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9.1 Present participles

Internally, present participles have verbal properties, whereas they behave as adjectives externally with respect to agreement, if they can appear in a construction featuring agreement. There are lexical restrictions on the use of present participles in the four constructions in which APs may appear. On the whole, the use of present participles as adjectives is idiomatically restricted. Furthermore, attributive present participles tend to appear as single words, without accompanying arguments.


Some examples of present participles used as adjectives are given below. The following two examples feature participles used in supplementive predications:

Hie geen sliepstäitjend wäch.
he went dejected away
He went away dejected.
Ju ron stilswiegjend an mie foarbie.
she walked without.a.word to me past
She walked past me without a word.

The following example involves a present participles used in a complementive predication:

Ju boalt fuul, man hiere Suster is eer stilswiegjend.
she talks much but her sister is rather taciturn
She talks a lot, but her sister rather is taciturn.

The following examples feature an attributive construction:

Hie häd ‘n apbruuzjenden Kop.
he has a heated head
He is a hothead.
Tou paasjende Tied, tou uunpaasjende Tied.
to fitting time to unfitting time
At the right time, at the wrong time.

The following example illustrates a partitive example:

Wät apfalend-es.
something striking-PA
Something striking.

The one but last example shows that the present participle really has become an adjective, since it is bears the morphological negative prefix uun, which only attaches to adjectives. Other examples of present participles used as adjectives include: godfreezjend ‘God-fearing’, ferloangjend ‘longingly’, appaasjend ‘attentive, honest’, bääzjend ‘spirited’. The following example shows that the participle bears adjectival flection (and likewise in (4) above):

Dät is ‘n bääzjenden Käärdel.
that is a spiritied.MSC.SG fellow.MSC.SG
He is a spirited fellow.

Such present participles may be fully reanalysed as adjectives and lose their final –d. The following idiomatic collocation show that the meaning of the participle moardjende ‘killing’ shifted to being a high degree adjective:

Moardjende Oarbaid. ‘n Moardjende Hatte.
killing work a killing heat
Very heavy work. Extreme heat.

Note that the present participles are just single words, that is, they are not expanded into full-fledged VPs when occurring as adjectives. In fact, present participles are not a frequently used category in Saterland Frisian, nor are they in Dutch or West Frisian, quite unlike English where they are very frequent. Finally, present participles assign the same thematic role as the one which the corresponding verb assigns to its subject in a sentence in the active voice.

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