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Show all Synthetic compounds and complex pseudo-participles

Synthetic compounds are tripartite complex words which exhibit a word-word-affix structure. The adjective twintichjierich (‘twenty year old’, lit. ‘twenty-year-y’) may serve as an example. Synthetic compounds differ from regular compounds, because they lack a regular head.

Synthetic compounds are productive in Saterland Frisian and related languages.

The suffixes involved lack a full vowel (e.g. stiksjunelk, *stiksjunliek). In many cases, suffixes may alternate, e.g. fiensläipich and fiensläiperch ‘light-sleeping’, roodhierich and roodhierd ‘red-haird’

Table 1
-ed koalkopped (‘bold’, lit. ‘bold-head-ed’), loangbeend (‘long legged’) eenbomed (‘made of one whole trunk’), roodhierd (‘red-haired’)
-elch halsbrekelch (‘neck breaking’)
-elk stiksjunelk (‘shortsighted’)
-end eenlopend (‘unmarried’), noachtsläipend (‘nightly’), wäilhäbend (‘wealthy’), lichtmölken(d) (‘easy-to-milk’)
-er Steensätter (‘tiler’), loangesläiper (‘long sleeper’),
-erch fjauerblederch (‘four-leaf’), fiensläip-erch (‘light sleeping’)
-ich twintichjierich (‘twenty year old’), grootmenich (‘ambitious’, lit. ‘great-mean-y’), eenkannich (‘mummyish’), dubbel-hatich (‘treacherous’), mismoudich (‘sad’) roodhierich (‘red-haird’), joolbenich (‘bowlegged’)
-jer, -ker Eensponjer(‘one horse carriage’)
-s fulmons (‘full-grown’), boarfouts (‘barefeet’)
-sk beensträksk (‘with spreaded legs’), hädkopsk (‘obstinate’)

In many cases, a pseudo-participial morpheme serves as affix, e.g. koalkopped ‘bold’ and eenlopend ‘unmarried’. Such words can be perceived as complex variants of pseudo-participle derivations (cf. [1.2.7]).

Noun Incorporation Verbs have a lot in common with synthetic compounds. Nominalised infinitives like (dät) Eedgreeuwen ‘peat extraction’ are tripartite and completely lexicalised (cf. []). The only main difference is that the nominal infinitive ending is (commonly viewed as) inflectional not derivational.

Synthetic compounds lack a regular head. The existence of the words grootmenich (‘ambitious’) and loangbeend (‘long-legged’), for example, does not imply the existence of *menich and *beend in the relevant sense. These words simply do not exist. (There is no verb beenje, either.) The words koalkopped (‘bold-headed’) and twintichjierich (‘twenty years old’) are synthetic compounds as well – even though kopped and jierich happen to exist – because there is no semantic relation to these adjectives: kopped means ‘beheaded’ and jierich means ‘one year old’.

Saterland Frisian has retained the old feature of gender marking on the numbers one, two and three, just like Latin, Old English and Old Frisian, for example. It distinguishes the masculine forms from the non-masculine ones: aan (m.) versus een, twäin (m.) versus two and träi (m.) versus trjo, e.g.: twäin Monljude un two Wieuwljude: ‘two men and two women’. In synthetic compounds, this distinction appears to become optional. The dictionary shows both twoklöärich (‘two-coloured’) and träiklöärich (‘three-coloured’), for example. In the loan word tweelopich (‘double-barrelled’), even the Dutch and/or Low German form twee- is present (cf. Dutch tweelopig).

Synthetic compounds ending in pseudo-participial suffixes are quite frequent in Saterland Frisian. Koalkopped (‘bold’) is an example, compare Dutch hooggehakt and its English high-heeled or three-wheeled. Pseudo-participles are also present in words like kringeld (‘ornated with rings’), compare

Dutch gelaarsd en English winged.

Unlike other participle-like adjectives (like geleerd ‘learned’), pseudo-participial adjectives never contain the loan morpheme ge-, which is characteristic of High German (and Dutch) perfective participles (German gemacht, Dutch gemaakt, ‘made’, but Sater Fisian moaked).

  • Faltings, Volkert F. 1996. Zur Bildung desubstantivischer Adjektive mit dem Derivationssuffix -ed/-et im Friesischen und in verwandten Sprachen. Us Wurk 45, 79-113.

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