It would be difficult to find and English who could tell you the name of one of English’s closest living relatives that is still separate language. But English’s Dutch cousin is hidden away in the Netherlands.

Frisian is one of the closest living languages to English that is itself a separate language. There is not one unified Frisian language. Frisian is made of several different subgroups, West Frisian (the most widely spoken), North Frisian, and Sater Frisian. These three varieties of Frisian are composed of a number of dialects. The most widely spoken Frisian and the one that I will be focusing on is West Frisian.

West Frisian is spoken by just about 450,000 people. The language has around 80% lexical similarity with English. This percent is similar to that of Spanish and Portuguese.

Where is This Language Spoken?

(West) Frisian is spoken in a province in the north of the Netherlands called Friesland

Located here:


With this flag:


So hidden away in this small province is one of English’s closest living linguistic relatives

Sources/more info:

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