Frisian, Northern


A language of Germany

Alternate Names
Frasch, Freesch, Freesk, Fräisch, Nordfriesisch

10,000 (Stephens 1976). Ethnic population: 60,000 (Stephens 1976).


Schleswig-Holstein state: coast between Eider river south and Wiedau river north; adjacent islands Amrum, Föhr, the ten islands of Halligen group, Helgoland, Norstrand, Pellworm, and Sylt.

Language Status

7 (Shifting). Statutory language of provincial identity in Schleswig-Holstein (2014, Constitution, Article 6(2) (as amended)).


Mooringer (Mainland Frisian, Mooringa), Ferring (Fohr-Amrum), Sölreng (Sylt), Helgoland. Ferring dialect is actively used. Not intelligible to East Frisian Low Saxon [frs] of Germany or Frisian [fry] of the Netherlands except by a few educated bilingual speakers of Frisian. Lexical similarity: 70% between the Mooringer dialect and Standard German [deu], 55% with English [eng], 66% with East Frisian Old Saxon [frs], the Föhr dialect has 69% with Standard German, 62% with English, 68% with Frisian [fry], 73% with East Frisian Low Saxon, 86% with the Mooringer dialect, 91% with the Amrum dialect; the Sylt dialect has 64% with Standard German, 61% with English, 79% with the Mooringer dialect, 85% with the Föhr dialect.

Language Use

Sölreng dialect is nearly extinct. Home. Adults only. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Low Saxon [nds], Standard German [deu].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: Few read Frisian. Bible portions: 1954.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Education is in Standard German [deu] only. Commerce and religious services in German.

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