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6.5 The nature of APs which fail to occur in a predication

Some adjectives cannot be used attributively, whereas some others cannot be used predicatively.


Some transitive adjectives can be used predicatively but not attributively. An example is given below:

Du bääst neen grote Bone wäid.
you are no big bean worth
You are not worth a big bean.
*‘n Neen grote Bone wäiden Mon.
a no big bean woth man
A man not worth a big bean.

Other adjectives can be used attributively but not predicatively, like for example adjectives ending in the suffix –er. This includes geographical adjectives. An example of the latter is given below:

Ju Seelter Sproake.
the Saterland Frisian language
The Saterland Frisian language.
*Ju Sproake is Seelter.
the language is Saterland Frisian
The language is Saterland Frisian.

Likewise, the adjectives linker ‘left’ and gjuchter ‘right’ cannot be used predicatively:

Sien linke Hounde.
his left hand
His left hand.
*Sien Hounde is linke.
his hand is left
His hand is left.

The reason could be semantic in the case of right and left. After all, these adjectives do not enter into a predicative construction in other languages either, such as English, even though these adjectives do not have the –er suffix in English.

With geographical adjectives, however, the reason seems to be morphological. If a geographical adjective takes on a different suffix, it can be used predicatively after all. An example is given below:

Ju düütske Sproake.
the German language
The German language.
Ju Sproake is düütsk.
the language is German
The language is German.

Thus geographical adjectives in –er do not occur in an predicative construction. In the attributive construction, they don’t bear distinct adjectival agreement in the form of a schwa or otherwise.

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