July 29, 2013

GAURIS - "a lot, often" / Frisian Tongue-Twisters

I would like to thank "The History of English Podcast" for recommending "Fun With Frisian" at the end of Episode 28: Angles, Saxons, Jutes & Frisians. The kind mention certainly made this blogger's day! Tanke wol!

Today, we'll look at the word gauris, which can mean " a lot," "often," "frequently," "much," or "commonly." It is pronounced with the "ow" diphthong in "gown" and takes a schwa in the second syllable. GAURuhs.

Let's look at gauris in a sentence from Frisian Wikipedia:

In tongbrekkerssechje is in wurd, of in sin, dêr't de útspraak gauris problemen fan jaan kin.
A tongue-twister is a word or a phrase that can frequently cause problems with pronunciation.

You can follow the link to the article to see some Frisian tongue-twisters.

In means "a" or "an" and is said with a schwa. UHn.

Tongbrekkerssechje breaks down into three parts. Tong is from the word for "tongue," tonge, and is pronounced with a long "oh" as in "tone. TOHNG. Brekke means "to break." The first vowel is an "eh" as is "wreck," and the second syllable takes a schwa. BREHK-kuh. Finally, sechje means "saying" or "proverb." As closely as I can figure out from examining similarly spelled words, it would be pronounced with an "eh" followed by a  -k- and it ends with a schwa. Remember that a Frisian j is pronounced like an English -y-. SEHK-yuh.

Wurd means "word" in this context. It is said with the purse-lipped "o" with an umlaut over it that is found in German, and the initial consonant is a v-. The -r- sound may sometimes get dropped. VÖRD.

Of is the word for "or." Say it with the shorter "o" heard in"dot" or "pot" so that it sounds rather like the English word "off."

Dêr means "who," "that," or "there." Here we see it in a contraction with it. We can translate this contraction, dêr't, as "where" or "in which." It takes the "eh" vowel in the English word "there." DEHRt

The word útspraak means "pronunciation." Say it with an "ee" sound on the first syllable and a long "ah" as in father. EET-sprahk.

Sin has a few meanings, including "phrase." Say it just like the English word "sin," which is actually not one of its modern meanings. The Frisian word can also mean "longing" or "desire" and is comparable to its German cognate, Sinn.

Jaan means "to give." It is pronounced with a particularly long "ah" as "yawn" or "father." YAHN. Note that it is under jaen (old spelling) in P. Simpa's glossary.

Fan has various meanings, including "of" or "by." Say it like the English word "fawn."

Kin means "can," "may," or "is able to." It is said with a short "ih" just like the English word is looks like, "kin."

July 23, 2013

TSJIN - "against"

Tsjin is another common and useful word to know. It means "against" and is pronounced with an initial ts- as is "tsar," and with a -y- blending into an "ih" as in "gin." TSYIHn.

Today's example comes from Omrop Fryslân. Omrop means "a broadcast channel," and it literally breaks down as a combination of the word om discussed in the very first lesson and rop meaning "call" or "cry." Say rop with a long "oh," like the English word "rope." The West Frisian word for Friesland, Fryslân, has been discussed previously here.

Fryslân nimt maatregels tsjin de waarmte.
Friesland takes measures against the heat.

You can click this link to hear the sentence in the introduction to the full newscast.

Here is the breakdown for today's lesson:

Nimt is from the infinitive verb nimme, a word which can have many meanings, among them "to take," "to get, acquire, or attain," " to engage," or "to adopt." The infinitive is said with an "ih" as in "brim" and a final schwa. NIH-MUH. The third-person form is said with an "ih" vowel as well.

Maatregels means "measures." Say it with a long "ah" as in father, an "ey" as in "ray," and final schwa. MAHt-rey-guhls.

As always, de means "the" and takes a schwa.

Waarmte is a nice, convenient cognate. Say it with an initial v- followed by a long "ah" as in "father" and a final schwa. If you listen to the beginning of the broadcast, notice that the -r- is more rolled than it is in English. VAHRM-tuh.   

As a bonus, hjoed means "today" as is said with a long "oo" as in "mood." You can hear how the initial h- is hardly said at all. In P. Sipma's book, the pronunciation is likewise given as starting with an initial y- followed by an "oo" and a schwa. YOO-uhd.

July 12, 2013

DAT BRÛKT WURDT – “is used for”

Today we’ll look at the word brûkt, which shows up in some common phrases in modern West Frisian. Brûkt is pronounced with a long “oo” sound like in “moon.” BROOkt.

P. Sipma gives one example of its use on page 76. Remember that he often spells Frisian words differently, as his text is a hundred years old. I’ll stick to modern spellings here:

…dat brûkt wurdt…
…is used for…

Dat means “that” or “which” and is pronounced like the English word “dot.”

Wurdt sounds a lot like the English “word” with a more rounded vowel and a –t on the end, indicating the singular third-person of the verb wurde (old spelling: wirde)  “to be” or “to become.”

This phrase can be followed by different prepositions, including foar. Foar means “for” and is pronounced with a long “oh” as in “foe” and a full “ah” as in “father. FOH-AHr.

In grut part fan it Nederlânske transportrjocht dat brûkt wurdt foar rederijen en skippen is regele yn Boek 8 fan it Boargerlik Wetboek.
A large part of the Netherlands’ transport law that is used for ferries and ships is codified in Book 8 of the Civil Lawbook.

Remember, in means “a or “an” and is said with a schwa. UHn.

Grut means “big” or “important” and is said with something similar to an “oo” as in “moon,” perhaps with more pursed lips though. GROOt.

Fan is pronounced like the English word “fawn” and means “of” or “from.”

It means “the” or “it” and is said with a schwa. UHt.

I’m making an educated guess here on Nederlânske: an “ey” as in “neighbor,” a schwa, a long “a” as in “father,” and another schwa. NEY-duh-LAHn-skuh.

Rjocht means “law” or “right” (as in both the direction and being right). In older texts such as P. Sipma’s book, you may see it spelled rjucht, but it is always pronounced with a -y- followed by a full “o” as in “road.” It also takes the harsh “ch” (which actually sounds a bit more like a -k than an English -ch) found in the German “Bach” or Hebrew “l’chaim.” RYOHkht.

Another educated guess for rederij: an initial “ih” as in “rid,” a schwa, and a final “ey” as in “hay” or “ray.” RIHd-duh-rey. The plural ending -en takes a schwa; I’m sure of that much at least.

Remember that en means “and” and is said with a schwa. UHn.

We’ve looked at skip before. It is a cognate of “ship,” and it sounds like the English word “skip.” The plural takes a schwa on the second syllable: SKIHp-pun.

Recall that is is the same in Frisian and English.

More educated guesswork: regele would likely take a long “ey” as in “neighbor” followed by schwas in the other syllables.

Yn means “in” and is said with a long “ee” as in “green.” EEn.

Boek is a cognate, the Frisian for “book.” It is said with a long “oo” as in “boo!” or “fluke.” BOOk

The Frisian word for "eight" is acht. Pronounce it with an "ah" as in father and the "kh" sound in "Bach" or "l'chaim." AHkht.

Boargelik shows up in the phrase boargelik rjocht, meaning “civil law.”  Boarger itself means a “citizen” or a “burgher.” Say it with a long “oh” as in “boat,” a full “ah” as in “father,” and with a schwa in the final two syllables. BOH-ahr-guh-luk.

Wet is another word for “law.” It is said just like the English word “vet.”