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The prefix oarre- derives nouns on the basis of other nouns. Its use, however, is heavily restricted. One only finds it in a few kinship terms. An example is oarreheit grandfather. This type of kinship terms was used in the northeast, but is now getting obsolete.

[+]General properties

The prefix oarre- is rarely found. It derives nouns from nouns, but it is only used in the kinship terms: heit father > oarreheit grandfather and mem mother > oarremem grandmother. Moreover, these kinship terms were only used in the northeast of the province, but are rapidly growing obsolete nowadays. They are replaced by the more common Frisian words pake grandfather and beppe grandmother.

In addition, kinship terms of a higher degree are also possible in the formations oarrepake great-grandfather and oarrebeppe great-grandmother. These forms are even more uncommon.

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Time adverb

This prefix is also used in the time adverb oaremoarn the day after tomorrow, in a certain sense likewise to form a higher degree. More information can be found in the topic on oare- with adverb as base.


The origin of the prefix is to be found in the ordinal oard second, probably by d-rhotacism after deletion of /r/ (see /r/-deletion in simplex words). Hence, the development to a prefix can be considered as an instance of grammaticalization into a prefixoid.

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The formations oarremem grandmother and oarreheit grandfather can both be shortened to oarre, the interpretation being dependent on the context. This could be considered as an instance of degrammaticalization.

[+]Phonological properties

The prefix was mostly pronounced with a broken diphthong, i.e. as [warə]. A falling diphthong [o.ərə] also occurred. In derivations with oarre- the stress is on the prefix, as in OARREheit grandfather.

[+]Morphological potential

Derivations can be prefixed by oer-, as in oeroarreheit great-grandfather.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:64). See also the dictionaries, Veen (1984-2011) in particular.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Veen, Klaas F. van der et al1984-2011Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal - Woordenboek der Friese taalFryske Akademy