March 4, 2013

OER - "over" / Words for Winter

This preposition looks a lot like its English sibling, but is pronounced OO-uhr, with the long vowel sound in the word "moon" and a schwa before the final -r.

Here is a piece from Sipma's book, from a poem called Winternocht (Winter Joy). The Frisian word winter sounds like the English one, but with a v- instead of a w- at the beginning. Nocht has an "oh" vowel like in "boat" or "oh!" and the harsh "ch" discussed in the NACHT post just below.

Oer hûs, oer klûs, oer finne
Leit leeljeblank en wyt...

The accented û also has the long OO sound.

Hûs means "house" and is said HOOz, with a softer final -z than in English.

Klûs means "cottage" or a cell or hermitage. Say it KLOOz, also with the softer ending.

Finne means "pasture" or "grazing ground" and is prnounced with a short "ih" sound like the vowel in the word "bit" and a schwa at the end. FIH-nuh.

Leit, which sounds like the English word "light," means that something lies in a place, as snow might lie on the ground. Note that it has the same vowel sound, which will hopefully help with memorization.

Leelje means "lily" and has a long "ey" like in the word "bay" or the ubiquitous "eh?" used in some parts of Canada. It has a "yuh" sound at the end: a y- plus a schwa. The second part of the word, blank, means "bright" and has an "ah" sound as in "father."  LAY-LYUH-blahnk - "lily-bright."

En means "and." A nice, common word. Say it with a solid "eh" vowel like in "pen" or "hen."

Finally, wyt means "white." It begins with a v- and has the "ee" vowel found in the word "creek." VEEt.

So, the translation is:

Over house, over cottage, over pasture,
lies lily-bright and white...

We're reading about snow of course, but that raises another question: how do we say "snow" in Frisian?

"Snow" is snie. The vowels are another "ee" as in "creek" and a schwa on the end. SNEE-uh.

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