The language closest to English

You may not have heard of Frisian, but it’s spoken by about 500,000 people. Once upon a time, an older form of the language was barely distinct from Old English. We take you to the Dutch province of Friesland to hear why people there care so deeply about their mother tongue. Texting, social media, music and theater are all giving Frisian a new lease of life.

Photo of Frisian teacher Anna Marije Bloem and students by Patrick Cox. Music in this episode by Blue Dot Sessions, Podington Bear, Lobo Loco and Frisian metal band Baldrs Draumar. Connect with the Frisian Academy here, Frisian-language theater company Tryater here and author Willem Schoorstra here. Read a transcript of this episode here.

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Episode 27