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Compounds consisting of a verb plus an adjective are relatively rare. An example is printree ready to be printed. The combination VA may also contain elative compounds. These have an intensifying function, as in knettergek completely crazy, where the first part is related to the verb knetterje to crackle.

[+]Endocentric VA compounds

Examples of VA compounds are given in the table below:

Table 1
first constituent (V) second constituent (A) compound (VA)
farre to sail klear ready farklear ready to sail
printsje to print ree ready printree ready for printing
pronkje to flaunt moai beautiful pronkemoai beautiful
happe to bite waarm warm hapwaarm having a good temperature to be eaten

The compound pronkemoai beautiful must contain a linking element -e-.

The semantics of these compounds seems to be something like 'in such a grade A that V-ing is possible'. The main stress is on the second member, with a good deal of secondary stress on the first one

[+]Elative VA-compounds

We have also some VA combinations that can be qualified as elative compounds, i.e. compounds in which the verbal part has an intensifying function. An example is knettergek crackle-crazy completely crazy, from the verb knetterje to crackle. Another is fonkelnij brand new, which shows the verb fonkelje to sparkle. The most productive verb in this respect seems to be smoare to suffocate; to smother. This is at the basis of smoarhyt sweltering, smoardronken plastered, smoarryk wealthy, smoardrok hectic, smoarferkâlden (all) stuffed up, smoarfet bloated and smoarfol chock-full.

Elative compounds with a verbal first member may show the same peculiarities as those with a nominal or an adjectival one. For example, we see the phenomenon of reinforcement by infixation, as in kletstrochwiet completely wet, at least if the verbal part is derived from the verb kletse to splash. (The noun klets splash could be involved equally well).

Intensifying present participles

At this point, there is only a thin line between these elative compounds with a verbal first member and a syntactic construction in which an adjective is intensified by a modifying present participle. Examples of the latter are kritende djoer crying expensive seriously expensive, stjerrende benaud dying scared dying a thousand deaths or glûpende kâld leering cold freezing cold. As a result, one can find the phrases smoarende hyt sweltering and smoarende fol chock-full next to the elative compounds smoarhyt sweltering and smoarfol chock-full . The same holds for kletswiet soaking wet versus kletsende wiet soaking wet, slet(troch)wiet soaking wet versus slettend trochwiet soaking wet and propfol chock-full next to proppende fol chock-full.

The main stress in elative compounds is always on the first (or modifying) member: knettergek completely crazy. The second member receives a good deal of secondary stress.


The endocentric compounds are briefly mentioned in Hoekstra (1998:50). For elative compounds in general, see Hoekstra (1998:75-76). He analises elative compounds as instances of derivation, i.e. prefixation, in contrast to the position taken here. Intensifying present participles have been the subject of a study by Van der Kuip (2011).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Kuip, Frits J. van der2011Fuortsettende mulwurden as yntinsivearjende bywurden yn it FryskUs wurk: tydskrift foar Frisistyk60139-157
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