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5.8 Geographical names

Geographical names are names of cities, rivers, villages, fields and woods, and so on. Geographical names referring to the area where a local minority language is spoken may exhibit different morphology from geographical names referring to the area where the language is not spoken. The local names are native words exhibiting native, older, morphology. The geographical names referring to the outside world are usually loan words with their own morphology. This is roughly the situation with the geographical names of West Frisian. Regions where Frisian used to be spoken, may still betray a lot of Frisian substrate in their geographical names, even if the language itself is not spoken there anymore. Examples of such regions include Ostfriesland, the province of Groningen and the province of Noord-Holland.


Saterland used to be a sand island surrounded by inaccessible moors. This could have made it possible for the language to develop and retain some geographical names with features not found elsewhere. On the other hand, East Frisian was spoken in the surrounding area as well, although this was one or more centuries ago. So it would seem worthwhile to study Sater Frisian geographical names and compare them to the geographical names of the surrounding area.

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