Frisian, English, etc. (was: RE: Pictures)

Subject: Frisian, English, etc. (was: RE: Pictures)
From: "Mason, James David (MXM) " <mxm@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 17:53:35 -0500
English, Dutch, Frisian, and related languages belong to a family called Low
Germanic (low, as close to sea level, and opposed to High Germanic, spoken
in the mountains of Bavaria, the ancestor of modern German). English, as we
know it, is descended from languages spoken by various Low German tribes
such as the Angles and Saxons who invaded Britain at the time of the
collapse of the Roman Empire and overwhelmed the local tribes (which were
Celtic and spoke languages that were the ancestors of Gaelic [both Scots and
Irish], Cornish, and Welsh). (Viking invasions in the north of England were
several centuries later and did not have much effect on the language of the
British Isles, aside from isolated words and placenames. The vikings spoke
languages belonging to the North Germanic family [Icelandic, Danish,
Swedish, Norwegian]; a fourth Germanic family, Gothic, hasn't left
contemporary descendents.)

Old English (otherwise known as Anglo Saxon) is pretty much mutually
intelligible with Old Saxon and Old Frisian. Middle and Modern English,
however, have a heavy vocabulary overlay from French, as a consequense of
the Norman Conquest and the following three centuries during which French
was the official language of the government and courts. The basic grammar of
Modern English retains its common Germanic structure (e.g., only two real
verb tenses [past and present], a distinction between strong [irregular] and
weak [regular] verbs, a reduced number of noun cases [two; no modern
Germanic language has more than four], and the basic Germanic repertoire of
personal pronouns and common verbs).

Jim Mason
James David Mason, Ph.D. (English and Germanic Philology)

(Chairman ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34)

Science Applications International Corporation

Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant
Bldg. 9113, Room 337I
P.O. Box 2009, M.S. 8208
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-8208

+1 865 574 6973

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Pieter Rijken [SMTP:pieter.rijken@xxxxxx]
> Sent:	Tuesday, December 14, 1999 10:54 a.m.
> To:	'dssslist@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx'
> Subject:	RE: Pictures
> Dear Didier,
> > Last time I went to Friesland I noticed that some words are 
> > very similar to
> > the english language and that the language spoken by old 
> Yes, that is true. There are a lot of similarities between
> the language spoken in Friesland and (I think) Scotland. This
> is because in ancient times there was a close relation between
> the fishermen of Scotland or Friesland.
> > people (I only
> > heard the friesland language sopken by old persons) is very 
> > different than
> > dutch.
> You're right on this one too. If the people of Friesland speak
> slowly on average one can understand 25 to 40% of the words and
> from the context guess another 20%.
> 'Fries' is recognized as an offical language in The Netherlands
> and is teached at schools in Friesland. There is also a 'Fries'
> dictionary. This in contrast to dialects which are bound to regions
> and for which no dictionary exist.
> On t.v. I heard that a japanese professor wrote a Japanese-Fries
> dictionary!!
> pieter
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