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Endocentric NA

Adjectival compounds with a noun as first member may show different stress patterns. One part has its main stress on the first constituent, as in wetterkâld water-cold clammy. Others are stressed on the second member. The AN compound wetterticht water-tight waterproof is an example.

Special categories are univerbations, where the adjectival part happens to be a converted present participle. An example is leabrekkend body-breaking physically heavy (of work). Also special are those AN combinations in which a comparison is made with a salient property of the noun, as in iiskâld ice-cold cold as ice. Such formations easily transform to elative compounds, a type which is treated in a separate topic.

[+]Stress on the first constituent

Examples of NA compounds which receive stress on the first constituent are given in the table below (more on this stress pattern can be found in stress in adjectival compounds):

Table 1
first constituent (N) second constituent (A) compound (NA)
earm arm sterk strong earmsterk muscular
fiter twitchgrass fûl dirty fiterfûl overgrown with twitchgrass
wetter water kâld cold wetterkâld clammy
daam causeway steech obstinate daamsteech unmanageable (of horses)
paad pathway wiis wise paadwiis familiar
drank drink slij mad about drankslij dipsomaniacal
selskip company swiet sweet selskipswiet enjoying company
lûk hip (of a horse) lam paralysed lûklam lame (of a horse)
wjuk wing lam paralysed wjuklam broken-winged
bûk belly siik sick bûksiik overripe
see sea siik sick seesiik seasick
snie snow blyn blind snieblyn snowblind

Sometimes a linking element between the two constituents pops up, for example the element -e- in kleureblyn colour-blind (from kleur colour + blyn blind). Another linking element is the diminutive form. Examples are gatsjetûk skilful in finding holes (from gat hole + tûk smart), skoaltsjesiik malingering (with respect to the school) (from skoalle school + siik sick) and hantsjegau to be fast with the hands (from hân hand + gau fast).

In these NA compounds with stress on the first member we sometimes encounter truncation if the noun ends in a final schwa, a phenomenon that also occurs in the area of NN compounds. Examples are mûlryp quick-witted, glib (from mûle mouth and ryp ripe) and namsiik giving a preferential treatment to the grandchild that is named after oneself (from namme name and siik sick).

[+]Stress on the second constituent

Another category of NA compounds has its stress on the second constituent. Some examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
first constituent (N) second constituent (A) compound (NA)
wrâld world frjemd foreign wrâldfrjemd unwordly
roast rust frij free roastfrij rust-free
kûgel bullet frij free kûgelfrij bulletproof
lead lead frij free leadfrij leadless
wetter water ticht tight wetterticht waterproof
lûd noise ticht tight lûdticht sound-proof
see sea fêst fixed seefêst seaworthy
knûkel crease fêst fixed knûkelfêst uncreased

Sometimes we see a linking element -s- in hûnsdûm rabid, mad (from hûn dog + dûm mad) and libbenslang lifelong (from libben life + lang long).

Semantically, these compounds show a relation between the adjective and the noun which, in a broad sense, could be described as 'A with respect to N'. So, kûgelfrij bulletproof is frij free of kûgels bullets. And lûdticht sound-proof is ticht tight for lûd sound.

Note that stress on the second member only occurs if the adjectival compound is used predicatively. In attributive position the stress shifts to the nominal part of the compound, as a result of stress retraction. Hence, we have a stress difference between (1a) and (1b):

a. Dy jas is wetterticht
that jacket is water-closed
That jacket is waterproof
b. Dy wettertichte jas
that water-closed.INFL jacket
that waterproof jacket

Next to the conventional NA compounds dealt with above we find formations which can be seen as univerbations historically. They consist of an adjectival part that is formally a present participle, which has been converted to an adjective. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 3
first constituent (N) second constituent (A as present participle) univerbation (NA)
tiid time slinend consuming tiidslinend time-consuming
lûd noise dôvjend extinguishing lûddôvjend sound-insulating
al all wittend knowing alwittend omniscient
mulpunt centre wikend yielding (to) mulpuntwikend centrifugal
freon friend hâldend staying freonhâldend staying friends
doel target sykjend searching doelsykjend homing
lea body brekkend breaking leabrekkend physically heavy (of work)
fleis meat itend eating fleisitend carnivorous
erch distrust tinkend thinking erchtinkend suspicious

The noun in these examples functions as an object of the original verbal participle. Some of these examples are completely lexicalized, take for example alwittend omniscient and erchtinkend suspicious. Kantroerend side-touching narrowly only occurs as a converted adverb. Other formations, on the other hand, are barely distinguishable from word groups. So, next to in fleisitend bist a meat-eating animal in [[fleis](N)[itend](V)](A) bist a carnivorous animal a phrasal construction is also grammatical, as in in fleis itend bist a meat eating animal in (NP)[fleis] itend bist an animal eating meat.

We also see, possibly parallel to this lexicalization, a difference in stress pattern. Lexicalized cases like alwittend omniscient and erchtinkend suspicious clearly have stress on the second member, even if the word is used attributively. On the other hand, in fleisitend carnivorous and leabrekkend physically heavy the main stress is on the first part of the compound.


Within NA compounds, we may find yet another semantic relation: the comparison of the adjective with a salient property of the noun. An example is sniewyt snow-white snow-white, which refers to a kind or grade of wyt white that is also typical for snie snow. Other examples are:

Table 4
first constituent (N) second constituent (A) compound (NA)
pik tar swart black pikswart pitch-black
iis ice kâld cold iiskâld ice-cold
okse ox dom stupid oksedom very stupid
koskiten cowshit grien green koskitengrien green with the colour of cow shit

Sometimes one can find metaphoric uses. An example is fûgelfaai outlawed, from fûgel bird and the adjective faai fatal, doomed.

No linking

Superficially, the word mânselheech man-sized seems to show a linking element -el-, which also occurs in nominal compounds. This analysis is not correct, however. The first member is the noun mânsel man's height, which is a historical reduction of an older compound manstal man-figure.

The stress is usually on the first member of these comparative compounds, with a strong secondary stress on the second part. This is not necessarily so, however. In cases like fûgelfaai outlawed and koskitengrien green with the colour of cow shit the main stress is on the second member.

Such comparisons easily develop an intensifying interpretation of the first member of the compound, and at the same time a literal comparison makes less or even no sense. In that case these formations have turned into so-called elative compounds. Such compounds are dealt with in a separate topic.


The subject of this topic is briefly dealt with in Hoekstra (1998:49-50) for compounds and Hoekstra (1998:56) for univerbations.

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