Old Frisian was a West Germanic language spoken between the 8th and 16th centuries in the area between the Rhine and Weser on the European North Sea coast. The Frisian settlers on the coast of South Jutland (today's Northern Friesland) also spoke Old Frisian, but there are no known medieval texts of this area. The language of the earlier inhabitants of the region between the Zuiderzee and Ems River (the Frisians mentioned by Tacitus) is attested in only a few personal names and place-names. Old Frisian evolved into Middle Frisian, spoken from the 16th to the 19th century.
|Region||Netherlands, Germany, Southern Denmark|
|Era||8th to 16th centuries|
In the early Middle Ages, Frisia stretched from the area around Bruges, in what is now Belgium, to the Weser River in northern Germany . At the time, the Frisian language was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast. This region is referred to as Greater Frisia or Magna Frisia, and many of the areas within it still treasure their Frisian heritage. However, by 1300, their territory had been pushed back to the Zuiderzee (now the IJsselmeer), and the Frisian language survives along the coast only as a substrate.
A close relationship exists between Old Frisian and Old English; this is due to a shared history, language and culture of the people from Northern Germany and Denmark who came to settle in England from around 400AD onwards.