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Frisian (Frysk/Friisk/Seeltersk) 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 FrisianEdit

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).

Sater Frisian (Seeltersk)Edit

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.

West Frisian (Frysk)Edit

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.

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