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wjer-
quickinfo

The unproductive prefix wjer- derives verbs from other verbs. It means against or back. An example of a derivation with wjer- is klinketo sound > wjerklinketo reverberate. It must not be confused with the verb particle wer, which means again.

Note that there is another prefix wjer- that derives nouns.

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[+] General properties

The unproductive prefix wjer- derives verbs from other verbs. It means against or back. Examples of derivations with wjer- are listed below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
lizzeto lay down wjerlizzeto refute
klinketo sound wjerklinketo reverberate
spegeljeto reflect wjerspegeljeto reflect
farreto sail wjerfarreto befall
hâldeto hold wjerhâldeto hold back
steanto stand wjersteanto resist
keatseto bounce wjerkeatseto reflect
galmjeto resound wjergalmjeto echo
akseljeto protest wjerakseljeto resist
Two exceptions, which have another meaning than against or back, are wjerkôgjeto ruminate and wjerljochtsjeto lighten. Considering the meaning of wjerkôgjeto ruminate, one would expect the prefix wer- instead of wjer-. That this word is known as wjerkôgje though, is most likely an effect of analogy. In the other exception, wjerljochtsjeto lighten, wjer must be a broken variant of wear, an older form of waarweather.
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Etymology

The prefix wjer- is easily confused with the verbal particle wer. Both elements derive from the same Old Frisian root wither. This adverb occured independently, but also showed up as a prefix in verbal and nominal derivations. One can find it as such in Old Frisian as for example witherbringato bring back, witherjevato give back and witherwirdreply. The seventeenth-century writer Gysbert Japicx spells both words as weer, which might indicate that the meaning of the prefixes overlapped in that time. Over time, the prefix wjer- has released itself in form and function from wer-. While weragain can show up as an independent element, wjer-against can only function as a prefix. It is likely that wjer- is a broken variant and wer a shortened form of seventeenth century weer. There are more languages in which a distinction in form and function between these two elements took place, for example in German (wiederagain and wideragainst).

[+] Phonological properties

The prefix is pronounced as [vjɛr]. In verb derivations with wjer- the stress is sometimes on the prefix (WJERakseljeto resist) and sometimes not (wjerGALMjeto echo).

People from the southern part of the province of Fryslân leave out the [j] when pronouncing wjer-. This consonant cluster simplification is not uncommon in the relevant dialects.

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Literature

This topic is based on Veen (1984-2011) and Hoekstra (1998:150). For etymological aspects, see Tamminga (1963:92-94).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1963Op 'e taelhelling. Losse trochsneden fan Frysk taellibben. IBoalsertA.J. Osinga
  • Veen, Klaas F. van der et al1984-2011Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal - Woordenboek der Friese taalFryske Akademy
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