November 21, 2016

KALKOEN - "turkey"

Thanksgiving is this week for those of us living in the United States. It's a great time of year to think about birds, or fûgels [FOO-guhls]:
Photograph of Eastern Wild Turkey

de kalkoen, de kalkoenen
the turkey, the turkeys

The plural is de kalkoenen. Say it with a long "aw" vowel followed by a very faint -l, and with a long "oo" in the final syllable so it rhymes with moon. The plural ends with an unaccented schwa and -n. [kawl-KOON] and [kawl-KOON-uhn]

Of course, generally speaking, you're not going to see wild turkeys running around Friesland. So, let's also learn the words for a few common birds living in that area of the world.

de reager, de reagers
Heron photograph by Gary Houston, 2005

the heron, the herons

Say this word so the first syllable sounds like the word "ray" and so that the second syllable takes a schwa. The -g- may have a harsh, clearing-the-throat, sound. The plural takes a final -s just like in English. [REY-guhr]

The most common heron in Friesland is the gray heron, literally called an "eel heron": de ielreager. Pronounce the Frisian iel like the English "eel." [EEL-rey-guhr]

The "eel" prefix shows up in some other names. One of them, quite interestingly, is the Frisian word for a cormorant.

Cormorant in Friesland, 2015 - Photo by author
de ielgoes (literally "eel goose"), de ielguozzen
the cormorant, the cormorants

Note that the second part of the word, guos or guozzen, takes an "aw" sound in the vowel. [EEL-gaws] and [EEL-gaw-zuhn]

Black-tailed godwit by Frank Vassen
Even a brief list of Frisian birds like this one would be incomplete without a mention of the black-tailed godwit, the national bird of the Netherlands. Say its name to rhyme with "crease." [SKREEs]

de skries, de skriezen
the godwit, the godwits

Northern Lapwing by Alpsdrake
Finally, another important bird to know about is the ljip, or northern lapwing or peewit. The eggs of these birds are traditionally sought out in the spring, which is called aaisykjen (literally "egg seeking"). Pronounce ljip with an "ih" like in the English "lip." [LYIHP]

de ljip, de ljippen
the peewit, the peewits