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R-pronouns
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Apart from their dual function as adverbs and as prepositional complements, R-pronouns are also conspicuous since, as prepositional complements, they behave differently from prepositional complements which are not R-pronouns. R-pronouns occur to the left of prepositions:

Example 1

Dêroer
R.about
about it

They need not be adjacent to their preposition:

Example 2

Dêr lang oer prate
it.R long about talk
talk about it for a long time

Otherwise, prepositional complements are found to the right of prepositions:

Example 3

Oer dizze saak
about this matter
About this matter
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The set of R-pronouns is presented below.

Table 1
R-pronoun Meaning as locative adverb Meaning as prepositional complement Non-R equivalent
der there it it
hjir here this dit
dêr there that dat
wêr where what wat
earne (ergens) somewhere something eat / wat
nearne (nergens) nowhere nothing neat / niks
oeral everywhere everything alles
The R-pronouns earne and nearne chiefly belong to written language. In spoken language, they have been ousted by loans from Dutch, ergens and nergens. R-pronouns prevent ordinary pronouns from occurring as prepositional complements, though the effect is not equally strong for each pronoun. In some cases, there seems to be a difference in meaning. In the following four examples, it is not grammatical to have a non-R-pronoun where an R-pronoun is possible. The first pair of sentences, in (4), shows that the unstressed R-pronoun der cannot be replaced with the equivalent unstressed non-R-pronoun itit:

Example 4

a. *Ik ha oer it praat
I have about it talked
I talked about it
b. Ik ha deroer praat
I have it.R.about talked
I talked about it

The same is illustrated in (5) for the R-pronoun hjir and its non-R-equivalent ditthis:

Example 5

a. *Ik ha oer dit praat
I have about this talked
I talked about this
b. Ik ha hjir oer praat
I have this.R about talked
I talked about this

The same is illustrated below for the R-pronoun dêr and its non-R equivalent datthat:

Example 6

a. *Ik ha oer dat praat
I have about that talked
I talked about that
b. Ik ha dêr oer praat
I have that.R about talked
I talked about that

The same is illustrated in (7) for the interrogative R-pronoun wêr and its non-R equivalent datwhat:

Example 7

a. *Wat hasto oer praat
what have.you about talked
What did you talk about
b. Wêr hasto oer praat
what.R have.you about talked
What did you talk about

In the remaining three cases, it is not the case that the use of the R-pronoun is obligatory. Consequently, the existential R-pronoun earne / ergens does not preclude the use of the non-R-pronoun eat / watsomething.

Example 8

a. Ik ha oer eat / wat praat
I have about something talked
I talked about something
b. Ik ha earne / ergens oer praat
I have something.R about talked
I talked about something

Similarly, the negative R-pronoun nearne / nergens does not preclude the use of the non-R-pronoun neat / niksnothing.

Example 9

a. Ik ha oer neat / niks praat
I have about nothing talked
I talked about nothing
b. Ik ha nearne / nergens oer praat
I have nothing.R about talked
I talked about nothing

Finally, the universal R-pronoun oeral does not preclude the use of the non-R-pronoun alleseverything:

Example 10

a. Ik ha oer alles praat
I have about everything talked
I talked about everything
b. Ik ha oeral oer praat
I have everything.R about talked
I talked about everything

It seems that the use of the non-R-pronoun does not have exactly the same interpretation as the R-pronoun, although the difference is hard to characterise. Furthermore, in the Frisian Language Corpus, the combination oer allesabout everything is much more frequent than the combination of this preposition with the equivalent R-pronoun oeral oer. Viewing all seven R-pronouns, we may conclude that the referential R-pronouns, including the interrogative pronoun, preclude the use of their equivalent non-R-pronouns. The quantificational R-pronouns, excluding the interrogative pronoun, do not block the use of their equivalent non-R-pronouns.

Finally, it should be noted that the seven R-pronouns are not positively specified for the feature <human> (or <person>). The only exception is the pronoun dêr, in its functions as a relative pronoun. This relative R-pronoun can very easily be accompanied by a human antecedent:

Example 11

De frou dêr't wy mei praat ha
the woman that.R we with talked have
The woman that we have talked with

However, if there is no preceding antecedent, as is the case in a free relative clause, then the R-pronoun cannot be interpreted as having a human antecedent:

Example 12

*Dêr't jim ek mei praat ha
that.R you also with talked have
Whoever you talked with

The same holds of free relatives introduced by the interrogative pronoun:

Example 13

*Wêr't jim ek mei praat ha
that.R you also with talked have
Whoever you talked with
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