July 28, 2015

DE NOARDSEEWEAGEN - "The North Sea Waves"

This month, let's take a look at a song that is so quintessentially Frisian that it is actually called Friezeliet, or "Frisian Song," even when it's in German.

Here is a full West Frisian version sung by Anneke Douma. You can use it to follow along with the pronunciation of the song's four verses.

First verse:

Bûterblommen - Jörg Hempel
  Dêr 't de noardseeweagen spiele oan it strân,
  dêr 't de bûterblommen bloeie yn 't griene lân.
  Dêr 't de kobben krite skril yn 't stoarmgerûs,
  dêr is myn lânsdouwe. Stie myn âldershûs.
  [REPEAT] 
  Dêr 't de kobben krite skril yn 't stoarmgerûs,
  dêr is myn lânsdouwe. Stie myn âldershûs.

  There, where the North Sea waves flow over the strand...
  There, where the buttercups bloom in the green land...
  There, where the gulls lament shrilly in the sounding
  storm...
  There is my homeland where stood my forefathers'   
  home.


A few vocabulary notes on the first verse:

Spiele can mean "to wash or clean," "to flow," or "to rain heavily."

Lânsdouwe translates as "lea," a flat, open area of meadow or grassy land, but the word can also mean "region" or "landscape."  

Krite is a verb meaning "lament," "weep", "squeak," or "creak."

Gerûs can mean "noise," "murmur," "a repeating murmur," "an unclear sound," "blowing," or "gusts."

Second verse:

Wadden Sea - Janhendrik Dolsma
Wyn en weagen songen dêr har liet foar my,
efter hege diken gie myn jeugd foarby.
Mar myn herte lange nei de wide wrâld,
'k woe om fierrens swalkje sûnder honk en hâld. 
[REPEAT] 
Mar myn herte lange nei de wide wrâld,
'k woe om fierrens swalkje sûnder honk en hâld.


There, wind and waves sang their song for me...
Beyond the high dikes my youth went by.
But my heart longed for the wide world,
I wanted to wander far off without a home or hold.

Foarby is a common word.  It means something that is past, ended, or that has been surpassed.

Honk is one of West Frisian's many false cognates. It means "home" or "base," or a sanctuary or a resting place. To remember it, think of honking geese settling down into a new home or sanctuary after a migration.

Hâld means "a hold" or "support."  E.g., hâld en wâld, "support and protection."

Third verse:
North Frisia - Dico de Klein

Folle lok en lijen haw ik neitiid fûn,
wat ik ienris dreamde hat my 't libben jûn.
`k Socht de fiere kimen, dêr 't myn hert my  dreau,
nearne koe ik bankje, want ien langstme bleau.
 [REPEAT] 
`k Socht de fiere kimen, dêr 't myn hert my  dreau,
nearne koe ik bankje, want ien langstme bleau.

Later I found much luck and grief... 
What I had once dreamed, life gave me.
I looked for the far horizons where my heart drove me...
Nowhere could I dwell, because one longing remained....

Folle is another common Frisian word worth knowing. It can mean "a large amount of" or "often," depending on context.

Lije means "suffering" or "grief."

Socht is the first person past tense of the verb sykje, "to seek" or "to look for." Be careful not to confuse it with sjoch, the first person present tense of the verb sjen, "to see." The first person past tense of sjen is seach.

Dreau is the first person past tense of driuwe, "to drive" or "to float." 

Bankje is a verb meaning "stay," "reside," "live," "dwell," or "endure." 

 Fourth Verse:
Traditional Frisian Farmhouse

Langstme nei it griene bûntbeblomme lân,
dêr 't de noardseeweagen spiele oan it strân.
Dêr 't de kobben krite skril yn 't stoarmgerûs,
nei de eigen oarde en myn lêste hûs. 
[REPEAT] 
Dêr 't de kobben krite skril yn 't stoarmgerûs,
nei de eigen oarde en myn lêste hûs.

The longing for the green land blooming with roan color...
There, where the North Sea waves flow over the strand.
There, where the gulls lament shrilly in the sounding storm... 
For my own place and my last home.

Bûntbeblomme is an odd but poetic word. Bûnt means a roan color, the color of fur... flowers blooming in roan colors. 

Oard means "place," "region," or "location" in this context. Think of the some the older meanings of the English "ward" to remember it. Oard can also mean "another" or "a second."