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Adverbial conversion

Conversion of an adjective to an adverb occurs on a large scale in Frisian (in contrast to English, where adverbs are mostly derived by attachment of a suffix, i.e. -ly). In addition, verbs might also be converted, although it is not entirely clear whether this is a direct mapping, or an indirect one, i.e. as a two-step derivation of V > A and subsequently A > Adv. Conversion from nouns is restricted to some terms that denote a time span.

[+]Conversion from adjectives

It is a well-known fact that many adjectives may be used adverbially. This change of category can be taken as an instance of conversion. In the examples below we see an adjective that modifies a Verb Phrase (VP), Adjective Phrase (AP) and Adposition Phrase (PP), and hence acts as an adverb:

Example 1

Hy stekt fluch de dyk oer
he puts quick the street over
He quickly crosses the street
Example 2

swier mishipt
heavy handicapped
severely handicapped
Example 3

ticht by de tsjerke
close at the church
close to the church

If an adjective is modified, then the adverb is often extended by the emphatic marker -e.

The adverbial use of adjectives has many syntactic ramifications, and is therefore treated more extensively in the part on Frisian syntax.

[+]Conversion from verbs

Conversion from verbs to adverbs is restricted to participles, both present and past. As these are also the only verbal categories that are able to convert to adjectives, and bearing in mind that adjectives as such may also undergo conversion to adverbs, it is an open question whether conversion of verbs to adverbs really exists. However this may be, we see participles used as adverbs, for example:

Example 4

Hja gong fytsend nei hûs ta
she went cycling to home to
She went home cycling
Example 5

Ferbûke sette er ôf
Disconcerted set he off
He left disconcerted

Present participles are strikingly popular in their function as intensifying modifiers of adjectives, as in skitende benaud shitting-EMP afraid very afraid or springende lilk springing-EMP angry very angry.

[+]Conversion from nouns

Some nouns, denoting a time span, can be converted to a time adverbial. This applies to the days of the week in particular, for example in

Example 6

Sneon wurdt er fyftich
Saturday becomes-he fifty
He 'll be fifty next Saturday

Usually, this use is directed to a future event, but this is not necessarily the case:

Example 7

Ik wie moandei yn Amsterdam
I was Monday in Amsterdam
I was in Amsterdam last Monday

Of the parts of the day, also jûn evening may be used adverbially. The noun moarn morning is more doubtful, as the adverbial moarn tomorrow refers to a full day rather than to a part of it. For most speakers, a direct conversion of the name of an month to an adverb will be excluded. Alternatively, a preposition is invoked to turn such temporal nouns into an adverbial. Examples are yn juny in June in (the month of) June or fan 'e middei of the afternoon this (very) afternoon).

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Present participles used as intensifying adverbs are the subject of a study by Van der Kuip (2011).

  • Kuip, Frits J. van der2011Fuortsettende mulwurden as yntinsivearjende bywurden yn it FryskUs wurk: tydskrift foar Frisistyk60139-157