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Correlative construction
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Correlatives present a correlation between two comparative adjectives.

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Correlatives present a correlation between two comparative adjectives, as in the following example:

Example 1

Wat mear wurden men brûkt wat slimmer de neatichheid is
what more words one uses what worse the hollowness is
The more words one uses, the worse the hollowness is

In this example, each correlative heads a subordinate clause, so that there is no matrix clause with verb-second. Instead of watwhat, the following words are also used in this construction: namstethe more, safollesteso much the more. It is possible to combine two correlative adjectives in one sentence:

Example 2

Tietke's eagen waarden wat langer wat grutter
Tietke.GEN eyes became what longer what bigger
Tietke's eyes became bigger and bigger

The correlative pair of Adjective Phrases (APs) forms one constituent:

Example 3

a. Wat langer wat grutter waarden Tietke's eagen
what longer what bigger became Tietke.GEN eyes
Tietke's eyes became bigger and bigger
b. *Wat langer waarden Tietke's eagen wat grutter
what longer became Tietke.GEN eyes what bigger
Tietke's eyes became bigger and bigger
c. *Wat grutter waarden Tietke's eagen wat langer
what bigger became Tietke.GEN eyes what longer
Tietke's eyes became bigger and bigger

The correlative pair is not used in attributive position, though it does not seem very unacceptable to do so:

Example 4

?Wat langer wat grutter-e eagen seagen my oan
what longer what bigger.PL eyes looked me ADP
Bigger and bigger eyes looked at me

The example illustrates that agreement targets the second member of the correlative pair. Correlatives are also found in the equative.

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x Literature

More details can be found in Hoekstra (1988).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1988Wat mâlder, wat moaierFriesch Dagblad16-04Taalsnipels 71
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