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High degree words
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High degree words are also called amplifiers. They add a high degree interpretation to the adjective. Some examples are given below, with adjectives which amplifiers can modify:

Example 1

a. Glûpende kâld/sear/lang
very cold/painful/long
Very cold/painful/long
b. Bare wreed/ûngelyk/smout
very cruel/unequal/cosy
Very cruel/unequal/cosy
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Amplifiers add a high degree interpretation to the adjective. Correspondingly, amplifiers can be used felicitously in the following sentence frame: It is [adjective], it is sels [amplifier] [adjective]:

Example 2

a. It is kâld, it is sels glûpende kâld
it is cold it is even very cold
It is cold, It is even very cold
b. Hy is hoeden, hy is sels tige hoeden
he is cautious he is even very cautious
He is cautious, he is even very cautious

High degree intensifiers make up the largest subclass of intensifiers. Some examples are given below, with adjectives which they can modify:

Example 3

a. Glûpende kâld/sear/lang
very cold/painful/long
Very cold/painful/long
b. Bare wreed/ûngelyk/smout
very cruel/unequal/cosy
Very cruel/unequal/cosy

These amplifiers have lost their original meaning. Some amplifiers may also combine with nouns which allow of a high degree interpretation:

Example 4

a. In glûpende hekel/wyn
a very (strong) dislike/wind
A very (strong) dislike/wind
b. Klearebarre lilkens
clear.pure anger
Sheer anger

Some amplifiers carry a flavor of emotional exaggeration, which correlates with an informal register of language use. The amplifiertige is neutral in that respect. It also occurs in the following Adpositional Phrase (PP) construction:

Example 5

Tige by tige
very by very
Very good

In nineteenth century Frisian, other adjectives were also found in this construction:

Example 6

a. De keamers wiene rom by rom
the rooms were spacious by spacious
The rooms were very spacious
b. At it slim by slim komt
if it bad by bad comes
If worst comes to worst

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x Literature

Literature on this subject can be found in Hoekstra (1990).

Most emotional and informal are those amplifiers which derive from curses such as ferjammesedamned and ferdomddamned. Some amplifiers still retain some vestiges of their original, literal interpretation. This is shown in the examples below:

Example 7

a. Bespotlik goedkeap
ridiculously cheap
Ridiculously cheap
b. Absurd lyts
absurdly little
Absurdly small

Some amplifiers tend to have the same basic meaning as the adjective which they modify. This may involve phrases which are to some extent collocations:

Example 8

Enoarm grut
enormously big
Very big

A special case is the amplifier bot. Bot expresses a high degree, just like tige, but bot combines more easily with other categories than Adjective Phrase (AP). This contrast is shown in the following examples:

Example 9

a. Se hawwe bot ferlern
they have much lost
They have lost a great deal.
b. *Se hawwe tige ferlern
they have much lost
They have lost a great deal

Furthermore, tige seems to be used in positive contexts, whereas bot tends to be used in contexts, which are negative in some sense, a subject which needs to be further investigated:

Example 10

a. Hy is tige yntelligint
he is very intelligent
He is very intelligent
b. *Hy is botte yntelligint
he is very intelligent
He is very intelligent
c. Hy is net botte yntelligint
he is not very intelligent
he is not very intelligent
d. *He is net tige yntelligint
he is not very intelligent
he is not very intelligent

The example above is ungrammatical in the intended reading, in which negation is construed with yntelligintintelligent, not with bot/tigevery.

Example 11

a. Net botte folle
not very much
Not very much
b. *Net tige folle
not very much
Not very much

Relational amplifiers form a semantic subclass of amplifiers. They characteristically combine with relational adjectives or with adjectives which may carry a relational interpretation:

Example 12

a. Typysk Frysk/kristlik/Heiniaansk
characteristically Frisian/Christian/of.the.poet.Heine
Characteristically Frisian/Christian/in the style of the poet Heine
b. Typysk froulik/romantysk/estetysk
characteristically feminine/romantic/esthetic
Characteristically feminine/romantic/esthetic
c. Spesifyk Frysk/lokaal/autochtoan
specifically Frisian/local/autochthonous
Specifically Frisian/local/autochthonous
d. Spesifyk ierdsk
specifically worldly
Specifically worldly

The amplifiers wiertruly and echtreally freely combine with relational adjectives, but they also freely combine with scalar adjectives. Amplification of amplifiers is normally excluded:

Example 13

a. *Tige glûpende kâld
very very cold
Extremely cold
b. *Tige enoarm grut
very enourmously big
Extremely big

Amplifiers generally do not have a comparative and superlative degree:

Example 14

a. *It is dit jier noch glûpender kâld as ferline jier
it is this year even very.CPR cold than last year
This year It is even more cold than last year
b. *It wie yn 1963 it glûpendste kâld
it was in 1963 the very.SUP cold
In 1963, it was the coldest

Amplifiers can also belong to other categories than AP, namely the Verb Phrase (VP):

Example 15

[Net te leauwen] sa moai
not to believe so beautiful
It was unbelievably beautiful

and Adposition Phrase (PP):

Example 16

a. In [troch ende wer troch] bedoarn bern
a through and again through spoiled child
An utterly spoiled child
b. [By útstek] geskikt
by pinnacle suitable
Pre-eminently suitable

Adjectival amplifiers may also be quantificational in nature:

Example 17

[Mear as] tefreden
more than content
More than content

The quantifier mear asmore than can also be used to answer a question about sufficiency, but its antonym cannot be so used:

Example 18

a. Hast genôch hân?
have.2SG enough had
Did you have enough?
b. Mear as
more than
More than enough
c. *Minder as
less than
Less than enough

The prefix oer-above can also be used as an amplifier.

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1990Tige by tigeFriesch Dagblad28-07Taalsnipels 152
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