Hindeloopen Frisian (natively called Hylpers, and Hylpersk in standard West Frisian; also sometimes called Hindeloopers in English, as it is in Dutch) is the archaic West Frisian dialect of the small port city of Hindeloopen on the west coast of the Dutch province of Friesland. It has preserved much Old Frisian pronunciation and vocabulary. It is still spoken by some 300 people, almost all of them elderly, and that number is decreasing.
Hindeloopen Frisian has been written since the 17th century. In 1981, the Frisian Academy published a dictionary of the dialect.
Due to its position on a peninsula, Hindeloopen was very isolated from the mainland until the 20th century and for centuries had more contact with the coastal cities in Holland on the other side of the South Sea. Because of this, Hindeloopen Frisian underwent greater influence from Hollandic speech than the other dialects of West Frisian. The location of Hindeloopen is, however, not a complete explanation for the dialect: until about 1800, Koudum had a dialect that was very similar to Hindeloopen.
Differences with Standard West Frisian
- In Hindeloopen Frisian, the l in the trigraphs âld and âlt is not silent, as it is in Standard West Frisian, and the vowel is longer.
- The Standard West Frisian tsj is reduced to tj or s; for example, tjian for the standard tsjin (against) and serke for the standard tsjerke (church).
- The digraph ae is still used instead of the modern aa.
- The standard ú is written uu.
- Non-standard letters used: ä, ö, è and ò.
There are also a few lexical differences, such as siie instead of naaie (to sew), tät instead of happe (a child’s word for “horse”) and öie instead of sipel (onion). The dialect’s vocabulary preserves many more words from Old Frisian that are no longer used elsewhere. The differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between Hindeloopen Frisian and Standard West Frisian are so big that mutual intelligibility is difficult. However, Hindeloopen Frisian has gradually become more like standard West Frisian due to increasing contact with speakers of other dialects.