Anglic (or English):



Hatched areas indicate where multilingualism is common.

The Anglo-Frisian languages are the West Germanic languages which include Anglic (or English) and Frisian.

The Anglo-Frisian languages are distinct from other West Germanic languages due to several sound changes: the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, Anglo-Frisian brightening, and palatalization of /k/:

The early Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon were spoken by intercommunicating populations, which led to shared linguistic traits through assimilation. English and Frisian have a proximal ancestral form in common before their divergence as geography isolated the settlers of the island from mainland Europe except contact with communities capable of open water navigation which resulted in Old Norse and Norman French influences on Modern English whereas Modern Frisian was subject to contact with the southernly Germanic populations restricted to the continent.


The Anglo-Frisian family tree is:

Anglo-Frisian developments

The following is a summary of the major sound changes affecting vowels in chronological order.[2] For additional detail, see Phonological history of Old English.

  1. Backing and nasalization of West Germanic a and ā before a nasal consonant
  2. Loss of n before a spirant, resulting in lengthening and nasalization of preceding vowel
  3. The present and preterite plurals reduced to a single form
  4. A-fronting: WGmc a, āæ, ǣ, even in the diphthongs ai and au (see Anglo-Frisian brightening)
  5. palatalization of Proto-Germanic *k and *g before front vowels (but not phonemicization of palatals)
  6. A-restoration: æ, ǣa, ā under the influence of neighboring consonants
  7. Second fronting: OE dialects (except West Saxon) and Frisian ǣē
  8. A-restoration: a restored before a back vowel in the following syllable (later in the Southumbrian dialects); Frisian æuau → Old Frisian ā/a
  9. OE breaking; in West Saxon palatal diphthongization follows
  10. i-mutation followed by syncope; Old Frisian breaking follows
  11. Phonemicization of palatals and assibilation, followed by second fronting in parts of West Mercia
  12. Smoothing and back mutation


Numbers in Anglo-Frisian languages

These are the words for the numbers one to ten in the Anglo-Frisian languages:

Language 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
English one two three four five six seven eight nine ten
Scots[3] ane
twa three fower five sax seiven aicht nine ten
Yola oan twye dhree vour veeve zeese zeven ayght neen dhen
West Frisian ien twa trije fjouwer fiif seis sân acht njoggen tsien
Saterland Frisian aan twäi
träi fjauwer fieuw säks soogen oachte njugen tjoon
North Frisian (Mooring dialect) iinj
fjouer fiiw seeks soowen oocht nüügen tiin

* Ae /eː/, /jeː/ is the adjectival form used before nouns.[4]

Words in English, West Frisian, Dutch and German

English West Frisian Dutch German
day dei dag Tag
rain rein regen Regen
way wei weg Weg
nail neil nagel Nagel
butter bûter boter Butter
cheese tsiis kaas Käse
church tsjerke kerk Kirche
door doar deur Tür
fork foarke vork Gabel
sibling[note 1] sibbe sibbe (dated) Sippe
together tegearre samen
morn(ing) moarn morgen Morgen
until oant tot bis
key kaai sleutel Schlüssel
have been (was) ha west ben geweest bin gewesen
two sheep twa skiep twee schapen zwei Schafe
have hawwe hebben haben
us ús ons uns
horse hynder paard
ros (dated)
Ross (dated)
bread brea brood Brot
hair hier haar Haar
ear ear oor Ohr
green grien groen Grün
sweet swiet zoet süß
through troch door durch
wet wiet nat nass
eye each oog Auge
dream dream droom Traum
it goes on it giet oan het gaat door es geht weiter/los

Alternative grouping

Ingvaeonic, also known as North Sea Germanic, is a postulated grouping of the West Germanic languages that comprises Old Frisian, Old English[5] and Old Saxon.[6]

It is not thought of as a monolithic proto-language, but rather as a group of closely related dialects that underwent several areal changes in relative unison.[7]

The grouping was first proposed in Nordgermanen und Alemannen (1942) by the German linguist and philologist Friedrich Maurer (1898–1984), as an alternative to the strict tree diagrams which had become popular following the work of the 19th-century linguist August Schleicher and which assumed the existence of an Anglo-Frisian group.[8]

See also


  1. ^ Original meaning was "relative" which has become "brother or sister" in English.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Anglo-Frisian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Robert D. Fulk, “The Chronology of Anglo-Frisian Sound Changes”, Approaches to Old Frisian Philology, eds., Rolf H. Bremmer Jr., Thomas S.B. Johnston, and Oebele Vries (Amsterdam: Rodopoi, 1998), 185.
  3. ^ Depending on dialect 1. en, jɪn, in, wan *e:, je: 2. twɑ:, twɔ:, twe:, twa: 3. θrəi, θri:, tri: 4. 'fʌu(ə)r, fuwr 5. fai:v, fɛv 6. saks 7. 'si:vən, 'se:vən, 'səivən 8. ext, ɛçt 9. nəin, nin 10. tɛn
  4. ^ Grant, William; Dixon, James Main (1921) Manual of Modern Scots. Cambridge, University Press. p.105
  5. ^ Also known as Anglo-Saxon.
  6. ^ Some include West Flemish. Cf. Bremmer (2009:22).
  7. ^ For a full discussion of the areal changes involved and their relative chronologies, see Voyles (1992).
  8. ^ "Friedrich Maurer (Lehrstuhl für Germanische Philologie - Linguistik)". Germanistik.uni-freiburg.de. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 

Further reading