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4.8 Bare nominal attribution

Constructions of bare nominal attribution consist of two nouns. An example is given below:

Kening Herodes.
king Herod
King Herod.

The first noun specifies a class, and the second noun gives the proper name for a member of that class. Thus the construction consists of:

  • A NP attributing a kind of class to the content NP
  • A content NP containing a proper name

Various classes may appear in this construction, such as titles, family titles designating relations and geographical classes. The two NPs appear in a bare construction, that is, there is no adposition fon ‘of’ or other element joining the two NPs.


Some further examples of bare nominal attribution have been given below:

Oom Bertus un Möie Thea.
uncle Bertus and aunt Thea
Uncle Bertus and aunt Thea.
Min littje Bruur Hubert.
my little brother Hubert
My little brother Hubert.

These examples involve family relations, in which the first NP specifies the type of family relation, and the second NP gives the proper name of the person involved in the family relation. Example (3) could perhaps be analysed as an apposition as well, in which case it is ambiguous. It can be pronounced with a comma intonation (signalling an apposition), but it can also be pronounced without a comma intonation (signalling a nominal attribution). The construction is also found with geographical nouns:

Ju froaie Stääd Bamberg, dät fränkische Rom.
the nice city Bamberg the Franconian Rome
The nice city of Bamberg, the Franconian (equivalent of) Rome.
Ju säärm boalde nu oaber sien bääst plat, ofwäil ju uut ju groote hoochdüütske Stääd Lier kumt.
she self spoke now but her best Low German though she out the big High.German town Leer comes
But now she herself spoke her best Low German, though she comes from the big High German city of Leer.

The examples make it clear that the partitive noun may be preceded by the definite article and by APs. In the following examples, the order of class noun and proper noun is reversed. the proper noun precedes the noun designating the group or class to which a specific person belongs:

Dät Huber Wieuw.
that Huber wife
The Huber woman.
Dät Schmidt Moanske.
the Schmidt person
The Schmidt woman.

Here the article is determined by the second NP. The construction was used in the past to refer to people who are not Saterlanders. In case it would be used for Saterlanders, it would have a negative connotation. Nowadays, the construction is felt to be negative, regardless of whom it refers to.

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