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There are two prefixes yn-, which, apart from spelling and pronunciation [in] and taking an adjectival base, have nothing in common.

The one prefix yn- is related to the native preposition yn in. It has an intensifying function.. Examples are blank white > ynblank very white and bliid happy > ynbliid intensely happy.

The other prefix yn- has a from Latin or French origin. Its function is negative. It can be added to non-native adjectival bases to form adjectives which refer to the opposite of the base form. Examples are adekwaat sufficient > ynadekwaat insufficient and tolerant tolerant > yntolerant intolerant.

[+]Intensifying function

The native intensifying prefix yn- derives adjectives on the basis of another adjective. It is related to the native preposition yn in. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
djip deep yndjip very deep
Frysk frisian ynfrysk typical frisian
from pious ynfrom profoundly pious
goed good yngoed excellent
gol generous yngol very generous
grien green yngrien completely green
kâld cold ynkâld extremely cold
leaf sweet ynleaf very sweet
sêd satisfied ynsêd completely satisfied
slûch sleepy ynslûch extremely sleepy
sûn healthy ynsûn very healthy
swiet sweet ynswiet very sweet
wurch tired ynwurch very tired
wyt white ynwyt completely white

Derivations with the prefix yn- /in-/ receive a strong primary stress on the prefix: YNdjip, YNswiet, YNwyt. The final /n/ of the prefix is subject to sandhi-phenomena as assimilation and nasalization.

As is the case with other intensifying prefixes, the effect of intensification can be reinforced by reduplication. In order to achieve this, both instances of yn- have to be concatenated by the conjunction en and, for example in yn-en-yn-wyt extremely white, although most often the historical form ende is preferred. We then get formations like yn-ende-yn-wyt extremely white, yn-ende-yn-leaf extremely sweet, etc.

[+]Negative function

The second prefix yn- is non-native, descending from Latin or French in-. It can only be added to non-native adjectival base forms. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
adekwaat adequate ynadekwaat inadequate
tolerant tolerant yntolerant intolerant
kapabel capable ynkapabel incompetent
produktyf productive ymproduktyf unproductive
mobyl mobile ymmobyl immobile
legaal legal yllegaal illegal
relevant relevant yrrelevant irrelevant
The prefix has a few allomorphs. Before labials this is ym-, as is ymproduktyf and ymmobyl. We see the allomorph yl- before /l/, as in yllegaal. The allomorph before /r/ is yr-, for example in yrrelevant.

To a certain extent, the negative prefix yn - is in competition with the native negative prefix ûn-, which can attach to native and non-native base forms as well. The prefixed forms with yn- are often loaned in their entirety; see also what has been remarked with respect to negative a-.

The stress pattern of the negative prefix is completely different from intensifying yn-. Here, after adding the prefix the stress remains on the base form, for example yntoleRANT, ynkaPAbel, ymmoBYL and yrreleVANT.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:72) for intensifying yn-, and on Hoekstra (1998:78) with respect to the negative derivations.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy