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Show all Interrogative pronouns

The interrogative pronouns wäl ‘who’ and wät ‘what’ are indeclinable in principle, although the interrogative possessive form wäls ‘whose’ is still in use (alsongside wäl si(e)n) (Laker & Kramer forthc.). p.c.).

Wäls Rääd ‘Whose bicycle?’
Wäl sien Toutällen? ‘Whose commitment?’

The interrogative determiner wäkker ‘what, which’ is inflected in the following way, according to Fort’s 2015 dictionary: (m.) wäkker, (f.) wäkke, (n.) wäkker, (pl.) wäkke.

Wäkker Koopman skuul sien aine Were ferachtje? ‘What merchant would despise his own merchandise?’
Wäkke Bäiste? ‘Which cows?’

The sources and informants often disagree, however. For instance: wäkken Räid reke jie uus? ‘what advice would you give us?’, where masculine wäkken is specified for oblique case (see also: Aden 2022: 102). The form wäkker is sometimes used for non-masculine and non-neuter nouns: in wäkker Huze ‘in which houses’, wäkker Mäme ‘what mother’. In wäkke Ruum (m.nom.) ‘which room’ and wäkke Jier (n.) ‘what year’, wäkke is (non-)inflected like the universal determiner älke, but in wäkket Huus, wäkket is inflected like a normal adjective (albeit influenced by Low German). It seems to be the case that several parallel systems are at work in spoken Saterland Frisian.

The expression wät (...) foar is often used as an alternative for wäkker.

Wie häbe ja blouked wät foar 'n Nutsen die Kunstdunger broacht hät. ‘We have seen what advantage was brought by fertilizer.’

The adverbial wo ‘how’ can modify adjectives (e.g. wo groot ‘how large’) as well as noun phrases: wo n groot Huus ‘how large a house’. The same is true for so: so groot ‘so large’, so’n (or: sun) groot Huus ‘so lage a house’.

  • Aden, Menno E. (2022). Über die friesische Sprache des osterlauwersfriesischen/ostfriesischen Kulturraumes. Grammatikalische Zusammenfassungen, Dialektvergleiche und rekonstuktive Annäherungen. Oldenburger Studien Band 97. Oldenburg: Oldenburgische Landschaft, Isensee Verlag.
  • Laker & Kramer forthc.: Laker, Stephen & Pyt Kramer. Forthc. 2024. Relativsätze im Saterfriesischen. [Studies in Memory of Hans Frede Nielsen.] Nowele Supplement Series vol. 34. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
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