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2.7 Articles

The definite article is inflected for gender, number and case, but only the masculine nominative article die is formally distinguished from its oblique counterpart dän. These ‘full’ article forms are identical to the distal demonstrative pronouns (but unstressed).

Table 1
m. f. n. pl.
die Disk ‘the table (m.nom) ju Säärke ‘the church (f.) dät Huus ‘the house (n.) do Ljude ‘the people (pl.)
dän Disk ‘the table (m.obl.)

Reduced article forms often occur after prepositions, verbs or conjunctions: apn Disk ‘on the table’, bie de Säärke ‘near the church’, in t Huus ‘in the house’; dät de Wareld rund is ‘that the world is round’, dät broachte de Säärke Ounsjoon ‘that rendered the Church prestige’; gratter as de Sunne ‘larger than the sun’. Some prepositions can optionally merge with the reduced article de into one orthographical word: appe (ap de), inne (in de), ättere (ätter de) etcetera.

Table 2
m. f. n. pl.
apn Disk ‘on the table’ bie de Säärke ‘near the church’ in t Huus ‘in the house’ in de Huze ‘in the houses’

The reduced forms are preferred when the noun phrase is not to be interpreted in a specific or contrastive sense. The full forms appear in contexts like the following: ap dän Thiebrocks Sloot twiske Potshuzen un Ubbehuzen ‘in the Thiebrock Ditch between Potshausen and Ubbehausen’ or ap dän 2. Oktober 1557 ‘on October 2nd 1557’. However, one may find sentences like: Ju roomske Kultuur waas wuddelk foar de dütske wied foaruut ‘the Roman culture was really far ahead of the German’.

The indefinite article is indeclinable n (e.g.: n Disk ‘a table’, n Säärke ‘a church’ etc.). Many speakers prefer the (German) form ne as a feminine indefinite article: ne Säärke ‘a church’. Indefinite plural noun phrases do not contain articles: Säärken ‘churches’.

In written Saterland Frisian, one is often confronted with the ‘full’ forms aan (m.sg) and een (rest). They are always pronounced as n, however. Aan and een are in fact numerals.

Impersonal pronouns (man, si(e)n, sik) are discussed under the heading personal pronouns.

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