The Verbal Group

Although Germanic verbs are often divided into weak and strong, a more sensible division in modern West Frisian is between Class I (ending in -e) and Class II (ending in -je). Class membership determines which endings a verb takes. The present-tense forms for the two classes are illustrated on Table 16.4. Recall that jo takes plural endings.

Strong verbs mainly end in -e and are therefore conjugated according to Class I. Verbs with stem changes ending in -je, of course, take the endings of Class II verbs. A number of verbs have irregular present-tense formation, often showing vowel changes in the second- and third-person singular forms: ik gean 'I go'; do giest 'you go'; hy giet 'he goes'; wy geane 'we go'. Other verbs reflect historical alternation between k and ts(j): ik meitsje 'I make'; do makkest 'you make'; hja makket 'she makes'; wy meitsje 'we make'.

It is possible to analyse all verbs as having the same personal endings in

Table 16.4 Present-tense verb endings

Person/Number Class I Class II

Table 16.4 Present-tense verb endings

Person/Number Class I Class II

Infinitive

meane 'to mow'

harkje 'to listen'

1 sg.

ik mean 'I mow9

ik harkje 'I listen'

2sg.

do meanst 'you mow'

do harkest 'you listen' hja harket 'she listens'

3 sg.

hja meant 'she mows'

pi.

wy meane 'we mow'

wy harkje 'we listen'

the simple past: no marker in the first- and third-person singular; -st in the second-person singular; and -en for all plurals and the jo form.

The simple past-tense stem for regular Class I verbs is formed by adding -de to the stem, or -te if the stem ends in a voiceless obstruent. Thus, the past tense of meane is meande, while that of r&ke 'smell' is rilkte. The personal endings are added to these forms. When a suffix with a schwa is added to a stem ending in schwa, only one schwa remains: meande plus -en produces meanden. Class Q verbs regularly produce the preterite by the addition of -e to the stem. Thus, the past tense of harkje 'listen* is harke. Strong verbs form the past tense by changes in the stem vowel and, less commonly, also by consonant changes. Compare fergeat 'forgot' and hong 'hung' with the infinitive/<?r/ifte and hingje. The same personal endings are used: do fergeatst 'you forgot'.

The formation of the past tense is illustrated on Table 16.5. The table also shows that the present participle is formed by adding -nd to the infinitive. The past participle is irregular for many historically strong verbs. For Class II verbs, it is identical to the past-tense stem. And for regular Class I verbs it is formed by the addition of -d or -f, the -t being suffixed to stems that take -te as the past-tense marker.

The present perfect consists of the inflected verb hawwe 'have' and the past participle, while the past perfect uses the preterite of hawwe as the auxiliary: ik ha songen 'I have sung', hja hiene songen 'they had sung'. The future consists of the inflected verb sille 'shall' and the infinitive (do silst sjonge 'you will sing'), and the future perfect consists of sille and the past participle of the verb, followed by hawwe in infinitive form (wy sille songen hawwe 'we will have sung'). Finally, the conditional is formed with the auxiliary soe (the past tense of sille) and the infinitive; the perfect conditional is also formed with soe, followed by the past participle and hawwe: jo soene harkje 'you would listen', do soest harke hawwe 'you would have listened'. Conditionals may also be created with past tense morphology. As in other Germanic

Table 16.5 Non-present verb forms

Person/Number

Class I

Classn

Strong verb

Infinitive

meane 'mow'

harkje 'listen*

sjonge 'sing'

Past 1 sg.

meande

harke

song

2sg.

meandest

harkest

songst

3 sg.

meande

harke

song

pi.

meanden

harken

songen

Present participle

meanend

harkjend

sjongend

Past participle

meand

harke

songen

Imperative

mean

harkje

sjong

languages, certain verbs, particularly those referring to changes in state and motion, take weze 'be' in place of hawwe.

Present-tense passives are created with the conjugated form of the verb wurde 'become' and the past participle: do wurdst sjoen 'you are seen'. The preterite passive is similar but uses the past tense of wurde: ik waard sjoen 'I was seen'. The present and past perfect passives are formed by the present and preterite inflected forms of weze, then the past participle, and followed optionally in some dialects by wurden (the past participle of wurde): ik bin sjoen (wurden) 'I have been seen', ik wie sjoen (wurden) 'I had been seen'. The future passive consists of the auxiliary sille, the past participle, and wurde in infinitive form (ik sil sjoen wurde 'I will be seen'), while die conditional passive is the same but uses soe (ik soe sjoen wurde 'I would be seen'). Finally, the future perfect passive consists of sille, the past participle, optionally includes wurden, and then the infinitive form weze: ik sil sjoen (wurden) weze 'I will have been seen'. The perfect conditional passive is the same, but uses soe in place of sille: ik soe sjoen (wurden) weze 'I would have been seen'.

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