November 1, 2014

TSJEP - "beautiful, neat, decent"

The past few months have been very rough and I have not been able to post as many lessons as I would have liked. One small bright point was finally acquiring my very own copy of Rimen en Teltsjes (Rhymes and Little Tales) by the Halbertsma Brothers. This site has a nice summary about the Halbertsmas' contributions to Frisian language and literature. A free e-book version of Rimen en Teltsjes is available from Google Books.

Today's example comes from a poem called De Boalserter merke ("The Bolsward Fair") which can be found at the beginning of Rimen en Telstjes.

Te Boalsert yn 'e merke
Seach ik in famke gean...
Sa tsjep yn sneinske klean.

I saw a lass go
to Bolsward fair...
so beautiful in Sunday clothes.

Te means "to" or "at" and is said with a schwa. TUH.

Yn is a cognate for "in" and is pronounced with the long "ee" in "seen." EEn.

'E is short for de, meaning "the," and is said with a schwa. UH.

Merke  is stressed on the first syllable and is said like the English word "murk" with a schwa on the end. MERK-uh.

Seach is the past tense of sjen, "to see." The "ea" vowel combination is pronounced similarly to an English "ih" as in "sit," with a faint schwa afterwards. The -ch- is the harsh consonant in the German word Bach or the Hebrew l'chaim.

Ik is the Frisian word for "I." It takes a short "ih" vowel, as in "wick." IHk.

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

Famke means "girl," "young lady," or "lass." Pronounce the first syllable with a long "ah" as in "father" and end the word with a schwa. Stress in on the first syllable. FAHM-kuh.

Gean means "to go" or "to fare." Like seach, the vowel is a short "ih" followed by a fainter schwa. GIHun.

Sa is a cognate for "so." It is said with the long "ah" in "father." SAH.

Tsjep can mean many things: beautiful, neat, comely, decent, convenient, or competent. Pronounce it with the -ts- in the borrowed word "tsar," followed by a -y- preceding an "eh" vowel so that it rhymes with the informal English word "yep". TSyehp.

Snein means "Sunday" and rhymes with the English "shine," which provides a trick for remembering it. SNIGHn. The adjectival form, sneinske, ends with the ubiquitous schwa. SNIGHN-skuh.

Finally, klean takes the "ih" and schwa combination we've been seeing in other words in today's lesson. Klean means "clothes" or "clothing." KLIHuhn.