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5.5 Proper names

Proper names are used without the article, unless they are modified.


Certain proper names have been part of the language for a long time, and they were necessarily frequent. It is these old native names which can be input for word formation and for the formation of idioms. If they are thus used, their meaning subsequently reduces to ‘man’ or ‘woman’. Two examples of such names, that are used in compounds, are Triene (from Katriene) and Geeske. See: morphology.

A name like Hinnerk is similarly used in compounds and also in idiomatic expressions like the following:

‘n Ierzern-en Hinnerk.
an iron-MSC.SG Hinnerk
A robust or insensitive person.

Names are regularly preceded by possessive pronouns and by adjectives. Two examples are given below:

Deer kumt uus Hinnerk ounwrikjen.
there comes our Hinnerk to.waddle
There’s our Hinnerk waddling towards us.
Litje Hinnerk.
little Hinnerk
Little Hinnerk.

At a time in the past, Saterland houses were named after the family inhabiting it at that time. When a new family starts living in the house, the house name is applied to the name of the new family. An example is given below:

Hermann Dumstorf hiet mäd Huusnome Krömers Häärm.
Hermann Dumstorf is.called with house.name Krömers Häärm
Hermann Dumstorf has Krömers Häärm as his house name.

The name Häärm must likewise be an old native name, as it is also found in compounds. Proper names also tend to be found in tonguetwisters. A tonguetwisting story from Saterland Frisian employs the proper name Wilke:

Wilke Wäis Wuchtere wollen wiete Wäske waaske;
Wilke Wai’s girls want white laundry wash
wiete Wäske wollen Wilke Wäis Wuchtere waaske.
white laundry want Wilke Wai’s girls wash
Wilke Wäis Wuchtere wielen wiete Wulle waaske.
Wilke Wai’s girls wanted white wool wash
Wan Wilke Wäis Wuchter wisten, wier woorm Woater waas.
when Wilke Wai’s girls knew where warm water was
Wilke Wäi's daughters want to wash white laundry; white laundry, Wilke Wäi's daughters want to wash. Wilke Wäi's daughters wanted to wash white wool. If Wilke Wäi's daughters knew where hot water was.

The interesting thing about this tonguetwister is that it is not just a difficult sentence, but that it also tells a short story in the form of a light joke. A similar tonguebreaker in West Frisian likewise is based on alliteration of the sound /w/, and it is put in the form of a question with a humourous answer. Dutch and German tonguetwisters are less interactive single sentences, coming out of the study. Thus tonguetwisters tend to tell tremendous truths.

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