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Overview of the Frisian clitics

This topic provides an overview of the Frisian clitics.

  1. Personal pronouns
    See Personal pronoun clitics.
  2. Articles
    Table 1
    Full form Clitic allomorph
    de /də/ the (common gender) d' /də/ ( [də])
    'e [ə]
    it [ət] the (neuter gender) 't /ət/ ( [ət])
    in [ən] a(n) 'n /ən/ ( [ən])
    Having schwa as their only vowel, all articles are inherent clitics. As to this, however, a further subdivision is called for:
    • since a word a) must not have schwa as its only vowel and b) must not begin with schwa, the forms it /ət/ and in /ən/ (and 't /ət/ ( [ət]) and 'n /ən/ ( [ən]) as well) are forced to find a host word, ideally on their left-hand side;
    • de /də/, it /ət/, and in /ən/, however, can occur in sentence-initial position; this also holds for their reduced variants d' /də/ ( [də]), 't /ət/ ( [ət]), and 'n /ən/ ( [ən]), though they sound a little unfamiliar there;
    • 'e /ə/ is not allowed to occur in sentence-initial position.
    That de /də/, it /ət/, and in /ən/ can occur in more positions than 'e /ə/ is likely to be ascribable to the fact that the former (also) contain a consonant, whereas the latter consists of no more than schwa (the minimal member of the vowel inventory, see Schwa). This is why 'e can be considered a purer clitic, viz. a phonologically speaking more dependent form, than de, it, and in.
  3. Function words beginning with /d/
    There is a small class of function words which begin with the voiced coronal plosive /d/ (henceforth: /d/-words). Some of these are also members of the clitic classes I and II above. The following is an overview of these words.
    1. Definite article
      Table 2
      de /də/ the
    2. Demonstrative pronouns
      Table 3
      dat /dɔt/ that
      dy /di/ that; those
      dit /dɪt/ this
      dizze /dɪzə/ this; these
    3. Relative pronouns
      Table 4
      dat /dɔt/ that, which; who, whom
      datsto /dɔt+st+do:/ that you; which you; whom you
      datste /dɔt+st+də/ that you; which you; whom you
      datst /dɔt+st/ that you; which you; whom you
      dy't /di+t/ that, which; who, whom
      dy'tsto /di+t+st+do:/ that you; which you; whom you
      dy'tste /di+t+st+də/ that you; which you; whom you
      dy'tst /di+t+st/ that you; which you; whom you
    4. Personal pronouns
      Table 5
      do /do:/ you (subject form, sg., familiar)
      /du/ you (subject form, sg., familiar)
      dy /di/ you (object form, sg., familiar)
      dij /dɛj/ you (object form, sg., familiar)
    5. Possessive pronouns
      Table 6
      dyn /din/ your
      dines /dinəs/ yours
      dinen /dinən/ yours
      dinent /dinənt/ yours
    6. Adverbs
      Table 7
      der /dər/ there (in existential constructions); as part of a pronominal adverb
      dêr /dɛ:r/ there; as part of a pronominal adverb
      dus /døs/ so therefore then
      dan /dɔn/ then (referring to the future)
      doe /du/ then (referring to the past)
      doch(s) /dɔx(s)/ nevertheless, still, yet, all the same

Usually, word-initial /d/ triggers regressive voice assimilation of a preceding (voiceless) obstruent (see Regressive Voice Assimilation: type 1 and Regressive Voice Assimuilation: type 2). This also holds of the /d/ of the /d/-words. However, if the latter are preceded by (a word ending in) a voiceless plosive, their initial /d/ may show up as voiceless or, put differently, it may undergo Progressive Voice Assimilation (see Progressive Voice Assimilation: function words beginning with /d/), examples of which are given below:

Table 8
a with de the Omdat de trein in oere fertraging hie because the train an hour delay had Because the train had a delay of an hour [omdɔtə] [*omdɔdə]
b with der there Ik begryp der wat langer wat minder fan I understand there what longer what less of I understand (it) less and less [bəɡriptər] [*bəɡribdər]
c with dat that Witst wol wat dat wurd betsjut? know.2SG all right what that word means Do you know what that word means? [vɔtɔt] [*vɔdɔt]
d with dy that; you (object form, SG, familiar) Ik wit net wat dy man besielet I know not what that man inspires I do not know what has come over that man [vɔti] [*vɔdi]
e with do/dû you (subject form, SG, familiar) Híést do/dû dat wier net sjoen? had you that really not seen Had you really not seen that? [hiəsto:/u] [*hiəzdo:/u]
f with dit/dizze this Hoe kómt dit no wer? how comes this now again How on earth díd this happen? [komtɪt] [*komdɪt]
Wat dócht dizze man hjir? what does this man here What is this man dóing here? [doxtɪzə] [*doɣdɪzə]
g with dêr there It bliek dêr net mear te wêzen it appeared there no more to be It turned out that it was no longer there [bliəktɛ:r] [bliəɡdɛ:r]
h with dus so therefore then Ik begryp dus dat ... I understand so, that .... So I understand that ... [bəɡriptøs] [bəɡribdøs]
i with dan then (referring to the future) Mar wát dan? but what then And then what? [vɔtɔn] [*?vɔdɔn]
j with doe then (referring to the past) Hy griep doe de macht he seized then the power The seized power then [ɡriəptu] [ɡriəbdu]
k with dochs nevertheless, still, yet, all the same Mar Jaap dochs foaral? but Jaap nevertheless in particular But Jaap in particular, right? [ja:ptɔxs] [ja:bdɔxs]
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See Progressive Voice Assimilation: function words beginning with /d/ for more examples and also for examples of the behaviour of the /d/ of /d/-words following a voiceless fricative.

Progressive Voice Assimilation being a word-internal phenomenon, the above realizations with a voiceless plosive are readily explained if it is assumed that the /d/-words cliticize onto the plosive-final host word to their left.