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Introduction to Frisian

Learn to speak, write and understand the second official language of the Netherlands with this free introductory language course.

18,703 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Frisian

Introduction to Frisian

18,703 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Did you know that, besides Dutch, a second official language is spoken in the Netherlands? It’s a language even more closely related to English than Dutch. This language is called Frisian.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds [SPEAKING FRISIAN: tsiis, grien, swiet, kaai, ear] Although you probably never heard these Frisian words before, it is likely that you can guess what their meaning is, as it is similar to English. Welcome to the University of Groningen, one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. The University of Groningen has branches in Groningen but also in Leeuwarden, the capital of the neighbouring province of Friesland. My name is Nanna Hilton. I’m an Assistant Professor of sociolinguistics at the Department of Frisian Language and Culture at the University of Groningen. I would like to welcome you to this free, online introductory Frisian course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds Are you interested in minority languages or are you enthusiastic to learn the language that is considered the nearest cousin of English? Do you have Frisian roots? Or do you plan to visit the beautiful province of Friesland and would like to understand the local language? Frisian is the second official language of the Netherlands. It is spoken in the province of Friesland by around half a million people, but many more can understand it. All native speakers of Frisian speak Dutch as a second language. That makes Friesland a bilingual province. Most signs are bilingual. In most bookshops, there’s a corner with Frisian books. Throughout the province, you will find Frisian music, theatre, and film productions.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds And the local television and radio broadcasting is in Frisian. Frisian is also a required subject in both primary and secondary education. This free course enables you to learn Frisian up to a lower beginner’s level, meaning you should be able to understand some Frisian and use some elementary phrases and expressions.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds We hope we will soon be able to say, [SPEAKING FRISIAN: wolkom by de kursus], welcome to the course and that you will have a great time acquiring new language skills.


  • Week 1

    Introducing yourself

    • Getting started

      Learn how to use FutureLearn, meet your Frisian tutors and find out what's coming up in the course.

    • Introduction to Week 1

      We will describe what we are going to do in Week 1

    • Introduce yourself

      Talking about yourself in Frisian

    • Language focus: grammar explanation

      Pronouns and verbs

    • Counting

      Counting from 1 to 100 in Frisian

    • The alphabet

      Spelling in Frisian

    • Summary of Week 1

      What did you learn in Week 1?

    • Introducing Friesland

      Get introduced to the capital of Friesland: Leeuwarden

  • Week 2

    Talking about family, work and study

    • Introducing the topic: talking about family, work and study

      What are we going to do this week?

    • Say more about yourself

      Talking about family, work and study

    • Language focus: grammar explanation

      Articles, negation, plural and questions

    • The time

      Talking about the time in Frisian

    • Greeting someone

      Saying hello and goodbye in Frisian

    • Summary of Week 2

      What did you learn in Week 2?

    • Introducing Friesland

      Friesland: the weather and surroundings

  • Week 3

    Living in Friesland

    • Introducing the topic: living in Friesland

      What are we going to do this week?

    • Living in Friesland

      Talking about living and eating

    • Language focus: grammar explanation

      Adjectives, modal verbs and word order

    • Make a suggestion

      Make a suggestion in Frisian

    • Paying

      How to pay in the Netherlands

    • Summary of Week 3

      What did you learn in Week 3?

    • Introducing Friesland

      Living in Friesland

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply basic Frisian vocabulary and grammar in a range of everyday situations
  • Produce short written statements in Frisian about every day life
  • Discuss simple concepts, situations and needs in Frisian

Who is the course for?

Maybe you’re interested in minority languages. Or perhaps you’re keen to learn the language that is considered to be very close to English. Or it could be that you have Frisian roots or plan to visit the beautiful province of Friesland and would like to understand the local language.

This course is aimed at people with no prior knowledge of the Frisian language, who have a strong interest in learning languages. It will give you a taste of language skills that will help you to survive in a Frisian-speaking environment. The main focus will be on receptive skills like reading and listening. It will be taught in English.

Who will you learn with?

Hi! My name is Gerbrich and I live in Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland (the Netherlands). I studied Dutch language and culture and Frisian language and culture at the University of Groningen.

Chair of Frisian Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and director of studies of a BA on Minorities & Multilingualism and a MA on Multilingualism.

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

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Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 9 May 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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