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8.3 Interrogative pronouns in embedded clauses

Interrogative pronouns can all be used to introduce embedded questions. Two examples are given below:

Iek fräigede him, wät hie in de Taaske hiede.
I asked him what he in the pocket had
I asked him what he had in his pocket.
Fräigjet deerätter, wäl ‘t wäid is, jou aptouniemen.
ask it.after who it worth is you up.take
Enquire who is worthy to take you in.
Iek kon nit kwede, wanner iek Tied foar die häbe skäl.
I can not say when I time foar you have shall
I can’t say when I will have time for you.

Saterland Frisian does not add a complementiser to interrogative or relative pronouns at the beginning of the clause, unlike West Frisian. See also: Free relative clauses and selected interrogative clauses (3.7).

Various aspects of the interrogative pronouns in embedded clauses are discussed in the sections below.

[+]1. Embedded clauses

A yes-no question is signalled in a main clause by putting the tensed verb at the beginning of the clause, as in the following example:

Häbe jie dät aal fersteen?
have you it all understood
Did you understand it all?
Sunt dät nit do Rieke, do jou deeltwinge?
are it not the rich who you down.force
Isn’t it the rich who oppress you?

In an embedded yes-no question, the complementiser of ‘or, whether’ appears at the beginning of the embedded clause:

Iek weet nit, of hie al ounkemen is.
I know not or he already arrived is
I don’t know whether he arrived already.
Läitet uus daach sjo, of Elija kumt un him andeelnimt.
let us but see or Elija comes and him down.takes
Let’s see if Elija comes and takes him down.

The neutral complementiser is dät ‘that’, signalling that no question is involved. Both of ‘whether, if’ and dät ‘that’ are restricted to embedded tensed clauses. Some other examples of embedded questions, introduced by interrogatives, are given below:

Iek weet nit, wieruum du dät dääst.
I know not why you it did
I don’t know why you did that.
So koast du die deerfon uurtjuugje, wo trjou ju Lere is, wieroane du undergjucht wuust.
so can you REFL it.of ascertain how reliable the teaching is which.in you instructed were
Thus you can make sure for yourself how reliable the teaching is, in which you were instructed.
[+]2. Free relative clauses

Interrogative pronouns are also used to introduced free relative clauses. An example is given below:

Du koast outonkje, wanner du wolt.
you can off.thank when you want
You can go away, whenever you want.

Free relatives are sometimes signalled by a free choice element inside the relative clause. Such a free choice element is uk ‘also’, or it may be immer ‘ever’, possibly a loan from German. A subset of interrogative pronouns is used to introduce free relative clauses.

[+]3. Elliptical questions

An elliptical question is a reduced question which can be reconstructed from the previous discourse. An example from West Frisian has been provided below:

Ien fan ‘e bern hat myn bân leechrinne litten.
one of the children has my tyre deflate let
One of the kids deflated my tyre.
Wa dat?
who that
Who was it?

The last example has the interpretation of a complete question which can be retrieved from the previous utterance. This phenomenon should be investigated for Saterland Frisian.

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