Contraction in the Schiermonnikoog Frisian Language

Written by Dyami Millarson

I will offer three examples of contraction in the Schiermonnikoog Frisian language (schi1234) in today’s article. Contraction is the shortening of any phonetic unit, which results in the merging of this phonetic unit with another.

Contraction occurs in the English language in the following examples:

  • I am > I’m
  • I have > I’ve
  • There is > there’s
  • He has not > he hasn’t

The following three sentences contain an instance of contraction in the Schiermonnikoog Frisian language:

  • Dat is aik ‘n ‘t gúed. That isn’t good either. (This sentence was uttered by Remkje Visser.)
  • Atter mair tò sjain wie, súe ik hier wal blieuwe. If there were more to see, I would have stayed here. (Wal has been omitted from the translation, this word is a rejection of the negation; the wal clause is basically expressing that the listener wouldn’t be right to think the speaker would leave if there were more to see, yet provided there is nothing more to see, the speaker feels justified to leave.)
  • Aste dat feur my dochst’, biste in jaiven kairel. If thou doest that for me, thou art a lovely bloke. (This is the manner in which the elderly, particularly females, might say “please” to a younger male person. It gives an idea of how age and sex-based politeness works.)

Remkje Visser used the contraction of the first example a lot during my interviews with her. She used ‘n ‘t not especially in conjunction with aik also, pronouncing the combination as akkent [ˈʔäkənt]. The glottal stop in my IPA transcription is no mistake: there is a glottal stop at the beginning of that word which is the result of contraction.

This is where the three Schiermonnikoog Frisian contractions come from:

  • ‘n ‘t is a contraction of net not;
  • Atter is a contraction of at or as if and der there;
  • Aste is a contraction of as if and thou.

6 comments

  1. I’m Dutch myself, but I must say that it’s very hard to understand Frisian, let alone speak it. Hats off to your hard work!

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  2. I am Dutch. On my first visit to my then boyfriend’s family he had to translate everything his parents said. Frisian – as a language – is that different from Dutch. Its culture as well. The Frisians are extremely loyal and their quest for righteousness is strong. That was still so, in the 70ties. I don’t know about now, because since then we have lived in Holland, Germany, and the USA for about 4 decades. Thanks for visiting! Emille (Jesh)

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