(Off-topio) English and Frisian

Elmo morrow at physics.rice.edu
Wed Dec 14 05:38:33 CET 1994

rivers at seismo.CSS.GOV (Wilmer Rivers) writes:
>Frisian is the language mostly closely
>related to English of all the other Teutonic languages, and native
>speakers of English thus find a Frisian accent disconcertingly foreign
>and familiar at the same time.

deckerd at agcs.com (Dwight Decker) adds:
>Frisian may be "closest" to
>English in some technical grammatical sense, but from what I've seen of
>it on the printed page, it's still a lot closer to Dutch, and unreadable
>by a native English-speaker without special study.

You're both right, of course.  Geneaologically, Frisian is the language
most closely related to English--they're the only surviving languages
from the West Germanic branch of Indo-European.  Frisian is only about
English's second cousin; its grandfather tongue and Anglo-Saxon were
closely related.  Anglo-Saxon, however, to brutally extend the metaphor,
married foreigners while Frisian kept itself within the family.
It's really more that English doesn't resemble Anglo-Saxon than it
doesn't resemble Frisian.  (During the Norman occupation, English
dramatically altered its pronunciation and grammar and imported many 
thousands of Franco-Norman words.  Modern English (since about the Sixteenth 
Century) also imported many more Latin and Greek words.  The end result
is a language which doesn't sound like German/Dutch/Frisian or have
sentences built like German/Dutch/Frisian and which has a vocabulary
made up in large part of words which aren't German/Dutch/Frisian.)

ObDuck: Terror of the Transvaal, like all duck comics, sold out at my
local store within a day.  I've asked the manager why she doesn't increase
her order, but she says there's no market for them.  Go figure.

"A number of religions in Ankh-Morpork still practised human sacrifice,
except that they didn't really need to practice any more because they had
got so good at it."--Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!
elmo (morrow at physics.rice.edu,morrow at fnal.fnal.gov)

More information about the DCML mailing list