Station: [4] The Arrival of the Frisians

M: In the fourth and fifth centuries AD, Föhr became increasingly depopulated. During the Migration Period, the island’s former inhabitants left the area and migrated to England along with the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes.

F: Roughly 150 years later, traders sailing north along the coast discovered the islands. The Frisians, who were actually at home on the southern North Sea coast, between the Rhine and Weser estuaries, settled on Föhr, Amrum and Sylt. They brought their culture with them, as well as their own language: Frisian, a West Germanic language more closely related to English than to German.

M: Various dialects developed across the whole of North Frisia: Halunder on Heligoland, Sölring on Sylt, Öömrang on Amrum, Fering on Föhr, and Mooringer Frasch on the mainland – to name just a few.
Would you like to hear a snippet? This is what local Fering sounds like:

M: German listeners may even have recognized it. It was a passage from the famous comic poem "Max und Moritz" by the author Wilhelm Busch.

F: Fering, the Föhr dialect, is still spoken all over the island, but especially in the western part, known as Westerland Föhr. It’s taught in primary schools, and youngsters can take it as an exam subject at the island’s high school. They can even go on to study it at university in Flensburg and Kiel.

M: In the whole of North Frisia, only a few thousand people still speak Frisian as their first language. If you want to find out more: you’ll find wall panels and listening stations in German and Frisian in the next room.

Fotos: © Dr.-Carl-Häberlin-Friesen-Museum