February 23, 2018


I recently came across the word reden in a useful phrase, which I will of course share here. However, it also turns out that there are different, similar-looking words in Frisian with their own distinct meanings. Today, let's explore these.

One of the common meanings of reden  is a "cause" or a "reason." Pronounce the first syllable like the English word "ray" followed by the word "done" (a schwa vowel). REY-duhn.

There's a phrase for saying that something is obvious which goes like this:

Eleven Cities Route - Alvestêdetocht on fy.wikipedia.org
...yn 'e reden lizze...
..is obvious... (literally: "lies within the reasons or causes...")
[...EEn uh REY-duhn LIHz-zuh...]

It leit yn 'e reden dat elk syn sin altyd net krije kin.
It is obvious that everyone can't have their desire/wish all the time.
[UHt LIGHt EEn uh REY-duhn DAWT EHlk SEEn SIHn AWL-teet NET krIGH-uh KIHn.]

What is also obvious is that ice skating is important in Friesland! So, we have another use for the word reden: it can mean "an ice skate."

Redens is the plural, meaning "ice skates." [REY-duhns]

Also, reden can mean a "talk," "conversation," or "discussion."

Mnemonic: Obviously we have cause to talk about ice skating!

How about the similar-looking word rêden? The first syllable is pronounced like the English word "red" and ends like our word "done." REHd-duhn. 

This word is common in news articles, as it means to be saved or rescued.

...is rêden...
...is saved / is rescued...
[IHs REHd-duhn]

Here's one of many examples from Omrop Fryslân (article here):

Man út grêft rêden
Man saved from canal
[MAHn OOt grEHft REHd-duhn]

There is also a verb, rêde, which can mean "to rescue" or "to occupy with."

Wat is dêr te rêden?
What is there to do?

Rêd by itself sometimes means a "wheel" or "circle." 

For example, reuzerêd, the word for a giant Ferris wheel such as the London Eye, is a combination of the word for "a giant" (like in fairy tales) and the word for "wheel." 

Rêd can also mean "quickly," "fast," or "soon."

Sa rêd as de wyn.
As swift as the wind.

Mnemonic: Swiftly save us from the red wheel!

Photograph by Steven Fine on Wikimedia Commons

February 7, 2018

Starting March 5th, 2018 - Free Online Frisian Course Through FutureLearn

Excellent news: the University of Groningen is once again offering their free online Frisian course through FutureLearn! You can register to start on March 5, 2018.


Personally, I highly recommend this course. It's in English, and you'll learn to hear Frisian as well as read it. It will give you a very good basic foundation in the language.