarsons have Norn-speaking ancestors. 
      Since your ancestors lived in historically Frisian-speaking areas, the odds seem to greatly favour the assumption that your distant ancestors spoke genuine Frisian at least at some point in time. 
      The lineage of your ancestors from Wangerland and Jever(land) may in all likelihood trace back to speakers of Weser Frisian. So if the ancestors of your ancestors indeed spoke authentic Frisian, what they spoke must have been related to Wangerooge Frisian. The forms of Frisian which the ancestors of the people of Jever(land) and Wangerland spoke are also related to Harlingerland Frisian and Wursten Frisian. I have studied these extensively as well, and they are also part of my revival efforts. 
      Maria of Jever was born in the town of Jever in the last year of the 15th century (1500 AD) and she passed away in the second half of the 16th century (1575 AD). Her father passed away 11 years after her birth and her mother passed away when she was just one year old. 
      The extinction of Frisian in the town of Jever may have preceded the extinction of Jeverland Frisian (here meant in the sense of Frisian as spoken in the lands surrounding Jever). The latter’s extinction may have taken place in the 17th century. Frisian languages usually survive longer in rural than urban areas. The extinction of Jever Frisian and Jeverland Frisian must have been preceded by a process of decline as the population gradually shifted to Low Saxon.
      Based on the aforementioned facts, Jeverland Frisian must already have been in decline during Maria’s lifetime. We should also note that Maria of Jever grew up in an urban environment which probably gave up Frisian already before the surrounding rural areas did. 
      Jeverland Low Saxon has preserved some Jeverland Frisian traits until recent times. In the past, it may have been more clearly a mixture of Low Saxon and Frisian as Frisian features tend to fade away over time and get replaced with Low Saxon forms in such mixtures. 
      If the decline of Jeverland Frisian during Maria’s lifetime is any guide, it may be possible that Maria’s daily language was not Frisian; given the decline of Jever Frisian and Jeverland Frisian already during Maria’s time, it is possible that Jeverland Low Saxon is similar to what Maria of Jever might actually have spoken in her daily life if we assume authentic Frisian might not have been her day-to-day language. 

      Liked by 1 person

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