Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: 'The Position of Frisian in the Germanic Language Area'

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sybren's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Last Online
    Saturday, August 25th, 2012 @ 05:28 PM
    Ethnicity
    Frisian
    Ancestry
    Frisian, Saxon
    Subrace
    Atlantid
    Country
    Netherlands Netherlands
    State
    Frisia Frisia
    Gender
    Age
    34
    Politics
    Frisian nationalist
    Religion
    Agnostic
    Posts
    930
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    3
    Thanked in
    3 Posts

    'The Position of Frisian in the Germanic Language Area'

    An interesting paper i found about the linguistic relation between Frisian and the other Germanic languages. The paper also includes comparisons between the other combinations of Germanic languages.

    Some interesting parts:


    The relationship between Frisian and the other Germanic languages

    From Table 3 and 4 it is possible to determine the distance between all Germanic standard languages. We are especially interested in the position of Frisian within the Germanic language group. For this purpose the mean distance over the 6 Frisian dialects (excluding the dialect of Leeuwarden which is considered Dutch) has been added. This makes it possible to treat Frisian as one language. Examining the column which shows the ranking with respect to Frisian, we find that Dutch is most similar to Frisian (a mean distance of 38.7%). Clearly the intensive contact with Dutch during history has had a great impact on the distance between the two languages.

    Moreover, German appears to be closer to Frisian than any other language outside the Netherlands. Looking at the ranking with respect to Dutch, it appears that Town Frisian is most similar (Leeuwarden 20.3%), followed by the Frisian varieties (average of 38.7%). Next, German is most similar, due to common historical roots and continuous contact (a distance of 53.3%).

    As discussed in the introduction, Friesland has a long history of language contact with the Scandinavian countries, and traces of Scandinavian influences can be found in the Frisian language. The impact of this contact is reflected in our results only to a limited extent. Remarkably, the distances to the mainland Scandinavian languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) are smaller (between 60.7% and 63.3%) than to English (65.3%) even though the Frisian language is genetically closer related to English than to Scandinavian.

    Conclusions and discussion

    Overall, the classification of the Germanic languages resulting from our distance measurements supports our predictions. This goes for the classification of the Frisian dialects and also for the rest of the Germanic languages. We interpret this as a confirmation of the suitability of our material showing that it is possible to measure Levenshtein distances on the basis of whole texts with assimilation phenomena typical of connected speech and with a rather limited number of words.

    The aim of the present investigation was to get an impression of the position of the Frisian language in the Germanic language area on the basis of quantitative data. The fact that Frisian is genetically most closely related to English yields the expectation that these two languages may still be linguistically similar. However, the distance between English and the Frisian dialects is large. We can thus conclude that the close genetic relationship between English and Frisian is not reflected in the linguistic distances between the modern languages. Geographical and historical circumstances have caused the two languages to drift apart linguistically. Frisian has been strongly influenced by Dutch whereas English has been influenced by other languages, especially French.

    It would have been interesting to include these languages in our material. This would have given an impression of their impact on the English language. At the same time it would also have given us the opportunity to test the Levenshtein method on a larger language family than the Germanic family with its relatively closely related languages. It would also be interesting to include Old English in our material since this would give us an impression of how modern Frisian is related to the English language at a time when it had only recently separated from the common Anglo-Saxon roots to which also Old Frisian belonged.

    For many centuries Frisian has been under the strong influence from Dutch and the Frisian and Dutch language areas share a long common history. It therefore does not come as a surprise that Dutch is the Germanic language most similar to the language varieties spoken in Friesland.

    It may be surprising that the linguistic distances between Dutch and the Frisian dialects are smaller than the distances between the Scandinavian languages (a mean difference of 6%). Scandinavian languages are known to be mutually intelligible. This means that when, for example, a Swede and a Dane meet, they mostly communicate each in their own language.

    This kind of communication, which is known as semi-communication (Haugen, 1966), is not typical in the communication between Dutch-speaking and Frisian-speaking citizens in the Netherlands. The two languages are considered so different that it is not possible for a Dutch-speaking person to understand Frisian and consequently the Frisian interlocutor will have to speak Dutch to a non-Frisian person. Our results raise the question whether semi-communication would also be possible in a Dutch-Frisian situation. If this is not the case, we may explain this by linguistic and non-linguistic differences between the Frisian-Dutch situation and the Scandinavian situation.

    The Levenshtein distance processes lexical, phonetic and morphological differences. All three types are present in our transcription, since word lists are derived from running texts. Syntactic characteristics are completely excluded from the analysis. It might be the case that certain characteristics play a larger role for the Levenshtein distances than desirable in the case of the Scandinavian languages if we were to use the method for the explaining mutual intelligibility. For example, it is wellknown among the speakers of Scandinavian languages that many words end in an ‘a’ in Swedish while ending in an ‘e’ in Danish.

    Probably people use this knowledge in an inter-Scandinavian situation. However, this difference is included in the Levenshtein distances between Swedish and Danish. It is possible that Frisian-Dutch differences are less predictable or less well-known by speakers of the two languages. It is also possible that the difference in communication in the Netherlands and in Scandinavia should be sought at the extra-linguistic level. Scandinavian research on semi-communication has shown that the willingness to understand and the belief that it is possible to communicate play a large role for mutual intelligibility between speakers of closely related languages.

    Staying with the Scandinavian languages, it should be noted that the mainland Scandinavian languages are in fact closer to Frisian than English, even though the Scandinavian languages belong genetically to another Germanic branch than English and Frisian. This can probably be explained by intensive contacts between Frisians and Scandinavians for many centuries. However, the common idea among some speakers of Frisian and Scandinavian that the two languages are so close that they are almost mutually intelligible is not confirmed by our results, at least not as far as the standard Scandinavian languages are concerned. Probably this popular idea is built on the fact that a few frequent words are identical in Frisian and Scandinavian.

    It is possible, however, that this picture would change if we would include more Danish dialects in our material. For example, it seems to be relatively easy for fishermen from Friesland to speak to their colleagues from the west coast of Denmark. Part of the explanation might also be that fishermen share a common vocabulary of professional terms. Also the frequent contact and a strong motivation to communicate successfully are likely to be important factors.

    As we mentioned in the introduction, among dialects in the Netherlands and Flanders, the Frisian varieties are most deviant from Standard Dutch. However, among the varieties which are recognized as languages in the Germanic language area, Frisian is most similar to Dutch. The smallest distance between two languages, apart from Frisian, was found between Norwegian and Swedish: 43.4%. The distance between Frisian and Dutch is smaller: 38.7%.

    The Town Frisian variety of the capital of Friesland (Leeuwarden) has a distance of only 20.3% to Dutch. Although the recognition of Frisian as second official language in the Netherlands is right in our opinion, we found that the current linguistic position of Frisian provide too little foundation for becoming independent from the Netherlands, as some Frisians may wish.

    Source: http://www.let.rug.nl/~heeringa/dial...pers/tdg03.pdf
    Bûter, brea en griene tsiis
    Wa't dat net sizze kin is gjin oprjochte Fries!

  2. #2
    Eala Freia Fresena
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Ocko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Last Online
    Monday, July 29th, 2019 @ 12:24 PM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    Friese
    Ancestry
    Friesland
    Subrace
    Nordid
    Country
    United States United States
    State
    Montana Montana
    Location
    Glacier park
    Gender
    Family
    Married
    Occupation
    selfemployed
    Politics
    rightwing
    Religion
    none/pagan
    Posts
    2,924
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    22
    Thanked in
    20 Posts
    Would be interesting to have a proto-germanic reconstructed language.
    weel nich will dieken dej mot wieken

  3. #3
    Aka kentynet Northumbria's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Last Online
    Saturday, May 13th, 2017 @ 12:06 AM
    Status
    Available
    Ethnicity
    English
    Ancestry
    Mainly English, some Irish
    Subrace
    Nord-Atlantid
    Y-DNA
    R1B-L48
    Country
    England England
    State
    Northumberland Northumberland
    Location
    The North
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Capricorn
    Politics
    Right-wing
    Posts
    95
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    The aim of the present investigation was to get an impression of the position of the Frisian language in the Germanic language area on the basis of quantitative data. The fact that Frisian is genetically most closely related to English yields the expectation that these two languages may still be linguistically similar. However, the distance between English and the Frisian dialects is large. We can thus conclude that the close genetic relationship between English and Frisian is not reflected in the linguistic distances between the modern languages. Geographical and historical circumstances have caused the two languages to drift apart linguistically. Frisian has been strongly influenced by Dutch whereas English has been influenced by other languages, especially French.

    It would have been interesting to include these languages in our material. This would have given an impression of their impact on the English language. At the same time it would also have given us the opportunity to test the Levenshtein method on a larger language family than the Germanic family with its relatively closely related languages. It would also be interesting to include Old English in our material since this would give us an impression of how modern Frisian is related to the English language at a time when it had only recently separated from the common Anglo-Saxon roots to which also Old Frisian belonged.
    Staying with the Scandinavian languages, it should be noted that the mainland Scandinavian languages are in fact closer to Frisian than English, even though the Scandinavian languages belong genetically to another Germanic branch than English and Frisian. This can probably be explained by intensive contacts between Frisians and Scandinavians for many centuries.
    English is very distinct from the other Germanic languages, some people place it on its own branch between West and North Germanic. It's developed relatively isolated from other Germanic languages since the Norman invasion whilst even the Frisians living in the marshes and islands would have had occasional contact with Germans and Dutch.

  4. #4
    Funding Member
    "Friend of Germanics"
    Skadi Funding Member

    Ingvaeonic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Last Online
    Friday, July 12th, 2019 @ 03:02 AM
    Ethnicity
    English/German combo
    Country
    Australia Australia
    Location
    Eastern Australia
    Gender
    Zodiac Sign
    Sagittarius
    Posts
    1,752
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    12
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    21
    Thanked in
    17 Posts
    Since the advent of Middle English, English has been a Franco-Germanic language. German, Frisian, Dutch, Afrikaans, and the North Germanic languages of Scandinavia, Iceland, etc. are purer Germanic languages than English. The Norman dialect of Old French, one of the langues d'oïl, was too great an influence on the English language. It has its advantages: English is rich in synonyms; however, it lessened the Germanic character of English.

Similar Threads

  1. Frisian Language/s: Dialects or Separate Languages?
    By Ingvaeonic in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: Friday, August 17th, 2012, 10:57 PM
  2. My Introduction to the Frisian (Frysk) Language!
    By Sybren in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: Thursday, July 5th, 2012, 02:04 PM
  3. Replies: 18
    Last Post: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, 04:00 AM
  4. The Frisian Language
    By The Black Prince in forum Linguistics
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Monday, December 10th, 2007, 08:57 PM
  5. The Frisian Area Through the Ages
    By Frans_Jozef in forum Frisia
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Friday, December 16th, 2005, 05:33 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •