Frisian language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). It has a number of dialects and is spoken by more than 300,000 people, most of whom speak West Frisian and live in Friesland, a province of the Netherlands. North Frisian is spoken along the North Sea coast of Germany and on the Frisian Islands, and East Frisian is spoken farther inland in NW Germany. Speakers of various dialects are also found in the United States. Frisian is a subject of instruction in the schools of Friesland and also has a literature of its own. Of all foreign languages, it is most like English.
See K. Zondag, ed., Bilingual Education in Friesland (1982).
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