November 11, 2013

Everyone Likes Elk!

Everyone likes ELK!
If you have come across this blog by accident, you might still leave this site with at least one bit of modern West Frisian forever stuck in your head: elk, which is said like the English word for the large grazing animal, means "everyone" or "every."

You will also find the word elts in use. It is pronounced with the "eh" in "elk" and means the same thing.

We can see both elk and elts in use looking at Frisian Wikipedia's article on human rights. Here is an example from the article:

Elk hat rjocht om dingen yn eigendom te hawwen.
Everyone has the right to have property.

Hat means "he, she, or it has." It is said with a long "ah" as in "father." HAHt.

At the end of the sample sentence is the plural form of the same verb, hawwe, meaning "they have." This word takes a long "ah" as in "father" and a schwa on the end. HAH-vuh.

We have seen the word rjocht (old spelling rjucht) before in several posts. This word means “right," "straight," "law," or "direct." Say it with a long "oh" as in "road." RYOHcht.

Om was the subject of the very first lesson. It means "round," "for," or "at" and rhymes with the English word "roam." OHm.

Ding is the plural of ding, and has the same meaning as its English cognate, "thing." Say it like the English word, but with an initial d- instead of a th-, as in the sound of a bell being struck. DIHNG. The plural takes a schwa sound. DIHNG-uhn.

Yn means "in" and is said with a long "ee" so that it rhymes with "green." EEN.

Eigen is an adjective meaning "own." The -dom ending in West Frisian has an equivalent function its English twin, e.g., hartoch (a duke) and hartochdom (dukedom); frij (free) and frijdom (freedom). As a quick pint of interest, I'll note that frij is pronounced with the -igh sound in "might" or "eye." Likewise, eigen begins with an "igh" vowel and takes a schwa in the second syllable. Dom is said with a long "oh" as in the English word "dome." IGH-guhn-DOHm.

Te means "to," "at," or "in" and may be said with a schwa.

Here is another example from the same link, this time with elts:

Elts hat rjocht op in iepenbier proses.
Everyone has the right to public process.

I'll finish by noting that iepenbier is related to the word iepen, meaning "open." Say it with an initial long "ee" as in "week," followed by a schwa. The middle part of the word takes a schwa. The final part of the word repeats the "ee" followed by a schwa combination. EE-uh-puhn-bee-uhr.

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.