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Frequency adverbs

Frequency adverbs provide information about the frequency of occurrence of events. It can be difficult to distinguish frequency adverbs from time adverbs.


Frequency adverbs include: jierliks yearly and deistich daily. However, frequency adverbs are usually Noun Phrases (NPs) rather than Adjective Phrases (APs), such as below. This type of frequency expression is built on the quantifier alle all, not the quantifier elts, elk each:

a. Alle jierren
All years > yearly
b. Alle dagen
All days > daily

Other frequency adverbs involve the following trinity from Aristotle's square of opposition, of which the fourth member ( not always) is never expressed by one lexical item ( always), contrary to the other three:

Table 1
altyd, altiten alway
ea, oait ever
nea, noait never
The pair ea ever, nea never was common in Early Modern Frisian, but it was rather suddenly replaced by the Dutch loans oait ever, noait never around 1700. Together with the lexical change, also certain peculiar usages of ea ever, nea never, which may be roughly characterized as free choice usages, went out of use. After ea ever and nea never had been dead (unused) throughout the eighteenth century, they were revived again by the Frisian Movement. Nowadays, they are mainly restricted to written language, though they may also be heard in the spoken language of speakers who have been schooled in Frisian. In Old Frisian, aa, later ea was used to render the meaning always; even in Early Modern Frisian, such a use of ea has been attested.

Other frequency adverbs include the following:

Table 2
hieltyd, hieltiten continually
fakentiids, faak often
soms, somtiden sometimes
almeast, meastal mostly
gauris regularly
komselden, selden rarely
ienris once
All frequency adverbs can occur either in initial position or in the middle field.

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