As-ferlikingen as konstruksjes


  • F. van der Kuip


In Frisian, as in English or Dutch, as-similes of the type (sa) Adj as N may appear in several ways. Either the noun, as the element of comparison, still has its literal meaning (e.g. sa skier as in doffert, lit. ‘as greyish as a male pigeon’), or it has lost it (e.g. sa skier as Yfke, lit. ‘as greyish as Yfke [a girl’s name]’), or it lacks any meaning (e.g. sa skier as ien, lit. ‘as greyish as anyone’). Nevertheless, in all three cases language users have no doubts about the meaning of these similes. They all share the same meaning: ‘very greyish’.

     This article tries to illustrate that the intensive meaning of an as-simile is not primarily situated in the constituents, but rather in the construction, the frame itself. This construction, with its special meaning, must somehow be stored in the mental lexicon together with all individual conventionalized as-similes. Otherwise, there is no explanation as to why weird similes like sa blau as in banaan (lit. ‘as blue as a banana’, meaning ‘very blue’) are possible and understandable.