• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Saterfrisian
  • Afrikaans
Show all
5.2 The demonstrative article

Demonstratives serve to make referents more specific, linguistically speaking. The distal demonstrative historically derives from the definite article in Old Frisian. In Saterland Frisian the distal demonstrative is the same as the definite article. A non-ambiguous series of distal demonstratives has been created for emphasis and deixis, and its forms are based on combining the imperative of a verb of seeing with the definite article (slash distal demonstrative). The ordinary and emphatic distal demonstratives have four forms to their paradigm, not counting the non-nominative form for the MSC SG. The proximate demonstrative only has two distinct forms. The distal demonstrative is the unmarked demonstrative in Saterland Frisian.

More details about the demonstrative article can be found in the sections below.

[+]1. Paradigm of the demonstrative article

The proximate demonstrative refers to persons and things which are close-by. It has the following paradigm:

Table 1
dusse (dussen) dusse dut dusse

It can be seen that the neuter singular is the most distinct form. The feminine is homophonous to the plural and to the MSC SG. And the opposition -e / -en is also used to express the contrast between nominative and non-nominative, which only exists for the masculine singular. The paradigm is almost the same as the one of attributive APs, except that APs do not have the distinction between nominative and non-nominative case, employing the -en form for the masculine singular.

The distal demonstrative and the emphatic distal demonstrative have been given below. The non-nominative form of the masculine singular has been given in brackets:

Table 2
Distal die (än) ju dät do
Distal emphatic krie (krän) krju krät kro

Saterland Frisian developed an series of emphatic distal demonstratives based on the root kr-, which derives from the expression kiek ‘see’ followed by the demonstrative. The word kiek lost its final consonant and the vowel was weakened. In this way, the paradigm developed from the intermediate forms: kedie > krie, keju > krju, kedät > krät, kedo > kro. Note that this explanation fails to account for the presence of a -r- in krju, as there was no -d-. There must have been paradigmatic pressure to keep the same prefix throughout the paradigm. Thus the phrase kiek + demonstrative developed into the root kr- + demonstrative, which thus received the same rhyme as the non-emphatic demonstrative.

[+]2. The demonstrative article as the topic pronoun

When used independently, the distal demonstrative (or definite article) functions as a topic pronoun. The following examples illustrate its use as a topic pronoun (put in bold):

In een Chronik häbe iek knu oaber lezen, dät in een Täärp al uum 1900 die Kilmerstuute fon alle Noabere mädnunner broacht wuden is. Die liech do oaber noch nit ap een Laadere as dälich.
in a chronicle have I just now but read, that in a village already around 1900 the.MSC.SG peat.bread of all neighbours with.each.other brought become is the.MSC.SG laid then but yet not on a ladder as today
But I just now read in a chronicle that in a village already around 1900 the peat bread was brought by all neighbours together. But it didn’t lie on a ladder yet like today.
Knu häbe iek dusse Geschichte lezen. Ju is fon Hein Bredendiek.
Just now have I this.FEM.SG history read it.FEM.SG is of Hein Bredendiek
I just now read this history. It is by Hein Bredendiek.
Wan dät Freeten goar waas. Dät wieren dan uk maast littje Tuwwelke.
when the.NTR.SG grub cooked was it.NTR.SG was then also most small potatoes
When the grub was ready. And so it was mostly small potatoes.
Do Wuchtere un Wäänte fon Buuren kreegen niks. Do hieden fonsäärm uk jädden mäd uus ieten.
the.PL daughters and sons of farmers got nothing they.PL had of.course also eager with us ate
The daughters and sons of farmers got nothing. Of course, they would have liked to eat with us.

Articles can also be used as pronouns in the middle field (not illustrated). It seems that the use of articles as pronouns in the middle field is on the rise in the language, at the cost of the ordinary pronouns. The distribution of antecedents for the demonstrative functioning as topic pronoun is rather a complex matter, as is the question of the relation of topic pronouns to ordinary (personal) pronouns. The example in (3) illustrates that the distal demonstrative 3SG functions semantically and syntactically as a 3PL, or, alternatively, the topic pronoun 3SG functions as such, for the same fact is found in West Frisian and Dutch. There’s an issue here which is diffuclt to formulate.

The k(r)- prefix is also found outside the paradigm of the distal demonstrative. It combines with nu ‘now’ to produce knu ‘recently’. And it combines with junder / junner ‘yonder, over there’ to produce kjunner / kjunder ‘yonder, over there’. And finally it combines with the adverbial pronoun of place deer ‘there’ to produce kreer ‘there’. Note that deer cannot be replaced with kreer, in case deer functions as a relative pronoun. Nor have we found kreer functioning as an adpositional complement, or as an introductory pronoun for indefinite sentences, but this should be further investigated. It should also be investigated whether Saterland Frisian allows of rightward placement of object NPs introduced by a distal demonstrative in imperative clauses. Finally, demonstratives feature prominently in epithets, which should be further investigated.

    printreport errorcite