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4.5 Adjectival, nominal and nominalised partitive quantifiers

Quantifiers may be adjectival or nominal. Adjectival quantifiers are directly followed by a NP, as in the following example:

Wie häbe enige hoog- un platdüütske Woude in use Umegungsproake apnumen.
we have some high and low.german words in our vernacular up.taken
We adopted some High and Low Germand words in our everyday language.

Incidentally, the possessive pronoun is inflected, which is an interference from German. An adjectival quantifier can be nominalised, so as to be used without a following NP:

Enige kwede ...
some say
Some say ...

An adjectival quantifier can also be nominalised, with its NP complement appearing in a PP:

Enige fon do Woude.
some of the words
Some of the words.

Finally, the language also features quantifiers which are not adjectives, but based on nouns. They usually consist of the indefinite article followed by a noun of quantity. An example is given below:

Die Boas hät uus mäd ‘n poor Buutjene oufodderd
the manager has us with a pair sandwiches off.fed
The boss treated us badly with just a couple of sandwiches.

Like adjectival quantifiers, they may directly be followed by a NP, or by a PP, or they may occur by themselves. See also: 2. Nouns of low quantity in 4.2. The partitive construction of abstract quantity.


A nominalised quantifier may head a partitive PP construction, as in the following example:

Wäkke fon do Tälstere sunt nit bloot in Seelterlound bekaand?
which.PL of the tales are not merely in Saterland known
Which of the tales are not merely known in Saterland?

Quantifiers can be adjectival, like wäkke ‘which, some’. At the beginning of the clause, it is (mostly) interpreted as an interrogative, whereas it is interpreted as an existential quantifier in the middle of the clause:

Iek häbe neen Butere moor; koast du wäkke foar mie koopje?
I have no butter.FEM more can you some.FEM for me buy
I'm out of butter; can you buy some for me?

In this respect, it patterns with wät ‘what’, which is also interpreted as an interrogative at the beginning of the clause, but as an existential quantifier meaning ‘somewhat’ in the middle field of the clause. In the example above, wäkke functions as a pronoun referring to a mass noun. The question arises whether wät would also have been possible in that sentence, and what is the difference between wäkke and wät. Of course, wäkke is adjectival and wät nominal, but this difference evaporised in case wäkke is nominalised, as it is in the example above. A more basic difference could be that the form wät is immutable, whereas wäkke shows gender agreement with its antecedent.

Table 1
wäkker wäkke wäkker wäkke

It is remarkable that the -r is used an inflectional ending in Saterland Frisian, seeing that this is found in neither Dutch nor West Frisian, though the -r is of course used as an inflectional ending in German, but also in Old Frisian. The paradigm of wäkke just has two forms. MSC SG and NTR SG share the same form, as do the FEM SG and the FEM PL. As noted elsewhere, the paradigm of wäkke ‘which, some’ has recently been changing, but it is unclear in what way, see also: The AP in Saterland Frisian, 5.1. Agreement of APs with a following Noun and a preceding determiner.

Wäkke ‘which’ is an adjectival quantifier. It may even combine mei suk ‘such’ to derive a morphologically complex quantifier:

Dät sunt flugge Hannen; min Babe häd ook sukwäkke heeuwed.
that are beautiful chickens my dad has also such had
They are beautiful chickens; my father also had some of the same kind.

Other adjectival quantifiers include oankelde ‘a few’, morere ‘several’.

Oankelde Apele sunt fuul.
Some apples are rotten
Some apples are rotten.
Die Boare friet dän ärme Knächt aankelde fon do Iemen ap.
the bear ate the poor help some of the bees up
The bear ate some of the bees of the poor farm help.

The last example involves a nominalised adjectival quantifier in a PP partitive construction. Saterland Frisian seems to have a tendency to use nominal and nominalised quantifiers. German, for example, has an existential count quantifier like einzige ‘some’. Saterland Frisian admittedly has enige ‘some’, but it more naturally employs a nominal quantifier:

‘n Stuk of wät.
a piece or some
Deer mouten wie ‘n Stuk of wät Käärdele foar häbe.
that.R must we a piece or some men for have
We must have some men for it.

This complex quantifier can also be made more specific by removing wät ‘some’ and inserting a numeral instead, as in the following:

‘n Stuk of tjoon Bäiste.
a piece or ten animals
Around ten animals.

As is clear from the numerals, this complex quantifier is restricted to count nouns, seeing that numerals are incompatible with mass nouns. Another nominal quantifier is n Poor ‘a pair > some’, which was discussed above: see 2. Nouns of low quantity in 4.2. The partitive construction of abstract quantity. Basically we are approaching that same construction again, though from a different angle.

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