East Frisians (German: Ostfriesen) are, in the wider sense, the inhabitants of East Frisia in the northwest of the German state of Lower Saxony. In the narrower sense the East Frisians are the eastern branch of the Frisians, a Germanic people and belong, together with the Danes, Sorbs, Sinti and Romanies to the recognised minorities in Germany. They are closely related to the Saterland Frisians, who come from East Frisia and moved from the coastal region to the interior. The East Frisians are also related to the North Frisians and the Westlauwers Frisians.
Sometimes all Frisians from the eastern Frisian regions (East Frisians, Saterland Frisians, Oldenburg Frisians, Rüstringen Frisians, Wurtfrisians) are referred to as East Frisians, because all these Frisians form the eastern branch of the Frisians.
It is likely that the majority of East Frisia is still inhabited by East Frisians. Exact figures are not available because affiliation to an ethnic group is a free choice and censuses do not ask about ethnicity. In the eastern Frisian regions, in contrast to North and West Frisia, the Frisian language was replaced by Low Saxon dialects very early. But the East Frisians kept their Frisian identity while the people in Groningen lost it with their Frisian language. The local dialect is now East Frisian Low Saxon. Though not a Frisian language by linguistic classification, the language is a Friso-Saxon dialect of the Low Saxon language which they call "East Frisian" ("Oostfreesk"), and has major influences in vocabulary and grammar from the original East Frisian language.
In the Frisian Council they are included in the East section.
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