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Aspectual verbs of being

Aspectual verbs of being include: wêze to be, bliuwe to stay. They are traditionally referred to as copulas. These also includes verbs of body position such as sitte to sit, lizze to lie, stean to stand and hingje to hang. They may combine with Prepositional phrases, postpositional phrases and intransitive Adposition Phrases (PPs).


The intransitive verb may be an aspectual verb such as wêze to be or a verb of body position. These verbs easily combine with prepositional phrases:

a. De fyts is yn 'e skuorre
the bicycle is in the barn
The bicycle is in the barn
b. De fyts stiet yn 'e skuorre
the bicycle stands in the barn
The bicycle is in the barn
c. Romke bleau lang yn 'e sûs
Romke stayed long in the swoon
Romke remained drowsy for a long time

The PP may impose collocational restrictions on the selected aspectual verb. The verb wêze to be may combine with postpositional phrases to denote an absentive interpretation:

a. Jouke is nei Medemblik ta
Jouke is to Medemblik to
Jouke has gone away to Medemblik
b. De bern binne dy kant út
the children are that way out
The children have gone that way

Other verbs of being cannot be so used, as shown below:

a. *Jouke stiet nei Medemblik ta
Jouke stand to Medemblik to
Lit. Jouke has gone away standing to Medemblik
b. *Jouke bliuwt nei Medemblik ta
Jouke stays to Medemblik to
Lit. Jouke stays away to Medemblik

Modal verbs can be used with an absentive interpretation. The absentive interpretation is also present with to-infinitives with a personal subject and a copula, as shown below (see also Selecting a to-infinitive (wêze be as a copula of absence)):

a. Jouke is te fytsen
Jouke is to cycle
Jouke has gone away cycling
b. *It fleantúch is te fleanen
the plane is to fly
Lit. The plane has gone away flying

The absentive interpretation can be made explicit by the intransitive adposition fuort away, as shown in the following sentences:

a. Jouke is al fuort
Jouke is already away
Jouke has gone already
b. Dy kin fuort
that can away
That one can be thrown away

Spatial prepositions characteristically combine with verbs of body position:

a. De auto stiet yn 'e garaazje
the car stands in the garage
The car is in the garage
b. It skroefke sit op syn plak
the screw sits on his place
The screw is in its proper position
c. Romke lei yn 'e sûs
Romke lay in the swoon
Romke was dozing

Such verbs rarely function as copulas to adjectives.

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