There are several forms of Frisian, but the most widely spoken of these is West Frisian, or Frysk. It is a language spoken mostly in the province of Friesland (Fryslân) in the north of the Netherlands. West Frisian is the name by which this language is usually known outside of the Netherlands, to distinguish it from the closely related Frisian languages of Saterland Frisian and North Frisian, which are spoken in Germany. Within the Netherlands, however, (and often in other countries) the West Frisian language is the language of the province of Fryslân and is virtually always just called Frisian: Fries in Dutch, and Frysk in Frisian. The 'official' name used by linguists in the Netherlands to indicate the West Frisian language is Westerlauwers Fries (West Lauwers Frisian), the Lauwers being a border stream which separates the Dutch provinces of Fryslân and Groningen.
Most speakers of West Frisian live in the province of Fryslân (Friesland in Dutch) in the north of the Netherlands. The province has 643,000 inhabitants (2005); of these, 94% can understand spoken Frisian, 74% can speak Frisian, 65% can read Frisian, and 17% can write it. For over half of the inhabitants of the province of Fryslân, 55% (c. 354,000 people), Frisian is the native tongue.
To find out more about West Frisian, including the history, visit Wikipedia.
West Frisian is similar in both sound and grammar to Dutch, Afrikaans and some northern dialects of German. There are two grammatical genders, common and neuter, although they are nowadays very corroded and usually always the same in the plural.
It is the closest living language to English and shares mutual intelligibility with both Dutch and English, although Dutch and English only share, at most, a basic level of intelligibility with each other.
West Frisian vowels are similar to Dutch although there are a few substantial differences; for example, accented vowels like â are considered separate letters in West Frisian, not simply a variation of a. Also, there a few sound differences in consonants.
like 'a' in "scar" (but much shorter and sounds a little different) or "wall" (but shorter)
like 'o' in "more" or like 'a' in "wall"
like 'e' in "let" or like 'e' in unemphasised "the" at word end or like 'ay' as in "day" at vowel end
like 'e' in "bear"
like 'i' in "it" or like 'ee' in "deep" (but much shorter) at vowel end, when nasalised sounds a bit like 'an' in "change"
like 'o' in "hope" at vowel end or as in doll and a sound that sounds a little like 'o' in "hope" again, but is clearly different
like 'o' in "doll" but longer
like 'u' in "burn" or like 'e' as in "the"
like 'oo' as in "too"
like German 'ü' as in "München"
is the same as 'i' in Frisian and will be included with words starting with an 'i' in Frisian dictionaries. Can only sound like the short "deep-ee" variant.
The letters 'q' and 'x' do not appear in Frisian except for names; the same applies to the letter 'c' when not part of the combination "ch".
like 'b' in "bat" or like 'p' in "map" at word end
like 'd' in "day" or like 't' in "tap" at word end
like 'f' in "fire"
like 'g' in "green" or sometimes like Dutch G, dragged from the throat
like 'h' in "hot", silent when before j or w
like 'y' in "yes"
like 'k' in "kit"
like 'l' in "lock", silent between â and d or t
like 'm' in "moon"
like 'n' in "now" or like 'm' when before the letter p, nasalises preceding vowels when put before s, z, f, v, w, j, l, r and disappears. 'ins' will sound as one single, strange, vowel.
like 'p' in "pen"
usually silent at the end of the first word in a compound, at the end of a word which is not the last word in the sentence, otherwise usually a single rolled short r, sometimes like in English or French.
'r' is silent when before t, d, n, l, s, z
like 's' in "sit"
like 't' in "tie"
like 'f' in "fire"
like in German or Dutch (no English equivalent)
like 'z' in "zip"
like 'a' in "father"
like 'ey' in "hey"
like 'y' in "why" in Wood Frisian, or 'oi' in Clay Frisian and sometimes like 'ey' in "hey" in Wood Frisian