• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents

The suffix -oan productively derives adjectives from other adjectives. It has the peculiar restriction that it only attaches to the comparative degree of the adjectival base. If the base already denotes an increase, then the derivation with -oan implies an extra increase. For example, in a sentence like it wurdt letteroan it gets later-SUFF, the suffix -oan means that 'getting later' will even taken more time.

The suffix -oan can also derive adverbs from other adverbs, denoting a continuation in time.

[+]General properties

The suffix -oan derives adjectives from other adjectives, denoting an intensification or continuation. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
tsjusterder darker tsjusterderoan still darker
grutter bigger grutteroan still bigger
slimmer worde slimmeroan still worse
neier closer neieroan still closer
drokker busier drokkeroan still busier

As is shown in these examples above, the base form of a derivation with -oan is the comparative degree of the adjective. The derivations therefore denote a further intensification or increase, i.e. a further continuation of what is already going on.

Because of the fact that derivations with -oan denote an increase, they can only occur in sentences with verbs expressing a change, like wurde to become or komme to come.

Example 1

It wurdt tsjusterderoan
it becomes darker-SUFF
It is getting still darker
Example 2

Hja kamen neieroan
they came closer-SUFF
They came closer and closer

Sentences with verbs like wêze to be, which express a state, are therefore impossible:

Example 3

*It is tsjusterderoan
it is darker.SUFF
It is getting still darker

The derivation in -oan can only be used predicatively:

Example 4

a. *It drukkeroan-e wurk
it busier-SUFF-INFL job
The job that is still getting busier
b. It wurk wurdt drokkeroan
the job becomes busier-SUFF
The job is getting still busier
[hide extra information]
oan- vs -oan

The suffix -oan has a comparable function as the particle oan- in combination with verbs that are derived from adjectives by way of conversion. Instead of it wurdt tsjusterderoan it is getting still darker, one can say it tsjusteret oan it is getting still darker. Other examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
it betteret oan it is still getting better oanbetterje still getting better
it boazet oan it is still getting worse oanboazje still getting worse
it swieret oan it is still getting heavier oanswierje still getting heavier
it ripet oan it is still getting riper oanrypje still getting riper

[+]Phonological properties

The suffix -oan is pronounced as [o.ən]. In -oan derivations the main stress can fall both on the stem of the adjectival base or on the suffix itself: GRUTteroan still getting larger vs grutterOAN still getting larger.

[hide extra information]

This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:163). More details about the -oan suffix can be found in Hoekstra (1989) and Tamminga (1963:185-187).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1989It wurdt tsjusterderoanFriesch Dagblad06-05Taalsnipels 105
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1963Op 'e taelhelling. Losse trochsneden fan Frysk taellibben. IBoalsertA.J. Osinga