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Other quantifiers

Several inherently plural quantifiers are able to support noun ellipsis.


The following quantifiers may occur on their own while referring to a plural antecedent:

Example 1

a. ferskate / ferskeidene
b. ferskillende
c. folle
d. ienige / iennige
only ones
e. inkelde
some, a few
f. ytlike
g. sommige / somlike
h. ûnderskate

If these quantifiers end in -n, they are used without following noun. That is, forms in -n may not be used attributively, with a following noun present. However, if they end in -e, then the following noun may be present or absent.

The quantifiers sommigensome, a few, somlikensome and inkeldensome, a few (ending in -n) almost exclusively occur with human antecedents. However, the -n is almost as often present as absent in the following possessive Adposition Phrase (PP) construction:

Example 2

a. Somlike / somliken fan syn kollega's
some of his collegues
Some of his collegues
b. Somlike / somliken fan 'e jongfeinten
some of the young.men
Some of the young men

This is an indication that the use of either ending may also be construction-specific. The same observation holds for ytlikeinnumerable. When referring to a human antecedent, the -n is generally present, but it is occasionally absent if the quantifier is followed by a PP containing the quantifier's antecedent.

The quantifiers ferskillendevarious and ûnderskatevarious are hardly ever used on their own. The quantifier ferskateseveral is rarely used on its own, but if it is, it refers to humans. It also occurs without -n when referring to humans, and, again, this characteristically occurs when the quantifier is followed by a possessive PP directly containing the antecedent:

Example 3

Ferskate fan harren flechten
several of them fled
Several of them fled

Follemany was occasionally used in the past with a -n when referring to humans, but this is an interference from Dutch. Such sentences with follenmany generally also violate the requirement that follemany must be used in a negative context, since it is a negative polarity item in Frisian, but not in Dutch. Violation of that requirement 'proves' that follenmany is an interference, which is confirmed by speakers' intuitions. Bare follemany can refer to humans in the existential construction, but otherwise it seems less felicitous:

Example 4

a. Der binne net folle dy't soks úthâlde
there are not many who such.a.thing opine
There are not many who hold such a view
b. ?Toeristen? Ik ha net folle sjoen
tourists I have not many seen
Tourists? I have not seen many
c. ?Ik ha net mei folle praat
I have not with many talked
I have not talked with many people

To summarize, at least three factors are relevant for the choice between the form in schwa or the form in -n, in case quantifiers are used on their own:

  • the specific quantifier that is involved (ferskateseveral or beideboth or somlike, sommige, inkeldesome, a few, and so on)
  • the nature of the quantifier's antecedent (person or thing)
  • the construction in which the quantifier is found

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