Frisian Course Extended version
by Pyt Kramer
Ook in Nederlands
Back to:
About 400,000 people speak (West)Frisian in the province Fryslân in the northern Netherlands
[You want Saterfrisian?] How do you pronounce: Fryslân? Listen to Frisian news on-line
Goto lesson 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Grammar Spelling Index

More about the background of the applied language immersion method can be found at


This course is the extended form of the course of seven lessons I had on this place since May 2000. That course was rather well visited: out of 859 people visiting page 1 of the English version 121 downloaded all lessons. For the Dutch version these numbers were 185 and 41 (Yahoo Stats 4th April 2001).
I also got a number of e-mails encouraging me to complete the course and some gave valuable remarks.

I first added seven new lessons in order to include the 197 most frequent words in Frisian, thus covering 65% of daily speech. In between many other words and forms flew in in order to make good talks; the word index now contains 525 of them. I hope that in this way one will obtain a good starting knowledge of practical speech. A last lesson will treat some special objects.

For all lessons I considerably increased the number of exercises*, thus giving the user the possibility to work with the language themselves in order to get more feeling for it. Already from the first simple lesson on one is urged to join a talk!
*) There are over 600 exercises in total, more than half of it being "programmed", that is with built-in correction.

For each lesson one may call a seperate word index showing the newly acquired words with the English translation in the proper text and possible remarks concerning more general use.
Also a "growing grammar" is available, where the new words are arranged in a grammatical scheme, resulting in a general "grown grammar" at the end, with a special survey on
verb inflection and numbers.
At any time the first appearance of a word or a meaning in the course can be found by the alphabetical index.
Also surveys are available of Frisian spelling and of pronunciation.

During the making of this course I made much use of the new Frisian-English Dictionary by Anne Dykstra, Ljouwert 2000 (Fryske Akademy/ Wurdboeken),
and of the Frisian Reference Grammar by Pieter Meijes Tiersma, Ljouwert 1999 (
Fryske Akademy/ Taal- en Letterkunde).
My shining example were the on-line courses in
For the exercises I owe a lot to my experience as a teacher for Dutch as a second language for foreigners.

About the scheme of the course: Starting with a quite simple text in the first lesson, the level is gradually increased during the course. In each lesson the student is first subjected to Frisian speech without written text, after which he is asked a few questions in order to encourage his enterprise. Then he is asked to say after a speaker and to play that role in a talk. So the right pronunciation is exercised without being hampered by the written text and one may already get a better feeling for the contents and obtain the ability to answer. This will be more the case in the later lessons, where the texts are too long to be well remembered, which forces the user to improvise.
The same is repeated with the written text, where the student is asked to consult the vocabulary of new words and his growing grammar. After that follows a number of exercitions, like translating, understanding, true/ not true, making a good sentence, type the right word, and write and speak. So the student is intensively occupied with each text in order to learn the language in a natural way.
For the sake of clarity, separable verbs have always been written apart, e.g. fierder gean instead of fierdergean.

West Frisian shows small dialectic variation. This course is based on standard Frisian, actually being the language of the central part of the province. Some variations are indicated as SE (south-east), NW (north-west).

When you have any further remarks, then please do not hesitate to write.
That applies also for technical problems.

4th of June 2001, Pyt Kramer


How do you pronounce Fryslân? Top

Since a few years Fryslân is the official name of the former province Friesland. As a consequence you hear many dignitaries using this name and that can only be applauded.

More's the pity often a failure is made in pronouncing this name and that is caused by the fact that it can be pronounced in two ways:

1. With a normal n: [Fryslân]
That is the usual pronunciation of the word on itself or in front of vowels, or in front of d, h, n or t.

2. With a nasal â: [Fryslâñ]
The last pronunciation applies only in front of the other consonants: b, f, g, j, k, l, m, ng, p, r, s, v, w, z.












sûnt 7 july 2001