Frisian, Western

Conjugate Verbs


  • Language: Frisian, Western
  • Alternate names: FRYSK, FRIES
  • Language code: fri
  • Language family: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Frisian
  • Number of speakers: 730000
  • Script:


Linguistically between Dutch and English. Not intelligible with Eastern and Northern Frisian of Germany (E. Matteson SIL 1978). 71% lexical similarity with Standard German, 61% with English, 74% with Eastern Frisian.

Most speakers are bilingual in Dutch. Over 70% of those in Friesland still speak Western Frisian. Town Frisian is a mixed language. National language. Literacy rate in first language: Speakers not generally literate in Frisian. Bilingual education is compulsory in Friesland but speakers are not generally literate in Frisian. Has an official orthography in the Netherlands. Bible 1943-1978.

Frisian is the first language of 55 per cent (350,000) of the population of the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. 74% of the inhabitants of Friesland are able to speak Frisian, 64% are able to read it and 17% able to write it. In 1956 the government of the Netherlands formally recognized Friesland as a bilingual community. Over the years, a steadily growing number of measures have been prepared to implement this policy in fields such as education, public administration and the judiciary.

Some 3,000 Frisian speakers live in a few villages just over the provincial border where Frisian does not have any status. The use of Frisian in education has been allowed since 1938 and it has been compulsory in primary education since 1980. It became compulsory in the first year of secondary education in 1993. Frisian is a Germanic language, historically related to English.

The verb

  Regular verbs

  Infinitive:   fraage

  1sg ik        fraage
  2sg dü        fraagest
  3sg hi/hat/at fraaget
  1pl wi        fraage
  2pl jam       fraage
  3pl jo        fraage

  Irregular verbs

  Infinitive:      drank
  Past participle: dronken

       Present   Past
  1sg  drank     droonk
  2sg  drankst   droonkst
  3sg  drankt    droonkt
  pl   drank     droonk

  Infinitive:      wees
  Past participle: ?

       Present   Past
  1sg  san
  2sg  beest
  3sg  as
  pl   san