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Evidential verbs

The traditional copulas lykje seem, skine appear are evaluative verbs. They may also be referred to as evidential verbs.


The traditional copula lykje look like subcategorises for an Adposition Phrase (PP) which is predicated of its subject argument, as shown below.

a. Dat liket wol wat op gekoanstekken
that look.like DcP DcP P mockery
That comes close to mockery
b. It liket nearne nei
it look.like nothing.R to
It looks like nothing
c. Dat liket der mar op!
that look.like it.R DcP P
That seems to be splendid!

The traditional copula skine appear is normally followed by an infinitival clause. It can also be followed by a finite clause. Idioms like derút sjen look like combine with Adjective Phrase (AP) but not with PP predicates. Lykje seem and skine appear do not function as copulas to locative PPs or PPs denoting a property:

a. *De auto skynde yn 'e garaazje
the car appeared in the garage
The car appeared to be in the garage
b. *Romke like yn 'e sûs
Romke seemed in a swoon
Romke seemed drowsy

Evidential verbs based on verbs of perception do not combine with PP predicates, as shown below:

a. Sander sjocht der goed út
Sander sees it.R good out
Sander looks well
b. *Sander sjocht der yn oarder út
Sander sees it.R in order out
Sander looks okay
c. Dat heart net goed
that sounds not well
It does not sound well
d. *Dat heart net yn 'e es
that sounds not in the order
It does not sound okay

More details about evidential verbs can be found in Hoekstra (2009).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich2009Dat liket mar bêst! Evidinsjaliteit yn it FryskUs Wurk: tydskrift foar Frisistyk581-16
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