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6.3 Object pronouns

The table of the overview of weak and strong subject and object pronouns gives rise to the following observations:

  • The /n/ of the weak object pronoun is the same as the /n/ for non-nominative agreement, in case that distinction is made by determiners.
  • The object pronouns are not systematically related to their subject equivalents, but they tend to share a phonological similarity, either a vowel or a consonant, in most cases.
  • The following pairs of subject and object pronoun lack a phonological similarity: juhier ‘she her’, wie uus ‘we us’, jo him ‘they them’.

Below we discuss some more aspects of object pronouns.


The non-subject forms are not only used for direct objects, indirect objects and adpositional objects, but also in the predicate position of copular verbs (intransitive aspectual predication):

Wan iek die waas, geen iek deer nit wai.
if I.NOM you.NNOM was went I there not to
If I were you, I wouldn’t go there.

So ordinary pronouns receive non nominative case within VP, even if they are predicated of the subject. German feature a nominative pronoun in such cases. However, in case Sater Frisian employs a topic pronoun (a nominalised demonstrative), then it does display nominative case (like German), as in the following example:

Dät is die, ap dän jie al immer täiwed häbe.
that is 3MSC.SG.NOM on REL.3MSC.SG.NNOM you already continually waited have
He’s the one for whom you have been waiting the whole time.

The internal structure of the topic pronoun may well be different from the internal structure of the personal pronoun, and this difference can be used to construct case marking analyses which adequately describe these data. The weak object forms are being ousted. In older sources, they may be encountered. An example is given below:

Do noom hie dän tjukke Stok, un troalde ene stuuf ou.
then took he the thick stick and bent 3MSC right off
And then he took the thick stick and bent it all the way up.

The weak 3SG FEM (ze) is ousted by ju, which is homophonous to the subject pronoun and to the demonstrative pronoun (and article). The weak 3SG MSC (ne) is ousted by the strong form him ‘him’ in case it refers to persons, and by the demonstrative dän in case it refers to things. The weak 3PL (ze) is ousted by the strong equivalent him ‘them’, and as well by the demonstrative do ‘them’ and again the demonstrative is in those cases restricted to things. As a topic pronoun, it is not thus restricted. Furthermore, the weak pronouns are not found as adpositional objects. Note incidentally, that Strücklingen and Utende drop the initial h- of the basic pronouns. On adpositional objects, see: R-pronouns (9).

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