What Is the Closest Language to English?

You have probably never heard of a language called Frisian. But of all the languages in the world, this tongue may be the closest language to English!

Frisian is spoken in the region of Friesland and in the Frisian Islands. Friesland is a province in the northern part of the Netherlands. The Frisian Islands are a string of islands along the North Sea coast. Some of the islands belong to the Netherlands, some to West Germany.

Frisian, a dialect of Dutch, belongs to a group of languages called Low Germap that also includes Dutch and English as it was spoken centuries ago. When the Anglo-Saxon peoples invaded England in the fifth century, they spoke a language very similar to the Frisian of the day. It’s also possible that Frisian-speaking people accompanied the Anglo-Saxons on their invasions of England.

In the centuries since those invasions, English and Frisian have diverged and suffered quite different fates. English is now spoken by some 350 million people, while Frisian has only about 300,000 speakers.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “What Is the Closest Language to English?”

  1. Hmmm…

    You committed the “sin” of claiming Frisian is a dialect… of Dutch, of all languages… Blasphemy!

    Don’t ever say such a thing out loud if you go to Frisia. ;)

    Frisian is an official language. Frisians (and Frisian) existed BC. The “Dutch” only came into existence in the 16th century…

    Tsk. Tsk.

    Get your facts straight… ;)

    Greetings from a proud Frisian.

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