Help:IPA/West Frisian
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Help:IPA/West Frisian

The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents West Frisian language pronunciations in resource articles.

See West Frisian phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of West Frisian.

IPA Examples English approximation
b bak [bak], opdwaan ['obdva:n][1] bait
d dei [dai], net dwaan [n?d dva:n][1] duck
dz skodzje ['sk?dzj?] heads
f fet [f?t] feats
? gau [u],[2]ik bin [ b?n][1] goal
? ploege ['plu:],[2]sjoch ien [sjo? i?n][1] roughly like go, but without completely
blocking air flow on the g; Spanish amigo
h heal [hl][3] heal
j jong [jo?] yard
k kaam [ka:m] school
l lang [la?] land
l? leppel ['l?pl?][4] bottle
m man [m?n], ynbine ['imbin?][5] man
m? iepen ['i?pm?][4] rhythm
n né [nei] neck
n? tiden ['ti:dn?][4] suddenly
? wenje ['v] somewhat like canyon
? sang [sa?], ynkomme ['i?kom?][5] ring
rekken ['r?k][4] ring, but longer
p piip [pi:p], kob [kop][6] sport
r ryk [rik],[7]siede ['si?r?][8] trilled R; similar to water (American English)
r? eker ['eikr?][4]
s sinne ['s?n?] sock
t tin [t?n], jild [j?lt],[6]op dy [op ti][9] stop
ts tsiis [tsi:s] cats
v iver ['i:v?r],[10][11]of bûter [?v 'but?r],[1]
of út [?v yt][1]
? wyn [?in][10] between wine and vine
? ljocht [ljt],[11]Valkenburg ['falk?bør?][6] loch (Scottish English)
z ze ['l?:z?],[11]baas die [ba:z di],[1]
is yn [?z in][1]
' stêd ['st?:t] Primary stress, as in deer /'dr/
? stedshûs [?st?ts'hu:s] Secondary stress, as in commandeer
ynfalle ['?f?l?], jûns [j?:s] nasal vowel[12]
Dialectal sounds
IPA Examples English approximation
?: maat [m?:t][13] father
?: beast [b?:st][14] kid
ø: beuch [bø:?][15][16] roughly like herd
oe: töter ['toe:t?r][17]
oe skoalle ['skoel?][17] roughly like hurt
? [18]
? [18]
?i laitsje ['l?itsj?][19] choice
u:i [20] to eternity
IPA Examples English approximation
a pak [pak] art
a: faak [fa:k] father
? fet [f?t] bet
?: bêd [b?:t] bed
? de [d?][21] about
i dyk [dik] teach
i: tiid [ti:t][22] tea
? ik [?k] sit
? top [t?p] off
?: rôt [r?:t] dog
o op [op] force (RP and Australian)
ø nut [nøt][21] roughly like hurt
u hoep [hup] truth
u: skoech [sku:?][22][23] true
y slute ['slyt?] roughly like shoe, but shorter
y: drúf [dry:f][23] roughly like shoe
Diphthongs (falling)
ai laitsje ['laitsj?] RP right
a:i kaai [ka:i] tie
ei reek [reik][24] face
?i frij [fr?i]
i? bien [bi?n][22][25] RP near
read [rt][25]
iu ieu [iu] free will
o? boat [bo?t][25] Traditional RP cure
u? goed [?u?t][22][25]
oi muoie ['mwoi?] choice
o:i moai [mo:i] boy
ou rook [rouk][24] goat
?u goud [ut]
ø? gleon [?lø?n] roughly like herd
øy deun [døyn][16][24]
oey jui [joey] house (Scottish English)
ui ploeije ['plui?] to eternity
y? flues [fly?s][25] roughly like RP near
Diphthongs (rising)
j? hjerst [j?st][25] yes
j? fjild [fj?lt][25] roughly like yeast
mjuks [mjøks][25] roughly like Jurgen
wa toar [twar][25] Juan
wo spoen [spwon][25] water


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h The syllable-final (and also word-final) voiceless obstruents [p, t, k, f, s, ?] are voiced to [b, d, ?, v, z, ?] (note that [?] is velar when voiced) when the next syllable (including the next word) begins with a voiced stop and, in case of the fricatives [f, s, ?], also when the next word begins with a vowel (Tiersma (1999:24)).
  2. ^ a b [?] and [?] are allophones of a single phoneme /?/. The plosive [?] appears word-initially and syllable-initially (the latter only when stressed), whereas the fricative [?] occurs elsewhere (Hoekstra (2001:86), Sipma (1913:15, 17)).
  3. ^ In most dialects, /h/ is deleted before [j] and [w] (Tiersma (1999:22)).
  4. ^ a b c d e The syllabic nasals [m?, n?, ] are all phonemically /?n/, whereas the syllabic [l?, r?] are phonemically /?l, ?r/. To read about their exact distribution, see e.g. Sipma (1913:36). The only sonorants that cannot be syllabic are [?, j].
  5. ^ a b Apart from being the phonetic realization of the phonemes /m, ?/, [m, ?] occur as allophones of /n/ before, bilabial and velar consonants (Tiersma (1999:24)).
  6. ^ a b c Word-final /b, d/ are realized as voiceless [p, t] (van der Veen (2001:104)). Note, however, that final /b/ is rare (Tiersma (1999:21)), and that in loanwords from Standard Dutch, final /?/ can also appear, and is also devoiced and retracted to .
  7. ^ /r/ is silent before other alveolar consonants, i.e. /n, t, d, s, z, l/ (Tiersma (1999:28-29), Keil (2003:8)). An exception to this rule are recent loanwords from Standard Dutch (e.g. sport), which may or may not be pronounced with [r] (Tiersma (1999:29)).
  8. ^ Intervocalic ⟨d⟩, as well as the sequence ⟨rd⟩ are often rhotacized to /r/ (Tiersma (1999:21)).
  9. ^ In various pronouns and function words, the initial /d/ becomes voiceless [t] when a voiceless obstruent ends the preceding word (Tiersma (1999:24)).
  10. ^ a b Both [?] and [v] can be regarded as allophones of a single phoneme /v/, though [v] is the most common realization. The approximant [?] can appear word-initially, whereas the fricative [v] occurs elsewhere (Keil (2003:7)).
  11. ^ a b c Among fricatives, neither the voiced /z/ nor the voiceless /?/ can occur word-initially (Sipma (1913:16-17)).
  12. ^ When a sequence of any vowel and /n/ occurs before any continuant besides /h/ (that is, /f, v, ?, s, z, r, l, j/), it is realized as a nasalized vowel. When the following consonant is /s/, such a nasalized vowel is also lengthened (but only in stressed syllables (Hoekstra (2001:86))), so that e.g. jûns (phonemically /juns/) is pronounced [j?:s], whereas prins (phonemically /pr?ns/) is pronounced [pr?:s]. One exception to this lengthening rule is that when a short vowel precedes the sequence /nst/ in the second person singular verb form (as in wins? [vst]), it is kept short by most speakers (Tiersma (1999:13)). It is unclear whether the lengthened short monophthongs /?, ø/ (/o/ cannot be lengthened) are phonetically long monophthongs or diphthongs (as it is the case with the oral /e:, ø:/), hence the transcription [pr?:s] rather than [prs].
  13. ^ /?:/ has a phonemic status in the Aastersk dialect (van der Veen (2001:102)).
  14. ^ /?:/ has a phonemic status in the Hindeloopers dialect (van der Veen (2001:102)).
  15. ^ [ø:] is the Hindeloopers realization of /ø:/. In other dialects, /ø:/ is commonly slightly diphthongal [øy] (van der Veen (2001:102)).
  16. ^ a b Nearly all words with /ø:/ are loanwords from Standard Dutch (Visser (1997:17)).
  17. ^ a b The open-mid front rounded vowels /oe, oe:/ have a phonemic status in the Hindeloopers and Súdwesthoeksk dialects, but not in the standard language (Hoekstra (2001:83), van der Veen (2001:102)).
  18. ^ a b [?] and [?] are the southwestern realizations of, respectively, /wo/ and /wa/ (Hoekstra (2003:202), citing Hof (1933:14)).
  19. ^ [?i] is a dialectal realization of /ai/ (Booij (1989:319)).
  20. ^ In some dialects, /ui/ and /u:i/ are distinct phonemes. In the standard language, however, only /ui/ appears (Tiersma (1999:12)).
  21. ^ a b Phonetically, /?/ and /ø/ are quite similar, but the former appears only in unstressed syllables (Tiersma (1999:11)).
  22. ^ a b c d Some speakers merge the long vowels /i:, u:/ with the centering diphthongs /i?, u?/ (Visser (1997:24)).
  23. ^ a b The long close rounded vowels /u:, y:/ do not appear in the dialect of Leeuwarden (van der Veen (2001:102)).
  24. ^ a b c Even though they pattern with monophthongs, the long close-mid vowels /e:, ø:, o:/ are often realized as narrow closing diphthongs ((Visser (1997:22-23), Tiersma (1999:10-11))), and that is how we transcribe them here.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The falling diphthongs [i?, , o?, u?, y?] alternate with the rising diphthongs [j?, j?, wa, wo, jø] in the phenomenon called breaking. The [y?-jø] alternation occurs only in the word pair sluere-slurkje (Booij (1989:319)).


  • Booij, Geert (1989). "On the representation of diphthongs in Frisian". Journal of Linguistics. 25: 319-332. JSTOR 4176008.
  • Hoekstra, Eric (2003). "Frisian. Standardization in progress of a language in decay" (PDF). Germanic Standardizations. Past to Present. 18. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 193-209. ISBN 978-90-272-1856-8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  • Hoekstra, Jarich (2001). "12. Standard West Frisian". In Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans (eds.). Handbook of Frisian studies. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH. pp. 83-98. ISBN 3-484-73048-X. Retrieved 2017.
  • Hof, Jan Jelles (1933). Friesche Dialectgeographie (PDF) (in Dutch). The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 October 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  • Keil, Benjamin (2003). "Frisian phonology" (PDF). Los Angeles: UCLA Department of Linguistics. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  • Sipma, Pieter (1913). Phonology & grammar of modern West Frisian. London: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2017.
  • Tiersma, Peter Meijes (1999) [First published 1985 in Dordrecht by Foris Publications]. Frisian Reference Grammar (2nd ed.). Leeuwarden: Fryske Akademy. ISBN 90-6171-886-4.
  • van der Veen, Klaas F. (2001). "13. West Frisian Dialectology and Dialects". In Munske, Horst Haider; Århammar, Hans (eds.). Handbook of Frisian studies. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag GmbH. pp. 98-116. ISBN 3-484-73048-X. Retrieved 2017.
  • Visser, Willem (1997). The Syllable in Frisian (PDF) (PhD). Leiden: Holland Institute of Generative Linguistics. ISBN 90-5569-030-9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  • Vissner, Willem. "The labial fricatives". Taalportaal. European Language Resources Association (ELRA). Retrieved 2019.

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