West Germanic language most closely related to English. Formerly spoken from the province of North Holland in the Netherlands to the province of Schleswig in northern Germany, Frisian is now spoken only in three small areas, each with its own dialect. West Frisian is spoken in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands, East Frisian in the Saterland west of Oldenburg, Ger., and North Frisian along the western coast of Schleswig on the Frisian Islands. Written records in Old Frisian date from the end of the 13th century. From the late 16th century to the late 19th century, written Frisian was seldom used. In modern times there has been a revival of West Frisian, and it is considered an official language by the Dutch government.
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