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Function words with and without final consonant

Some consonant-final function words have a variant without this final consonant. There is no general deletion process underlying the variants without final consonant, so they have become stems in their own right, for which several arguments are adduced.


Some consonant-final function words, an overview of which is provided in (1), have a variant without final consonant. The forms in the right-hand rows are not recognized in the official spelling.

Example 1

Function words with and without final consonant
a. With and without final /{x/ɣ}/
doch /dɔx/ nevertheless, yet ~ /dɔ/
noch /nɔx/ still ~ /nɔ/
genôch /gənɔ:x/ enough ~ genô /gənɔ:/
graach /ɡra:x/ with pleasure ~ graa /ɡra:/
troch /trox/ through ~ tro /tro/
b. With and without final /r/
dêr /dɛ:r/ there ~ /dɛ:/
foar /fwar/ for; in front of ~ foa /fwa/
hjir /jɪr/ here ~ hji /jɪ/
mar /mar/ but; only, just ~ ma /ma/
wer /vɛr/ again ~ /vɛ/
allegear /ɔlə(ɡ)jɛr/ all ~ allegea /ɔlə(ɡ)jɛ/
c. With or without /l/
wol /vol/ well ~ wo /vo/

There is no productive, general deletion process underlying the variants without final consonant; they have become stems in their own right, which is shown by the fact that they can occur in sentence-final position, as exemplified in (2) (as in (1), ò and è denote the short vowels /ɔ/ and /ɛ/):

Example 2

Examples of the function words without final consonant in sentence-final position
Hy die it dò! [dɔ] He did it all the same!
Ik rûk it nò [nɔ] I smell it still I can still smell it
Sa hawwe wy wol genô [ɡənɔ:] like this have we all right enough That's enough for us
Dy opmerking is der fier by tro [tro] that remark is there far by trough That remark is totally unacceptable
Wa ha wy dê? [dɛ:] who have we there Look who's there!
Dêr binne it bern foa [fwa] there are it children for Children will be children
Avensearje no ma! [ma] hurry up now just Hurry up, will you?
Dy tiid komt noait wè [vɛ] that time comes never again Those days are gone forever
Der is te min foar ús allegear [ɔlə(ɡ)jɛ] there is too little for us all There is not enough to go around
Dat mei wo [vo] that may all right That's all right, that's allowed

Also, vowel- and /h/-initial words, which normally make for a context in which consonant deletion does not occur, can be preceded by the variant without final consonant, see the examples in (3):

Example 3

Hy docht dò altyd [dɔ ɔltit] syn eigen sin he does all the same always his own liking All the same, he has his own way
Ik wie dò hast [dɔ hast] klear I was nevertheless almost ready I have nevertheless almost finished
Bern kinne foar heal [fwa hɪəl] jild children can for half money Children are allowed at half price

The shortened stems end in either a (non-close) short vowel − as do /dɔ/, /nɔ/, tro /tro/, foa /fwa/, hji /jɪ/, ma /ma/, /vɛ/, allegea /ɔlə(ɡ)jɛ/, and wo /vo/ − or the (half open) long monophthongs /a:/, /ɛ:/ and /ɔ:/ − as do graa /gra:/, genô /gənɔ:/ and /dɛ:/. Word-final short vowels are not that common and word-final /ɔ:/ and /ɛ:/ are not allowed in Frisian (see Word-final short vowels and Word-final vowels, respectively). This provides us with a strong indication of the, historically speaking, derived character of the great majority of these stems.

The relation between the function words with and without final consonant can be expressed as follows:

final consonant ~ zero relation

Figure 1

[click image to enlarge]