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5.6 The vocative function

The vocative can be informally described as the use of a proper noun in the function of a second person pronoun for deictic reference. In other words, the proper noun is used to call the attention of the addressee. Noun Phrases (NPs) which are used in the vocative do not exhibit any special morphology in Saterland Frisian. Vocative NPs are characteristically proper nouns, presumably because they have a unique reference in the domain of discourse. Vocatives are outside the syntactic structure. They are usually found at the beginning of the sentence, or at the end, and sometimes in the middle. An example is given below:

Uli, wo skrift me Frikassee?
Uli how writes one ragout
Uli, how does one write Frikassee?

Some nouns denoting a profession of some social importance are easily used as proper nouns, and also as vocatives:

Heelmeester, hele die sälwen!
doctor heal you self
Doctor, heal yourself!

Other titles which can be generally used include: mon ‘man’, min Here ‘sir’, and so on. An example is given below:

Min Here, dät moast du sälwen wiete.
my sir that must you self know
Sir, you yourself must know this.

Nouns designating family relations are likewise used as vocatives:

Gung man sitte, Mäme, Margrit, du uk.
go but sit mother Margrit you also
Go and sit please, mother, Margrit, you also.

Similar nouns in this usage are: Babe ‘dad’, Bääsje ‘grandmother’, Bääsjebabe ‘grandfather’, Oom ‘uncle’, Möie ‘aunt’. Professional nouns and family nouns can easily be used as vocatives. Consider also the following example of a vocative:

Ljove Heer Meyer.
dear sir Meyer
Dear mr. Meyer.

The adjective presumably exhibits the default schwa characteristic of the attributive construction with a definite noun, which is not an agreement context. Remember that indefinite nouns without determiner are a context in which agreement applies. Alternatively, it could be seen as a vocative form.

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