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Thread: Mutual Intelligibility Between Old English and Modern Frisian

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    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    Mutual Intelligibility Between Old English and Modern Frisian

    Incredibly funny and also incredibly interesting to see how different languages with the same roots are mutually understandable. I however have doubts about how correct the Old English of this Eddie is


    I'm interested if any native English speaker here can understand some of the Frisian spoken in this video!
    Būter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

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    The Frisian words for milk (verb), butter, and cheese were pretty straight forward. The Frisian word for understand I could sort of make out, but the farmer spoke a little too quickly for it to be clear.

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    Fascinating.

    It sounded very much like the broad Scottish accent aka Glaswegian accent, which ofcourse is an accent derived from Lowland Scots. It is different to the Highland accent which is based on Scottish Gaelic (the Scottish Highlands are associated with the Gaelic parts of Scotland).

    In Scotland, there are tshirts they sell to tourists with "Heilan Coo" written on them, which is how you would say "Highland Cow" with a very broad scottish accent. So when he was saying "Brun Coo", I understood it.

    So interestingly I understood it via understanding the broad, Lowland Scots Scottish accent, rather than through English.

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    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    Hmm, i just saw some of the rest of this program (Mongrel Nation), which apparantly seems to be glorifying ethnic diversity, because all of Britain's greatness stems from other cultures through immigration.

    They seem to conveniently forget to mention yet again that all past immigration to Britain was composed of European peoples, most of them being of Germanic stock. Of course, this tiny little fact is of minor importance... So let's bring in all the cultures of the world, because England's history proved diversity brings greatness... Don't you just love rational reasoning.


    More ontopic then:

    Iverson, you're probably talking about Old English, but more than once i heard from people that they thought Frisian sounded somewhat Scots-like. At the time i thought this was very strange, because i thought Scots wasn't a Germanic language. There however are two Scottish languages: Scottish Gaelic (the Celtic language) and Scots (the Germanic one).

    Could it be that Scots as a language retained more of it's Anglo-Frisian origin than English?
    Būter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybren
    Could it be that Scots as a language retained more of it's Anglo-Frisian origin than English?
    I think that is highly likely. Lowland Scots is quite probably an older and purer form of English and it has been much less affected by change, and so it is closer to the original language. Even modern English in the 17th century was a more Germanic language than contemporary modern English. Modern English has had its Germanic character and characteristics watered down over the centuries and decades, especially with more and more Latin words introduced into the language.

    Had the Normans been defeated and turned back, English would not have had the influence of the Norman dialect of Old French. The Norman-French influence on Middle English set a trend in English to absorb other languages' words, which it did and does like a sponge. Had English not been so fundamentally Latinised by the influence of Norman-French and medieval Latin, English would have probably evolved into something very like modern Frisian or modern Low German/Low Saxon.

    Didn't some English philologist write a book on how English would have evolved and developed had the Norman Conquest not taken place?

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    Senior Member Hilderinc's Avatar
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    He continues his conversation with the farmer at 4:25.




    This is indeed very interesting.
    All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is for good Men to do Nothing. ~ Edmund Burke

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    The Frisian farmer is a good bloke. Anyone who imports and keeps a border collie on his farm is ok by me.

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    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ingvaeonic View Post
    The Frisian farmer is a good bloke. Anyone who imports and keeps a border collie on his farm is ok by me.
    Every Frisian farmer either has a Border Collie or Stabij
    Būter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybren View Post
    Every Frisian farmer either has a Border Collie or Stabij
    Then they show superlative good sense. It take it that the stabij is a local breed.

    And here's a picture of a couple of Stabijs:



    The Stabyhoun or Stabij looks a good breed. They are nice dogs.

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    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
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    Yes, they are indeed a local breed.
    Būter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

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