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Relative indefinite nominal quantifiers

Relative quantifiers can be separated from the partitive adjectives with which they are construed in case the adjective is subjective.


Relative quantifiers require a relative or subjective standard of evaluation for their interpretation. Relative quantifiers found in the partitive adjective construction are: folle many, much, hoefolle how many/much, likefolle as many/much as, gâns much, mear more, minder less, genôch enough, alderhanne all sorts of, sok such. Some examples are given below:

Example 1

a. Der wie net folle aardichs te sjen
there was not much nice to see
There were not many nice things to be seen
b. Der bleau genôch moais oer
there remained enough nice ADP
Enough nice things remained
c. Hoefolle negatyfs is him dêr net oerkommen?
how.much negative is him there not happened
How many negative things have happened to him over there?
d. Jim ha beiden likefolle spannends meimakke
you have both as much exciting experienced
Both of you experienced the same amount of excitement
e. Ik ha minder spannends belibbe as jim
I have less exciting experienced than you
I experienced fewer exciting things than you
f. Men went oeral oan, sels oan sok útsûnderlik moai-s
one used all to even to such exceptionally beautiful.PA
One gets used to everything, even to such exceptionally beautiful things

These quantifiers can also be used as modifiers of nouns, as in genôch wyn enough wine; the resulting construction is referred to as a nominal partitive construction. The partitive adjective and the nominal partitive are both non-count: they are both invariantly singular, as evidenced by the verb agreement they trigger:

Example 2

a. Der is genôch wyn oer
there is.SG enough wine left
There is enough wine left
b. Der is genôch ûnaardichs sein
there is.SG enough not.nice.things said
Enough unpleasant things have been said

Spoken language occasionally features Dutch interference in weinich little; its meaning is usually expressed by in bytsje a little or net folle not much. Its antonym, folle much, is a negative polarity item; its meaning is often expressed by a quantifier consisting of a noun preceded by the indefinite article. These quantifiers can be separated from their partitive adjectives in case the adjective is subjective:

Example 3

a. Freesliks binne wy yn dat lân genôch tsjinkaam
horrible are we in that country enough met
We have come across enough horrible things in that country
b. *Reads ha ik dêr genôch sjoen
red have I there enough seen
Lit: Reds I have seen enough there

From older Frisian, there are examples like the one below, where the discontinuity involves the relative pronoun, which has a relative quantifier for its antecedent:

Example 4

Yet sa fulle is up to neamen, dat de Franskman gôed-s hjir brocht
yet so much is up to name that the Frenchman good.PA here brought
Much more that is good can be mentioned, which the Frenchman brought here

The negation of folle much is involved in partitive idiom formation. Frisian often uses negation of positives in order to express a strong negative evaluation. In the expressions below, brets brood and aaps monkey seem to be frozen nominal partitives, dating back to the time when there were still nominal partitives:

Example 5

a. Net folle brets wêze
not much brood be
Be not (worth) much
b. Net folle aaps wêze
not much monkey be
Be not (worth) much