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Discontinuity of noun and quantifier or adjective

Noun and quantifier or adjective may occur in a discontinuous construction. The noun occurs in the first position of the matrix clause whereas the adjective or quantifier occurs after the tensed verb.


The noun can occur in a position preceding the adjective:

Example 1

Blommen hat se hiele moaie
flowers has she very beautiful
Of flowers, she has very beautiful ones

The noun can also occur in a position preceding quantifiers:

Example 2

Jild hied er moai wat oergarre
money had he nice something saved
Of money, he had saved quite an amount

In case the noun precedes a numeral, the preposition fan of is usually added to the numeral:

Example 3

a. Ik haw twa boeken
I have two books
I have two books
b. ?Boeken haw ik twa
books have I two
I have two books
c. Boeken haw ik twa fan
books have I two of
I have two books
d. *Ik haw twa fan boeken
I have two of books
I have two books

Quantifiers may have special forms in case they are used without a following noun. For example, the quantifier gjin no may show up as gjint none when it is unaccompanied by a noun:

Example 4

a. Ik haw gjin boeken
I have no books
I have no books
b. *Ik haw gjint boeken
I have none books
I have no books
c. Ik haw gjint
I have none
I have none

In the discontinuous construction, gjint none may also show up:

Example 5

Boeken haw ik gjint
books have I none
I have no books

So, this discontinuous construction behaves as if the two separated constituents are two independent Noun Phrases (NPs). The same point is made by the following data:

Example 6

a. CD's haw ik noch mar ien
CD's have I still only one
Of CD's, I have only one left
b. *Ik haw noch mar ien CD's
I have still only one CD's
I have only one CD left
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More details can be found in Hoekstra (1991). More details on noun ellipsis can be found in Dyk (2011).

  • Dyk, Siebren2011The morphology of Frisian nominal ellipsis
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1991Boeken haw ik gjintFriesch Dagblad19-10Taalsnipels 204