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Gustatory perception

The unmarked verbs of gustatory perception are priuwe taste and smeitsje taste. The latter can be used as an intransitive evidential copula in certain collocations. It seems that the relation between these two verbs is the same as that between the transitive and the intransitive-evidential use of perception verbs, i.e., these two verbs are a pair. Priuwe taste is the verb of perception, smeitsje taste is the evidential verb, which usually retains its perceptual meaning alongside its evidential interpretation.


The unmarked verbs of gustatory perception is not normally used as an evidential copula, as shown below:

a. *It priuwt ferkeard (wat se dogge)
it tastes wrong what they do
It tastes wrong (that they are doing)
b. *It smakket ferkeard (wat se dogge)
it tastes wrong what they do
It tastes wrong (that they are doing)

However, nineteenth-century Frisian testifies to examples like the following, which are unusual in Modern Frisian:

Dyn teltsje hat my goed smakke
your tale has me good tasted
Your tale pleased me

This example is similar to the evidential use of verb of visual, auditory and tactile perception. The difference is that the role of evaluator has been realised as an indirect object Noun Phrase (NP). The evaluator is not normally expressed with other evidentials deriving from perception verbs, and, if it is, it is expressed as an Adposition Phrase (PP), not as a indirect object.

In addition, the example in (2) above makes it clear that the verb of gustatory perception can easily be used in the perfect tense:

De kofje hat my goed smakke
the coffee has me good tasted
I liked the coffee

This may perhaps be related to the fact that this verb, as a perception verb, has an argument structure in which the perceiver is not realised in the structural subject position, as with the other perception verbs, but as an indirect object, although it is not clear how this difference in argument structure would affect the possibility of putting the sentence in the perfect tense.

The verb smeitsje taste can also be used with abstract themes accompanied by an evaluative Adjective Phrase (AP) in collocations, as in the following example involving the collocation bitter smeitsje leave a bitter taste, in which the perception is no longer gustatory in the literal sense:

Dizze grap hat Doeke Daan bitter smakke
this joke has Doeke Daan bitter taste
This joke left Doeke Daan with a bitter taste

There is also a contemporary idiom in which smeitsje taste does not have its gustatory interpretation. This is the collocation nei mear smeitsje Lit: taste of more.

Sa'n avontoerke as okkerdeis yn dat lege hûs smakke nei mear
such.an adventure as some.time.ago in that empty house tasted to more
He would like to have more adventures like the one he had some time ago in that empty house

This verb can be used without an indirect object and without an evaluative AP, while still retaining its perceptual and evidential interpretation. In the following example, the verb retains its literal gustatory meaning, but an AP carrying a positive evaluation is absent.

De slachter treau har in hap lekkere woarst yn 'e fingers. Dat smakke
the butcher pushed her a bite tasty sausage in the fingers that tasted
The butcher handed her a tasty piece of sausage. It tastes very well

Apparently, the verb itself may carry a positive evaluative meaning in case an evaluative AP is absent. As a result, the verb can be negated in order to carry a negative evaluative meaning, as in the following example:

De kofje smakke net
the coffee tasted not
The coffee did not leave a good taste
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