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The negative article without a following NP (noun ellipsis)

The negative article may be used without a following noun, that is, in ellipsis. In ellipsis, the negative article may appear in a form that is exclusively reserved for ellipsis, although this is not obligatory. Alongside gjin no, the following forms are found in ellipsis:

Example 1

gjin: gjint, gjinnen, gjinnent, gjinten, gjinien

It is remarkable in itself that so many alternatives exist for certain quantifiers which are independently used, that is, without a following Noun Phrase (NP)-internal element. Independently used adjectives, in contrast, may exhibit only the endings -en and -enien , alongside the form that is used for attributive agreement:

Example 2

griene: grienen, grienenien
green one
griene: *grient, *grienent, *grienten, *grienien

Conversely, although adjectives allow for the form -enien , the negative article does not: *gjinnenien none. Furthermore, the form gjinien none is, ambiguous between an elliptic interpretation and an independent lexical interpretation as a quantifier with the meaning nobody. Finally, it must be noted that of all these forms marking noun ellipsis, only one may be used as an article before a following noun: gjinien. This article may only be used before singular nouns, indicating that ien one still retains its singular number in this compound:

Example 3

a. Gjinien dielnimmer hie in hoed op
no participant had a hat on
No participant wore a hat
b. *Ik ha gjinien dielnimmers sjoen
I have no participant seen
I did not see any participants

The negative article cannot be used as a floating quantifier, regardless of the form that is used:

Example 4

*Ik ha se gjint sjoen
I have them none seen
I did not see any of them

The negative article in ellipsis can also be used as predicate, although the form net ien not one is preferred:

Example 5

a. Dat is gjint
that is none
That is not one
b. Dat is net ien
that is not one
That is not one
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More about gjin none can be read in Dyk (2011).

  • Dyk, Siebren2011The morphology of Frisian nominal ellipsis