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Preposition + neuter nominal adjective + two postpositions

The prepositions by at and op on may combine with an adjective that has been converted to a neuter noun, as in the following example:

Example 1

By / op 't suterige omt ôf
at on the shabby POST POST
Almost shabby

The nominalised adjective is followed by two postpositions.


The prepositions by at and op on may combine with an adjective that has been converted to a neuter noun. The nominal adjective is followed by the two postpositions om around and ôf down. The postposition om around may also appear as omt around. In no other construction may om appear as omt.

Adposition Phrases (PPs) never occur in attributive position, that is, before the noun. The adjectival PP is correspondingly found in predicative, supplementary and appositive constructions, but not in attributive constructions. The construction seems to have a subtle semantic and pragmatic effect on the meaning of the nominal adjective, as if it leaves room for politeness, for a downtoning interpretation which may subsequently be pragmatically cancelled. In the following example, the PP is used in a supplementary capacity, rather than adverbially:

Example 2

"Wat wolsto?"  freget se suver by it eangstige omt ôf
what want.2SG asks she almost at the scared POST POST
'What do you want?', she asked, almost afraid

In the following example, the PP is used predicatively:

Example 3

Har eigen advertinsje wie mar by 't suterige omt ôf
their own advertisement was just at the shabby POST POST
Their own advertisement was almost shabby

In the following example, the PP is used as an apposition to a predicative construction:

Example 4

Yn 't foarjier is it dan o sa ljocht fan kleur, op it giele omt ôf
in the spring is it then o so light of colour on the yellow POST POST
In the spring the colour is so light, almost yellow

It seems that the first postposition om / omt around can be left out in all these examples without any change of meaning.

The construction also features nominalised verbs. The use of krije get in the first example is idiomatic, since its meaning is narrowed down to violent physical contact:

Example 5

a. Hoewol it by 't krijen om't ôf wie, bleauwen hja my dochs fan de lea
although it at the getting POST POST was stayed they me yet of the body
Although they almost got violent, they nevertheless did not touch me
b. Hy hie syn heit swier tamtearre, op it deaskoppen omt ôf
he had his dad heavily maltreated on the dead.kicking POST POST
He had heavily maltreated his dad, almost kicked him to death

The construction also features idiomatic nouns:

Example 6

It bruts him by de hannen omt ôf
it broke him at the hands POST POST
He did not accomplish anything
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More details can be found in Hoekstra (2004).

  • Hoekstra, Eric2004By de hânnen om't ôfFriesch Dagblad06-03Taalgenoat en taalgeniet 47