West Frisian phrasebook

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Swarte Kees
There are several forms of Frisian, but the most widely spoken of these is West Frisian, or Frysk. It is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland (Fryslân) in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside of the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian, which are spoken in Germany. Within the Netherlands, however, (and often in other countries) the West Frisian language is the language of the province of Fryslân and is virtually always just called Frisian: Fries in Dutch, and Frysk in Frisian. The 'official' name used by linguists in the Netherlands to indicate the West Frisian language is Westerlauwers Fries (West Lauwers Frisian), the Lauwers being a border stream which separates the Dutch provinces of Fryslân and Groningen.
Most speakers of West Frisian live in the province of Fryslân (Friesland in Dutch) in the north of the Netherlands. The province has 643,000 inhabitants (2005); of these, 94% can understand spoken Frisian, 74% can speak Frisian, 65% can read Frisian, and 17% can write it. For over half of the inhabitants of the province of Fryslân, 55% (c. 354,000 people), Frisian is the native tongue as well as Dutch.
West Frisian is similar in both sound and grammar to Dutch, Afrikaans and some northern dialects of German. There are two grammatical genders, common and neuter, although they are nowadays very corroded and usually always the same in the plural.
It is the closest living continental language to English and shares mutual intelligibility with both Dutch and Old English. Modern-day English will be understood as all of the Netherlands is highly educated, but ties between both languages are only found in Old English, which differs so much from modern English that it is incomprehensible even to native speakers.

Pronunciation guide

Phrase list