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Co-occurrence with nominal human quantifiers

Oarselse may occur with human quantifiers like immensomebody; other partitive adjective may do so.


Oarselse is special in being able to co-occur with human nominal quantifiers, which are otherwise banned from the partitive adjective construction:

Example 1

a. *Immen tûks
somebody intelligent
Someone intelligent
b. Wat tûks
something intelligent
Something intelligent
c. Immen oars
somebody else
Someone else
d. Wat oars
something else
Something else

Written Frisian has been claimed to preferably separate oarselse from its nominal quantifier, but a count of the sequences nimmen oarsnobody else and oars nimmenotherwise nobody in the Frisian Language Corpus indicates that this judgment is somewhat prescriptive:

Example 2

a. ?Der wie nimmen oars foar te finen
there was nobody else for to find
There was nobody else to find
b. Der wie oars nimmen foar te finen
there was else nobody for to find
They could not find anyone for that

Count Frisian Language Corpus:

Table 1
nimmen oarsnobody else 142
oars nimmenotherwise nobody 64
The quantifier nimmennobody belongs to written language; it is in all likelihood subject to the influence of Dutch niemandnobody, which it resembles in form and meaning; note that it has been established that Frisian items which have a phonologically and semantically similar counterpart in Dutch are prone to morpho-syntactic influence from that counterpart ( Slofstra (2009), Hoekstra (2011)). This is supported by comparing the frequencies for nimmen (oars)nobody (else) with those for the more colloquial quantifier gjinien (oars)no one (else), which lacks a Dutch counterpart *geeneennobody. The sequence nimmen oarsnobody else occurs more often than the sequence gjinien oarsno one else, and the difference is statistically significant (p < 0.1 %).

Example 3

a. ?Der wie gjinien oars foar te finen
there was no.one else for to find
There was no one else to find for that
b. Der wie oars gjinien foar te finen
there was else no.one for to find
They could not find anyone for that

Count Frisian Language Corpus:

Table 2
gjinien oarsno one else 27
oars gjinienotherwise no one 46
Furthermore, in Early Modern Frisian the situation is the reverse of the one in Modern Frisian: the figures for nimmen oarsnobody else show that the word order influenced by Dutch is less frequent than the 'native' word order (p = 3.8%).

Early Modern Frisian (1550-1800):

Table 3
nimmen oarsnobody else 1
oars nimmenotherwise nobody 4

  • Hoekstra, Eric & Versloot, Arjen2011Attraction between words as a function of frequency and representational distance: how words affect each other in the bilingual brain
  • Slofstra, Bouke, Hoekstra, Erik & Versloot, Arjen2009Een voorbeeld van gecamoufleerde taalbeïnvloeding: samenstellingsvormen van sjwasubstantieven in het FriesTaal en Tongval6121-44
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