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Substance adjectives

Substance adjectives display variable agreement.


Some native substance adjectives in -en like houten wooden may show agreement, but they do not have to, as shown by the examples in (1-3). Others such as izeren iron hardly ever appear with agreement, as is confirmed by a count from the Frisian Language Corpus as given in the table below:

Example 1

a. Houten-e tsjillen
wooden.PL wheels
Wooden wheels
a.' Houten tsjillen
wooden wheels
Wooden wheels
Example 2

a. In gouden-e ring
a golden.CG ring
A golden ring
a.' In gouden ring
a golden ring
A golden ring
Example 3

a. *De izeren-e skou
the iron.CG boat
The iron boat
a.' De izeren skou
the iron boat
The iron boat

The table below shows significantly different behaviour for attributive agreement:

Table 1
Without agreement With agreement
houten wooden 1470 142
izeren iron 897 5
Plestiken plastic and rubberen rubber may occur with and without the -en suffix characteristic of native substance adjectives. They hardly ever exhibit agreement.

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More details can be found in Dykstra (1984) and Dyk (1996).

  • Dyk, Siebren1996From inflected material adjectives to the history of Schwa apocope in West Frisian: diverging influences on a sound changePetersen, Adeline & Nielsen, Hans Frede (eds.)A Frisian and Germanic Miscellany. Published in Honour of Nils Århammar on his sixty-fifth birthday, 7 August 1996OdenseOdense University Press, Odense55-67
  • Dykstra, Anne1984'In wollen tekken' en 'de graniten toanbank': Oer de bûging fan stoflike adjektiven op -enArhammer, N.R., Breuker, Ph.H., Dam, F., Dykstra, A & Steenmeijer-Wielenga, T. (eds.)Miscellanea Frisica. In nije bondel Fryske stúdzjesAssenVan Gorcum183-191