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Deletion of the final /r/ of verb particles

A particle verb is a construction in between a compound and a derivative. Most verb particles also occur as independent words. In isolation, the particle is the left-hand part of the construct. If the particle is stressed, however, it may occur separate from the verbal part, although only in main clauses. Due to this independent status, the particle must have a full vowel (which also enables it to bear stress). /r/-deletion in verb particles is the subject of this topic.


Particle verbs with an /r/-final particle and a consonant-initial verb are exemplified in (1):

Example 1

Examples of particle verbs with an /r/-final particle
a. With foar f{oə/wa}r
foar#bine to tie on, to put on
foar#drage to nominate
foar#komme to appear (in court)
foar#stean to support, to advocate
b. With gear /ɡɪər/
gear#bine to bind together, to tie together
gear#nimme to pack together
gear#smite to throw together
gear#wurkje to cooperate, to work together
c. With oer /uər/
oer#bliuwe be left, to remain
oer#drage to transfer; to delegate
oer#lade to transship
oer#sette to take across, to take over; to translate
oer#waaie to blow over; to drop in, to pop in
d. With wer /vɛr/
wer#bringe to bring back, to take back
wer#fine to find again
wer#jaan to reproduce; to give back
wer#sjen to meet again, to see again
e. With wjer /vjɛr/
wjer#keatse to reverberate, to (re-)echo
wjer#klinke to resound
wjer#lizze to refute
wjer#spegelje to reflect
wjer#stean to resist

Deletion of particle-final /r/ is optional here, no matter whether /r/ is preceded by a short vowel or a long vocalic sequence and irrespective of the quality of the following consonant.

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In case the verb is /r/-initial − as with gear#rane /ɡɪər+ra:nə/ [ɡɪəra:nə] to fuse together, to amalgamate and oer#rinne /uər+rɪnə/ [uərɪnə] to flow over, to overflow− one [r] remains. This is due to degemination.

The particles ending in /-ər/ deserve some comment. They are exemplified in (2):

Example 2

Examples of particle verbs with an /ər/-final particle
a. With efter /ɛftər/
efter#bliuwe to stay behind
efter#sitte to chase, to pursue
b. With ûnder /undər/
ûnder#bringe to accommodate
ûnder#freegje to interrogate
ûnder#skiede to distinguish
ûnder#tekenje to sign
ûnder#wize to teach, to instruct

These particles are generally realized with a syllabic /r/ ( [r̩]), which cannot delete (see the phonological behaviour of syllabic sonorant consonants).

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In case the particle is followed by an /r/-initial stem, as with efter#rinne /ɛftər#rɪnə/ be slow; lag behind and ûnder#rinne /undər#rɪnə/ be flooded, only one of the two underlying /r/ s reaches the surface: [ɛftərɪnə] and [undərɪnə]. This single [r] can only be ascribed to degemination. Double consonants are forbidden in Frisian. Segmentally speaking, a syllabic consonant is just a consonant. This means that the constraint against double consonants is violated by a sequence of a syllabic and a non-syllabic /r/, a sequence which would be the result of the syllabification of /r/ in ûnder and efter here: [ɛftər̩rɪnə] and [undər̩rɪnə]. Since a syllabic consonant cannot delete, syllabification produces an ill-formed and irreparable outcome. The inapplicability of syllabification in this context thus leaves room for degemination to tackle the double /r/ in /ɛftərrɪnə/ and /undərrɪnə/.