• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
Modification of AP

When an adjectival adverb modifies another adjective, the adjectival adverb is almost always used as an evaluative adjective.


When an adjectival adverb modifies another adjective, the adjectival adverb is almost always used as an evaluative adjective. Consider the following contrast:

Example 1

a. Pabe is swier
Pabe is heavy
Pabe is a heavy person
b. Pabe is swier siik
Pabe is heavily ill
Pabe is seriously ill

Apparently, the adjective's meaning consists of two parts, [HIGH DEGREE] and [WEIGHT]. In its adverbial function, the adjective has lost its literal meaning involving [WEIGHT], but it has retained its high degree meaning. As an adjective, swier heavy would be non-subjective, but in its adverbial use it became into an evaluative adjective, belonging to the same class as ferdomd damned and tige very. These all involve a high degree reading. Hence, if the idiomatic restrictions on the collocation allow it, evaluative adverbs can regularly replace one another without significant change of meaning. So, alongside swier siik seriously ill, we may also have the following:

Example 2

a. Pabe is tige siik
Pabe is very ill
Pabe is very ill
b. Pabe is ferdomd siik
Pabe is damned ill
Pabe is damned ill

The evaluative adverb often forms an idiomatic collocation with the adjective which it modifies. For example, the evaluative adverb glûpende sneakingly is mainly used in combination with the adjective kâld cold. Some more idiomatic combinations are given in the table below, where the adverbs have lost their literal meaning, merely causing a high degree reading on the adjective which they modify:

Table 1
stjerrende wier dyingly true absolutely true
stomme graach stupidly eager very eagerly, very much
rare smoarch weirdly dirty very dirty
glêd ferkeard slipperly wrong very wrong
From the list above it can be inferred that high degree adverbs end in schwa. In fact, some evaluative adjectives not ending in schwa may be marked with a schwa in case they are used as adverbs:

Example 3

a. Dat is ôfgryslik
that is terrible
That is terrible
b. Dat is ôfgryslik-e stom
that is terrible.EMPH stupid
That is terribly stupid

Most evaluative adverbs mark a high degree, but they can also mark a low degree. Consider the minimal pair below:

Example 4

a. Swier handikapt
Seriously handicapped
b. Licht handikapt
Lightly handicapped

In the examples above, the adverbs have lost their literal meaning. An adjective or adverb causing a high degree reading is also referred to as an amplifier, and one causing a low degree reading is also referred to as a downtoner or a downtoning intensifier. However, loss of literal meaning is not due to the conversion to adverb in these cases, since they can also be used as high degree adjectives without being adverbial:

Example 5

In lichte / swiere handikap
a light / heavy handicap
A light / serious handicap

Anyway, there are also cases where the adverb marks a high degree while retaining its literal meaning. Consider the following examples:

Example 6

a. It sop is lekker sâlt
the soup is tasty salt
The soup is nicely salty
b. De blom is moai giel
the flower is nice yellow
The flower has a nice yellow color