March 22, 2013

GJIN - "no, none"

Today's post is based on a Wikipedia article about Manx cats in Frisian as well as on P. Sipma's book. Gjin is a very useful word that means that there is none of something. It is pronounced similar to the English word "gin," but with a y- before the "ih" vowel. GYIHn.

In kat hat gjin sturt. 
A cat has no tail.

The word in is pronounced with a schwa and means "a" or "an." UHn.

Kat is pronounced like the English "cot," the little bed you might sleep on in a cabin or tent. Don't be fooled by its familiar look: it does not have the same vowel as its English cognate.

Hat - "he, she, or it has." The -a- is an "ah" sound like in "father." This comes from the infinitive verb hawwe, "to have," pronounced with an "ah" like in "father," a -v- in the middle, and a schwa at the end. HAHVuh.

Sturt means "tail," and its vowel is pronounced like the German "o" with an umlaut over it, like it rhymes with dirt, but with more of a rounded sound.

It is important to bear in mind that modern Frisian spelling sometimes differs from older sources. Sipma spells sturt as stirt. Another example I have found is the spelling of the word for "wall." Per Sipma, it is written mûrre, but some modern sources spell it muorre.  According to his glossary, it is pronounced with an "oo" vowel like in "moon" followed by an "oh" vowel like in the exclamation "oh!" and ends with a schwa. MOO-OHruh.

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