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Intensifying adverbs may receive an additional suffix -e when they modify adjectives or other adverbs, as in wakkere moai very beautiful or stjerrende djoer very expensive. The function of the ending is a further strengthening of the intensification. This emphatic marker is subject to a syntactic restriction: it only occurs if the phrase it belongs to is used predicatively. Some adverbs may indeed show an ending -e in attributive phrases, as in in hiele grutte man a very big man, but in such cases one is more likely dealing with adjectival inflection, due to reinterpretation of the adverb as an adjective.

The deictic adverbs hjir here, dêr there and interrogative wêr where may also show the emphatic ending -e.

Frisian also has emphatic markers in the field of adjectives.

[+]Emphatic marking of intensifying adverbs

Adverbs modifying an adjective or other adverb may receive an ending -e, pronounced as the schwa ( /ə/. Some examples are provided in (1):

Example 1

wakkere moai very beautiful
danige lestich very tricky
bare skoan very nice
duvelse raar very strange
bedroefde ûndogens very naughty

An adverb like tige /ti:ɣə/ very, which shows a final schwa of itself, understandibly does not receive an extra schwa.

We find the ending only with intensifying adverbs, and not with descriptive adverbs. For example in glimmend(*e) swart shiny black it is not admitted. Adverbially used present participles are particularly suitable in this position:

Example 2

skitende benaud shitting-EMP afraid very afraid
smoarende drok suffocating-EMP busy very busy
skriemende djoer crying-EMP expensive very expensive
springende lilk springing-EMP angry very angry

It is very difficult if not impossible to distinguish semantic differences between the modifying adverbs (which is the reason that they all have been translated here with very). One the other hand, one often sees fixed combinations of adverb and modified adjective. For example, the common expression is smoarende drok very busy, where *skriemende drok would sound odd.

An important syntactic restriction is the requirement that these phrases may only occur predicatively. See for example the contrast in (3):

Example 3

a. Dat famke is ferhipte aardich
that girl is very-EMP nice
That girl is very nice
b. *dat ferhipte aardige famke
that very-EMP nice-INFL girl

The potential obligatoriness of the addition of the ending is variously evaluated in the literature. Verdenius (1939) considers it optional, whereas Hoekstra (1988) suggests it is obligatory. That contention may be too far-fetched. Next to the (a)-variant in the following example, variant (b) does not seem unacceptable:

Example 4

a. Hy kaam skandalige let thús
he came scandalously-EMP late home
He came home very late
b. Hy kaam skandalich let thús

It seems that -e may be added to strengthen the speaker's description, hence that it is inserted for emphatic reasons. However, also prosodic factors may be involved. Hoekstra (1986) mentions that he would say skitend benaud terribly afraid instead of ?skitende benaud, to avoid a sequence of three schwa syllables. On the other hand, the intrusion of the ending may be favoured in the context of two stressed syllables, even to the extent that the variant without -e seems to be excluded in practice. An example is stomme graach very gladly. This tendency is confirmed by an internet search (14-9-2015), where the possible alternative without ending, i.e. ??stom graach does not even show up at all.

An intensifying adverb as hiel very is a notable exception to the possibility of getting an emphatic marker -e. Compare the variants in (5):

Example 5

a. Dy man is hiel grut
That man is very tall
b. *Dy man is hiele grut

The form hiele does nevertheless occur, for example in in hiele grutte man. A notable difference with the emphatic marker dealt with above is the fact that a form like hiele in this case occurs in an attributive context. What we see here is in fact a formal reinterpretation of the adverb as an adjective, due to its prenominal position, and the inflected following adjective in particular. With an uninflected adjective, for example in in hiel(*e) grut skip a very large ship, addition of such a pseudo-inflectional suffix would be inconceivable. The ending -e in adverbs like hiele can therefore not be subsumed under the heading of adverbial inflection. Rather it must be interpreted as an instance of infection of adjectival inflection.

[+]Emphatic marking in deictic adverbs

Another emphatic marker -e is found after the deictic adverbs hjir here, dêr there and interrogative wêr where. We find the extended form in particular if these adverbs stand "on their own", for example at the end of a sentence or as an independent utterance. Examples are given in (6)-(8):

Example 6

dit boek hjirre
this book here-EMP
this very book
Example 7

Wêr leit dat boek no? Oh, dêre!
where lays that book now? oh, there-EMP
Where on earth is that book? Oh, over there
Example 8

It book moat earne yn dizze keamer lizze, mar wêre?
the book must somewhere in this room lay, but where-EMP?
The book should be somewhere in this room, but where?

The suffix is used to strengthen the deictic force of the adverb. Omission does not result in ungrammaticality, rather the expressive force of the utterance is less outspoken then.

This marker -e is also found after the demonstrative pronounsdit this and dat that, the interrogative pronounwat what, and also after the personal pronounik I.

[hide extra information]

A short description of the emphatic ending of intensifying adverbs can be found in Hoekstra (1997:111-112). Longer accounts are Hoekstra (1988) and Verdenius (1939), the latter also providing a broader grammatical, historical and dialectical context. For the use of present participles, see Van der Kuip (2011) in particular.

The ending -e after deictic adverbs is mentioned in Hoekstra (2001:89).

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