June 11, 2013

WAPEN - "coat of arms"

It wapen fan Fryslân is in blau skyld mei twa gouden liuwen boppe elkoar...
The coat of arms of Friesland is a blue shield with two golden lions on top of each other... 

The Coat of Arms of Friesland: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Friesland_wapen.svg

Today's lesson comes from an article about the coat of arms of Friesland, courtesy of the Frisian-language version of Wikipedia.

It means "it" or "the" and is said with a schwa: UHt.

Wapen can mean a “coat of arms,” “emblem,” or “weapon.” Say it with a v- at the beginning, a long “ah” as in “father,” and with a schwa in the final syllable. VAHP-uhn.

Fan can mean "of" or "by," and it shows up in many contexts. Say it like the English word "fawn." You can read a bit more about this word in a previous post.

Fryslân is said with a long “ee” in the first syllable and accent on the first syllable. The second part of the word means "land" and is pronounced like the English word "lawn." FREES-lahn. This is the name for Friesland, a province in the Netherlands. 

Is is the same as its English twin.

Blau is a word we have seen before and is a cognate with its English equivalent “blue.” The vowel is similar to the sound in the English word “vow” or “loud.” Be careful to keep the -a- long, somewhere between the “ah” in “father” and the “o” in the word “pot.” BLAU.

Skyld means “shield.” Say it with the same long “ee” vowel we hear in this word’s English near-twin. SKEELD. It is not unusual for an sh- in certain English words to be paralleled by an sk- in their Frisian cognates. E.g, skip  is the Frisian for “ship” and is said with an “ih” sound, just like its English equivalent. SKIHP.

Mei is the West Frisian word for "with." It sounds like the English “my.” MIGH.

Twa is a cognate meaning "two." Say it with a  -w- and an extra-long “ah” as in “father." TWAAH.

Gouden means “golden” and is pronounced with the same vowel in blau  followed by a schwa in the second syllable. GAUD-uhn. The Frisian for “gold” itself is gaud. GAUD. Again, be careful not to let the vowel morph into the higher, cut-off -a- as in “cat” that is common in American English.

Liuwen means “lions.” Say it with a y- followed by a long “oo” (just like the English word “yew”), then a -w-, and with a schwa in the second syllable. LYOO-wuhn. But what if we had only one lion? That would be liuw in Frisian. LYOO.

Boppe is Frisian for “above” or “on top.” It is said with a long “oh” as in “boat” and with a schwa on the end. BOHP-puh.

Finally, elkoar is one word for “each other.” The stress is on the second syllable. The first syllable is said just like the English word “elk” and the second part of the word takes a long “oh” as in “boat” and a schwa. Elk-OH-uhr.

For even more fun with Frisian, I’ll attempt a loose translation of the entire article:

“The coat of arms of (the province of) Friesland is a blue shield with two golden lions on top of each other, bordered with seven horizontal golden blocks, where two are in the top area, two are between the lions, and three are under the lions.

The coats of arms is normally displayed with a five-pronged crown atop the shield, and with two golden lions holding the shield, all standing on green edging.

It is not known what the lions stand for. What is accepted is that the number of blocks has significance, denoting the federation of “Seven Sealands” (the districts that form the province of Friesland).

The origin of the coat of arms of Friesland is not clear. However, this version was adopted in 1830 as the emblem of the Frisian Society. At the end of the 19th century, a banner of the coat of arms was popular as the flag of Friesland until the modern-day Frisian flag arose. Since February 11, 1958, it has been the official coat of arms of Friesland.”