The First Ever Recording of Molkwerum Frisian

Written by Dyami Millarson

It is my honour to present to you the first recording of Molkwerum Frisian. In fact, this is the first recording of Molkwerum Frisian that has ever been made because when Molkwerum Frisian went extinct in the 19th century, no recordings had yet been made of the language. In addition, if you click on the record button below, you will be among the first to hear the sound of Molkwerum Frisian after it has been gone for more than one and a half centuries; you will be part of this historical moment where you can witness the return of the sound of Molkwerum Frisian!

The recording is available at the bottom of this article where you may also find the complete list of reconstructed Molkwerum Frisian words that are being read in the recording.

I could not have expected such a beautiful language to appear. I am surprised by the result as well. It sounds a bit like Hindeloopen Frisian.

The reconstruction of Molkwerum Frisian has been made possible by my studies of the Frisian languages of the Netherlands. I have learned to speak and write Clay Frisian (closely related to Wood Frisian), East Terschelling Frisian (closely related to West Terschelling Frisian), Schiermonnikoog Frisian and Hindeloopen Frisian. I believe my intensive studies have paid off; of course, I have not finished yet and my studies are still on-going. Studying the entire Frisian language family is a lifelong project and so I keep learning and thereby improving my knowledge!

Molkwerum Frisian has been gone for many generations; it was muted and now it has a voice again! I could really not be more excited about this, I have been working very hard to reconstruct the phonology of Molkwerum Frisian.

Whilst working on the phonology of Molkwerum Frisian, I felt like I was working on a proto-language, such as Proto-Indo-European. Indeed, Molkwerum Frisian has many peculiar or idiosyncratic sounds; sometimes I found it hard to believe it could exhibit such sounds, but the evidence persuaded me that it was definitely possible.

The reconstruction of Molkwerum Frisian is an on-going process, but progress is being made and I am truly delighted that I am now able to let you hear the sound of Molkwerum Frisian. I learned many new things myself from reconstructing Molkwerum Frisian as well; it helps me to take a closer look at the Frisian languages that I can already read, speak and write.

Hindeloopen Frisian, which is the sister language of Molkwerum Frisian, has helped with the reconstruction a great deal. For more information about the reconstruction, please read my previous article on deciphering the Molkwerum Frisian pronunciation and my blog publication of a tentative phonology of Molkwerum Frisian.

Operation X is dedicated to saving living languages that are endangered and bringing back languages that went extinct (long) before they could be saved.

Please follow along with the reconstructed vocabulary in the exact same order as what is being pronounced in the recording (I said some words multiple times to show the different aspects of their pronunciation):

  1. *waskje, to wash.
  2. *jarre, waste of livestock usually found at a farm: liquid manure, dung water
  3. *aaₑte, grandfather
  4. *aamegrandmother
  5. *ââld, old
  6. *fâân, woman
  7. *haaₑnd, hand
  8. *lâând, land
  9. *de, the
  10. *’e, the
  11. *ketting, necklace
  12. *het, what
  13. *flesk, fleshmeat
  14. *settel, kettle
  15. *rèèg, back
  16. *grèète, greatlarge
  17. *stèèwe, a long object: stave, rod, bar
  18. *sèè, a source of water, water well
  19. *sjeek, sick
  20. *leep, a kind of bird: lapwing
  21. **sees, cheese
  22. *jimme, you, 2nd pers. plur. informal
  23. *fisk, fish
  24. *lippe, lip
  25. *sjippe, soap
  26. *linnen, linnen
  27. *déé, deaddeath
  28. *kéémer, chamberroom
  29. *feer, father
  30. **meer, more
  31. *neel, nail
  32. *jie, you, 2nd pers. formal
  33. *wiend, wind
  34. *brienge, bring
  35. *ien, in
  36. *bie, byat
  37. *iis, ice
  38. *tiisdei, Tuesday
  39. *bòd, bed
  40. *sòrke, church
  41. *sòlm, self
  42. *enkòrm, each other
  43. *Mòlkòrrer, pertaining to Molkwerum
  44. *bòn, child
  45. *dòònsje, dance
  46. *tó, to, used with infinites
  47. *róst, ???
  48. *dóbber, float of a fishing rod
  49. *jók, yoke
  50. *góóld, gold
  51. *nóós, nose
  52. *hóólt, wood
  53. *böst, breast
  54. *doe, thou, 2nd pers. sing. informal
  55. *loes, louse
  56. *moes, mouse
  57. *foeke, ???
  58. *toenger, thunder
  59. *moer, wall
  60. *stút, tail
  61. *húúp, hip
  62. *wuute, to know
  63. *kruus, cross
  64. *huuspanne, rooftile
  65. *kuut, a part of the body: calf
  66. *saing, song
  67. *wienkbraauw, eyebrow
  68. *gaauw, soon
  69. *klaauwen, claws
  70. *fééₐr, father
  71. *bééₐs, a kind of fish: bass
  72. *wééije, to blow
  73. *weide, ???
  74. *reit, reed
  75. **leeuwe, to believe
  76. *miₐlt, an internal organ: milt, spleen
  77. *stieₑn, stone
  78. **mieₑne, to think
  79. *dòiter, daughter
  80. *tòit, thought, pret. tense
  81. **mòòi, beautiful
  82. *bòₐn, child
  83. **hòₐt, heart
  84. *hòₐdstéé, hearth
  85. *kòₐse, candle
  86. *gòₐs, grass
  87. *tòòₐst, thirst
  88. *mòòₑlken, milk
  89. *kóóₐts, fever
  90. *fóóₐne, a kind of fish
  91. *möie, midwife
  92. *flöite, flute
  93. *löiwaigen, scrubbing brush
  94. *tjoeₑne, to perform magic
  95. *oujette, to pour out
  96. *houkje, to clean the ditches, usually of a farm
  97. *boer, farmer
  98. *boerin, female farmer
  99. *bemmen, trees
  100. *blómmen, flowers
  101. *sechste, sixth
  102. *waachse, to waxgrow
  103. *den, then
  104. *dòònsje, to dance
  105. *nóósdoeₑk, handkerchief
  106. *fienger, finger
  107. *foegel, fowlbird
  108. *flamme, flame
  109. *walgje, to be disgusted
  110. *swééger, brother-in-law
  111. *brèège, bridge
  112. *foegel, fowlbird
  113. *éég, eye
  114. *hemd, shirt
  115. *hoenger, hunger
  116. *hââ, head
  117. *jarre, waste of livestock usually found at a farm: liquid manure, dung water
  118. *fiskje, to fish
  119. *waskje, to wash
  120. *klaiwer, clover
  121. *kessen, cushionpillow
  122. *koê, cow
  123. *kéél, calf
  124. *skóólder, shoulder
  125. *skiere, pair of scissors
  126. *kat, cat
  127. *léén, rewardwage
  128. *lééwer, liver
  129. *lekken, bed sheet
  130. *hóólt, wood
  131. *góóld, gold
  132. *ââld, old
  133. **wrââld, world
  134. *mem, mother
  135. *maikje, to make
  136. *nei, to, preposition
  137. *neel, nail
  138. *nekke, neck
  139. *tange, a kind of tool: forceps, a pair of tongs
  140. *joenge, boy
  141. **toenge, tongue
  142. *iengewand, internal organ of the body
  143. *bank, benchsofa
  144. *tienke, to think
  145. *drienke, to drink
  146. *spieₑ, to vomit
  147. *riene, to rain
  148. *slieₑpe, to sleep
  149. *strieₑ, straw
  150. *sjippe, soap
  151. *sjipsóp, soap suds
  152. *tòòₐst, thirst
  153. *toen, garden
  154. *tómme, thumb
  155. *trieₑ, thread
  156. *tjoeₑne, to perform magic
  157. *wònsdei, Wednesday
  158. *swelle, a kind of bird: swallow
  159. *wèèze, to be
  160. *deizenstók, a bar for stewing meat above the hearth

3 comments

  1. This is a treasure. It is lovely to see someone who cares so much about documenting the languages of his ancestors. I have seen this elsewhere in the world and it is beautiful there too.

    I think you are justified in calling this a proto-language, though it is not very far back on the family tree, since it is an extinct language.

    Some of these words sound very similar to English. Someone told me that had it not been for the Norman invasion, the English would have been speaking something that sounded very much like Frisian.

    Liked by 2 people

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