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1 Characteristics and classification of PPs

Adpositions have the following characteristics in most if not all languages:

  • They are frequent
  • They constitute a closed class that can be summed up
  • Many adpositions have a locative meaning
  • They have a close relation to verbs

Frisian adpositions have the following further characteristics:

  • They are not inflected for person or number
  • Many may appear as prepositions or as postpositions
  • Prepositions, so adpositions selecting a complement, have their own set of pronouns: the so-called R-pronouns
  • R-pronouns appear on the left of their prepositions, turning them effectively into postpositions
  • Prepositions govern non-nominative case, which is visible only if the prepositional compement contains a masculine singular noun accompanied by certain determiners.

We will refer to an adposition accompanied by an R-pronoun as an R-adposition. A preposition is placed before its complement, a postpositions is placed after its complement, and a circumposition is placed before and after (or around) its complement. Most, perhaps all, circumpositions can be decomposed into a postposition selecting a PP headed by a preposition.


For more information on the characteristics of adpositions and adposition phrases (PPs), see below:

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