November 2, 2013

FERSKIL - "difference"

Let's return to our regular lessons and look at the word ferskil. Say it with an initial "eh" like in English "error" and with a final "ih" as in the English "skill." FEHR-skihl.

Here is a very useful West Frisian phrase that uses the word ferskil:

Hokker ferskil is der tusken  ___ en ___?
What difference is there between  ___ and ___?

Hokker means "what?" and is said with a long "oh" as in "hope" and with a schwa in the final syllable. HOHk-kuhr.

Is means "is" and is said much like its English twin.

Der means "there" and takes a short schwa, with the -r pretty much serving as the "vowel." You will also see the word dêr, which has a longer "eh" vowel and can mean, "there," "who," or "that," or "over there."

Tusken was discussed in this previous article. It means "between." The first vowel is pronounced with a purse-lipped "o" with an umlaut over it. The second syllable takes a schwa. TÖSKuhn.

En means "and." It is said with an "eh" like in "end" or an "ih" as in "bin."

Now that we know the basic phrase, let's try it out in a complete sentence:

Hokker ferskil is der tusken de dialekten fan Noard-Hollân en it Frysk? 
What difference is there between the dialects of North Holland and Frisian?

Dialekten is a cognate meaning "dialects." Say the first part with a long "ee" as in "see" followed by a long "ah" as in "father. Pronounce the middle syllable with an "eh" as in "beck" and end with a schwa. DEE-AH-lehk-tuhn.

Fan has been discussed many times before. It sounds like the English word "fawn" and means "of," "by," or "from." Remember that older sources such as P. Sipma's book may spell it fen.

Noard is West Frisian for "north." I don't have an exact transcription on it, but I believe that it should be said it with a long "oh" like in the Engish word "no," followed by a schwa. NOH-uhrd.

Hollân is "Holland." Sometimes in English we mistakenly use Holland as a "synonym" for the Netherlands (which includes territories in the Caribbean). Please do not do this. It would be as silly as using "California" as a synonym for the western United States. In any case, this is another word I do not have the transcription for right now. My best guess is that the first syllable takes a long "oh." We've seen the second syllable before, though. Lân is the Frisian word for "land," which is pronounced like the English word "lawn." HOHL-lahn.

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

Frysk, of course, is Frisian for "Frisian." It takes a long "ee" as in "seek." FREEsk.

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