Anglo-Frisian languages explained

Anglo-Frisian
Region:Originally, England, Scottish Lowlands and the North Sea coast from Friesland to Jutland; today worldwide
Familycolor:Indo-European
Fam2:Germanic
Fam3:West Germanic
Child1:Anglic
Child2:Frisian
Mapcaption:Present-day distribution of the Anglo-Frisian languages in Europe:AnglicFrisianDots indicate areas where multilingualism is common.
Mapsize:250px

The Anglo-Frisian languages form a group of West Germanic languages consisting of Old English, Old Frisian, and their descendants. The Anglo-Frisian family tree is:

The Anglo-Frisian languages are distinguished from other West Germanic languages partially by the Ingvaeonic nasal spirant law, Anglo-Frisian brightening, and by the palatalization of Proto-Germanic * to a coronal affricate before front vowels, e.g.

The early Anglo-Frisian and Old Saxon speech communities lived close enough together to form a linguistic crossroads which is why they share some of the traits otherwise only typical of Anglo-Frisian languages.[1] However, despite their common origins, Anglic and Frisian have become very divergent, largely due to the heavy Norse and French influences on English and similarly heavy Dutch and Low German influences on Frisian. The result is that Frisian has now far more in common with Dutch and the adjacent Low German dialects, bringing it into the West Germanic dialect continuum, whereas Anglic has essentially become a half-Germanic language isolate.

Anglo-Frisian developments

The following is a summary of the major sound changes affecting vowels in chronological order:[2]

  1. Backing and nasalization of West Germanic ā̆ 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 ā̆ǣ, even in the diphthongs ai and au;
  5. Palatalization (but not phonemicization of palatals);
  6. A-restoration: ǣā under to 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.

Comparison

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

Language12345678910
Englishonetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten
Scotsane
ae*
twathreefowerfivesaxseivenaichtnineten
Yolaoantwyedhreevourveevezeesezevenayghtneendhen
West Frisianientwatrijefjouwerfiifseissânachtnjoggentsien
Saterland Frisianaantwäi
twäin
twoo
träifjauwerfieuwsäkssoogenoachtenjugentjoon
North Frisian (Mooring dialect)iinj
ån
tou
tuu
trii
tra
fjouerfiiwseekssoowenoochtnüügentiin

Frisian/English vs. Dutch/German

FrisianEnglishDutchGerman
deidaydagTag
reinrainregenRegen
weiwaywegWeg
neilnailnagelNagel
tsiischeesekaasKäse
tsjerkechurchkerkKirche
tegearretogethersamenzusammen
sibbesiblingverwanteVerwandte
kaaikeysleutelSchlüssel
ha westhave beenben geweestbin gewesen
twa skieptwo sheeptwee schapenzwei Schafe
hawwehavehebbenhaben
úsusonsuns
hynderhorsepaardPferd
breabreadbroodBrot
hierhairhaarHaar
earearoorOhr
doardoordeurTür
griengreengroenGrün
swietsweetzoetsüβ
trochthroughdoordurch

Alternative grouping

See main article: Ingvaeonic languages. Ingvaeonic, also known as North Sea Germanic, is a postulated grouping of the West Germanic languages that comprises Old Frisian, Old English[4] and Old Saxon.[5]

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.[6]

The grouping was first proposed in Nordgermanen und Alemanen (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.[7]

References

  1. The German linguist Friedrich Maurer rejected Anglo-Frisian as a historical subdivision of the Germanic languages. Instead, he proposed North Sea Germanic or Ingvaeonic, a common ancestor of Old Frisian, Old English and Old Saxon.
  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. Grant, William; Dixon, James Main (1921) Manual of Modern Scots. Cambridge, University Press. p.105
  4. Also known as Anglo-Saxon.
  5. Some include West Flemish. Cf. Bremmer (2009:22).
  6. For a full discussion of the areal changes involved and their relative chronologies, see Voyles (1992).
  7. http://www.germanistik.uni-freiburg.de/auer/?Geschichte_des_Lehrstuhls Friedrich Maurer (Lehrstuhl für Germanische Philologie - Linguistik)