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Nouns and Noun Phrases in Frisian

The Noun Phrase or NP is a structure built around a noun. Most nouns are words which denote persons and things, abstract or concrete. So the noun man denotes a person. The internal structure of the NP may involve NPs, Adjective Phrases (APs), Adposition Phrases (PPs) and clauses.

Nouns can have arguments (see complementation of Noun Phrases). Arguments to nouns are bracketed in the two examples below.

Example 1

a. It besteklik praat [oer syn fak]
the sensible talk about his profession
The sensible talk about his profession
b. In fersyk [om de mûne te slopen]
a request for the mill to demolish
A request to demolish the mill

NPs can be modified by PPs for example and by relative clauses (see Modification of Noun Phrases). In the examples below, the modifier has been bracketed:

Example 2

a. In famke [mei read hier]
a girl with red hair
A girl with red hair
b. It famke [dat se seagen]
the girl.NG.SG REL.NG.SG they saw
The girl that they saw

The partitive construction is sometimes referred to as a binominal construction. Partitive constructions involve a special type of modification syntactically involving two nouns, of which the first noun provides a measure of quantification for the second noun (see Partitive noun constructions and constructions related to them):

Example 3

a. In doaze mei flikken
a box with chocolate.drops
A box of chocolate drops
b. In protte fan 'e jongfeinten
a lot of the young.men
A lot of the young men
c. Wat foar boeken?
what for books
What kind of books?

Articles like de the, in a and gjin no and names like John are involved in the basic types of quantified NPs (see Articles and names).

Various types of pronouns may be distinguished (see Pronouns), including personal pronouns such as ik I, reflexive pronouns such as mysels myself.

Various quantifiers can be distinguished (see Quantifiers, determiners and predeterminers), such as the universal quantifier alle all, the existential quantifier guon some and the negative quantifier gjin no.

Interrogative pronouns such as wa who are used to form questions (see Interrogative pronouns).

R-pronouns, such as dêr in dêryn in that, form a morphologically and syntactically defined class of impersonal pronouns that is specific to Dutch and Frisian (see R-pronouns and indefinite expletive der).

NPs may bear several types of syntactic functions (see Syntactic uses of Noun Phrases). For example, the bracketed noun in the example below bears the syntactic function of possessor:

Example 4

Hja rekket [de snieman] syn piip
she hits the snow man his pipe
She hits the snow man's pipe