Clay Frisian

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Clay Frisian (West Frisian: Klaaifrysk) is a dialect of the West Frisian language spoken in the northwestern part of the Dutch province of Friesland. It has been the primary dialect of written West Frisian since the nineteenth century as a result of its high status. Historically, this region has been the centre of commerce and politics, further contributing to Clay Frisian's primacy. Compared to other West Frisian dialects, there are few if any differences in morphology or syntax but there are slight variances in lexicon.[1]

Comparison with Wood Frisian

Phonological differences

The largest difference between Clay Frisian and the eastern Wood Frisian dialect are the words my ("me"), dy ("you"), hy ("he"), sy ("she" or "they"), wy ("we"), and by ("by"), which are pronounced in the Wood Frisian as a mi, di, hi, si, wi, and bi and in Clay Frisian as mij, dij, hij, sij, wij, and bij. Other differences are in the pronunciation of the diphthongs ei, ai, and aai which are pronounced ij, ai, and aai in Wood Frisian, but ôi, òi, and ôi in Clay Frisian. Thus, in Wood Frisian, there is no difference between ei and ij, whereas in Clay Frisian, there is no difference between ei and aai.

Other phonological differences include:

English Dutch Wood Frisian Clay Frisian
you (singular) jij do
plum pruim prûm prom
thumb duim tûme tomme
naked naakt nêken neaken
crack kraken krêkje kreakje
weak (soft) week wêk weak
grass gras gjers gers
cherry kers kjers kers
calf kalf kjel kel

Lexical differences

Some lexical differences between Clay Frisian and Wood Frisian include:

English Wood Frisian Clay Frisian
Saturday saterdei sneon
ant mychammel
fleece flij flues
sow (pig) mot sûch


  1. ^ Ana Deumert, Wim Vandenbussche (2003). Germanic Standardizations: Past to Present. John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 90-272-1856-0.

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