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Adverbial compounds consisting of two adverbs are rare. Most of them can be characterized as univerbations, for instance knaphandich quite skilful, from knap well plus handich skilful. In this example the first element has an intensifying function, but this is not always the case.


Complex words consisting of two adverbs are rare. Perhaps the most common are univerbations of an adverb preceded by a degree adverbial. In this way, a compound like moaiwis beautiful-sure might be connected to expressions like it is moai wis dat ... it is beautifully sure that ... it is [(Adv) beautifully] [(A)sure] that ... it is pretty sure that .... The following adverbs are examples:

Table 1
First constituent (Adv) Second constituent (Adv) Univerbation (AdvAdv)
knap well handich skilful knaphandich quite skilful
moai well; (beautifully) wis sure moaiwis pretty sure
ridlik reasonably gau fast rillegau pretty fast

The first constituent in rillegau pretty fast comes from the degree adverb ridlik plus an emphatic marker -e. The deletion of /d/ must be a side-effect of univerbation.

The first element with the function of a degree adverbial is less conspicuous in the examples fuortdaliks immediately and fuortynienen immediately, where the constituting elements fuort, daliks and ynienen all mean something like immediately and so do their concatenations. Nevertheless, it may be the case that the univerbation itself has a strengthening effect, and no doubt it has an emphatic function. The same will apply to strakaansen soon (from strak(s) soon and aansen(s) presently) and aanstendalik immediately (from aanst(en) presently and dalik immediately).

Examples of AdvAdv compounds mentioned in the literature are words like lêstendeis recently, lêstenjûns the other evening or lêstenmoarns the other morning. They consist of the adverb lêsten recently and a time adverbial ending in the suffix -s. The second member may be complex, for example in lêstensneontejûns recently-saturday-LK-evening-SUFF the other Saturday evening (where -te- is a linking element). An element with comparable semantic properties is the prefix okker-. For some differences, see the Extra a synonymous compound in the relevant topic.

The adverbial compounds do not show a coordinate variety, in contrast to other main lexical classes like nouns, verbs and adjectives. Such compounds often have comparable coordinate constructions with an overt conjunction, called respectively binomial, biverbial and bi-adjectival expressions. In the same vein, the doublet hjir en dêr here and there might be called a bi-adverbial expression.


The univerbations are briefly dealt with in Hoekstra (1998:56), under the heading of AA univerbation however. He mentions the compounds with lêsten- on page 156, and the bi-adverbial expression on page 34.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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