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Low degree
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Low degree modifiers or downtoners provide a low degree interpretation of the adjective. The most characteristic downtoners are the quantifiers in bytsjea little and watwhat, somewhat:

Example 1

a. In bytsje dom
a little stupid
A little bit stupid
b. Wat dom
somewhat stupid
A little bit stupid
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Low degree modifiers or downtoners provide a low degree interpretation of the adjective. The most characteristic downtoners are the quantifiers in bytsjea little and watwhat, somewhat:

Example 2

a. In bytsje dom
a little stupid
A little bit stupid
b. Wat dom
somewhat stupid
A little bit stupid

These quantifiers seem interchangeable, although there may be frequency differences. There also seems to be a polarity effect here, seeing that in bytsje tûka bit smart is ungrammatical in a simple affirmative clause, but grammatical in a conditional clause. This contrast is shown in the examples below:

Example 3

a. *Hy is in bytsje tûk
he is a bit smart
He is a little bit smart
b. As hy in bytsje tûk is
if he a bit smart is
If he is a little bit smart

Being a negative polarity item is a property of the combination in bytsje tûk, not of the individual items, seeing that in bytsje dom does not exhibit this polarity effect. The ungrammatical sentence improves somewhat by inserting the negative element marbut:

Example 4

?Hy is mar in bytsje tûk
he is but a bit smart
He is only a little bit smart

Below follows the correct way of expressing this:

Example 5

Hy is net al te tûk
he is not all too smart
He is not all that smart

Another low degree modifier is justjesonly somewhat. It may occur with certain adjectives:

Example 6

Justjes ferheard
somewhat amazed
Somewhat amazed

The 'grudging' downtoner wolsomewhat is characteristically used to downtone positive adjectives. It carries the implication that any higher degree than the topical degree does not hold true. so the topical degree is the minimal degree at which the property described by the adjective holds true:

Example 7

a. Hy is wol aardich (mar net mear as dat!)
he is somewhat sympathetic but no more than that
He is quite sympathetic (but no more than that!)
b. *Hy is wol ûnaardich
he is somewhat unsympathetic
He is quite unsympathetic
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