Frisian, how difficult for Scandinavians?

Hi there,

I’m a Norwegian 20-year-old who last year learned Dutch (Flemish) during a 10-month stay in Belgium. My Dutch is pretty much ok, and I passed the C1-level at the University of Antwerp. For a sample of my current level, you can click here. My English is at a decent level. Other than that I understand Swedish, Danish and to some degree Icelandic and Faroese. I’m also starting out in German, which seems very easy to understand.

Judging by my experience with these Germanic languages, just how easy would it be to pick up Frisian? And how easy is it in general for Scandinavians to learn Frisian? Since Danish to some degree has influenced Frisian (correct me if I’m wrong), would Danes have an advantage over Norwegians in learning this language? (I speak a dialect which somewhat ressembles Nynorsk more than Bokmål)

Thank you.

Hi Ragnar,

To be honest I don’t know how difficult it is for speakers of a Scandinavian language. But I know that it is difficult for me. When I made holiday in the northern part of Germany I met people who speak Frisian. It is like another language for me.

There are three Frisian dialects: West, Saterland, and North. All are mutually unintelligible. West Frisian along with Dutch is an official language of the Netherlands. The other two are recognized as minority languages in Germany.

You seem to know a great deal of Germanic languages already. I don’t think Frisian will be all that difficult for you to learn.

I don’t think I’ve heard spoken Frisian except being read aloud by Professor Arguelles in his language overview on Youtube.

What to do? I go to the main page of Wikipedia, choose Frisian language version and see if I can understand anything…

At first sight it seems just as transparent as Dutch, Lëtzebuergesch, Limburgs, Plattdüütsch, Nedersaksisch, Seeltersk,
Zeêuws and other West-Germanic languages, which isn’t much but still a lot more than some obscure Romance languages.

How do you feel, Ragnar?

Some of it is, just like you noted, very transparent when it comes to writing. However I was thinking more of the spoken language, which I don’t get to hear that often. I’m particularly interested in Frisian since it seems to resemble Danish to some extent. The pronoun “dy” (in my ears pronounced as Norwegian “deg”) is used instead of Dutch “je/jou” (i.e. “you” in the accusative?), which came as a shock while listening to Twarres’ “Wêr bisto”. In general it just seems like weird but still interesting Dutch.