Heligoland Frisian
Native toGermany
Native speakers
c. 500 (2009)[1]
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3
North Frisian dialects

Heligolandic (Halunder) is the dialect of the North Frisian language spoken on the German island of Heligoland in the North Sea.[3] It is spoken today by some 500 of the island's 1,650 inhabitants and is also taught in schools.[1] Heligolandic is closely related to the insular North Frisian dialects of Fering and Öömrang because medieval fishery around Heligoland attracted Frisians from Föhr and Amrum, and close contacts have been maintained ever since. In fact Fering and Öömrang are closer in linguistic aspects to the dialect of Heligoland than to that of their neighbouring island Sylt, Söl'ring.[4] Heligolandic also contains a variety of loanwords from 19th-century Modern English due to the 83-year British control of the island.

James Krüss is probably the most notable author of poems and narrations in Heligolandic while Maria Leitgeber (1906–1979) wrote the most substantial prose.[5]

On 24 December 2004, a state law became effective in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein that recognises the North Frisian language for official use in the Nordfriesland district and on Heligoland.[6]


  1. ^ a b Repplinger, Roger (7 January 2009). "Halunder für Anfänger" [Halunder for Beginners]. Die Tageszeitung (in German). Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  2. ^ "h" (PDF). The Linguasphere Register. p. 175. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  3. ^ W. B. Lockwood, A Panorama of Indo-European Languages, London: Hutchison University Library, 1972, p. 107
  4. ^ Faltings, Jan I. (2011). Föhrer Grönlandfahrt im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (in German). Amrum: Verlag Jens Quedens. pp. 15–16. ISBN 978-3-924422-95-0.
  5. ^ Steensen, Thomas (1999). "Zwei Jahrhunderte nordfriesischer Literatur - ein kurzer Rück- und Ausblick". Zeitschrift für Kultur- und Bildungswissenschaften (in German) (8). University of Flensburg: 121–127.
  6. ^ "Gesetz zur Förderung des Friesischen im öffentlichen Raum". Wikisource (in German).

Further reading

See also