• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
3SG and 3PL strong subject and object pronouns must refer to persons
quickinfo

3SG and 3PL strong subject and object pronouns must refer to persons. 1SG and 2SG and 1PL and 2PL pronouns by definition refer to persons.

readmore

The third person plural has har as a strong object pronoun and se as its weak equivalent. As in many other languages, the strong pronoun must refer to persons whereas the weak pronoun need not:

Example 1

a. De bern? Ik ha se net sjoen
the children I have them not seen
The children? I have not seen them
b. De bern? Ik ha har net sjoen
the children I have them not seen
The children? I have not seen them
c. De boeken? Ik ha se net sjoen
the books I have them not seen
The books? I have not seen them
d. *De boeken? Ik ha har net sjoen
the books I have them not seen
The books? I have not seen them

The same difference exists between the strong subject pronoun sy and its weak form se:

Example 2

a. De bern? Se ha gjin nocht om op bêd
the children they have no feeling for to bed
The children? They do not feel like going to bed
b. De bern? Sy ha gjin nocht om op bêd
the children they have no feeling for to bed
The children? They do not feel like going to bed
c. De boeken? Se binne net oantaast troch de brân
the books they are not damaged through the fire
The books? They have not been damaged by the fire
d. *De boeken? Sy binne net oantaast troch de brân
the books they are not damaged through the fire
The books? They have not been damaged by the fire

However, the Frisian Language Corpus occasionally features examples of the strong subject pronoun referring to non-humans. Two examples are given below:

Example 3

a. Dy risseltaten binne net it definitive antwurd op de fraach oft it belied slagge is. Sy binne in ynset foar in fierdergeande diskusje
those results are not the definitive answer to the question whether the policy succesful is they are a starting point for a further discussion
Those results are not the definitive answer to the question whether the policy is succesful. They are a starting point for further discussion
b. Folkje preuvelt de rigels binnenmûlsk en sy binne har sa dierber
Folkje murmurs the lines in.mouth and they are her so dear
Folkje murmurs the words under her breath and they are very dear to her

The archaic subject pronoun hja can be used for either personal reference or non-personal (inanimate) reference. The following sentence is an example of non-personal reference:

Example 4

De oanklaaiing fan it lânskip troch de boerepleatsen kriget men allinne as hja lizze mids in passende beplanting
the dress-up of the landscape by the farmsteadsgets one only if they lie among a fitting afforestation
Farmsteads provide a suitable landscape design only if they are accompanied by a corresponding green environment

Weak pronouns that may refer both to persons or non-persons may not be used as reflexives.

References:
    Suggestions for further reading ▼
    phonology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    morphology
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    syntax
    • Dutch
    • Frisian
    • Afrikaans
    Show more ▼
    cite
    print