According to Henk Wolf, out of approximately 14,000 Frisian satyrs, about two thousand speak this language. Along with a few fanatical Frisian satyrs, Henk tries to prevent the language from extinct. In Sutherland itself, Henk Wolf has an official title as language guardian: Wietenskuppelk Beapraagde. Unique career: “I have a job that no one else has, that no one has ever had before, and I hope someone else will have it after me, but so far I’m the only one.”
Saterland Frisian is similar to Frisian, but different. It comes from Old Frisian, the Frisian that was spoken in the Middle Ages. Through migration, the Frisians brought this language to this region of Germany. And in fact, to a larger area, because people also speak Frisian in Groningen and other parts of northern Germany. The language had disappeared in these areas, but the villages in Sutherland were very remote. It was a swamp and peat area and these villages were located on hills. Contact with the outside world was minimal. The people living in this area have always spoken this ancient language, even to this day. A somewhat unique case.
Sometimes Henk is faced with the dilemma that there is not yet a word for some “new” words in the Frisian-Sutterland language. New and appropriate words are then created by a special committee. Many of the words they have come up with now are based on German and Frisian, such as “Meenteboas” (mayor) or “Stikketaaske” (etui).
Interest in the Saterland Frisian is international. Scientists even visit Sutterland from Japan. In Japan, research on languages descended from English has been conducted for years. Frisian is one of those languages. But since Frisian has gone through many changes over the centuries, the Sutterland Frisian is more interesting. This language has not changed much over the centuries since the year 800.
Enthusiasts and amateurs can also take the Satyr Frisian course online. And who knows, maybe soon Satterfrisian will no longer be the smallest language in Europe.
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