Fryske taboeminimalisearders en harren gebrûksfrekwinsje


  • G. de Jong



When a speaker wishes to charge his utterance with emotions and (tempo­rarily) doesn’t bother about social conventions, he can use a taboo mini­mizer. Such a minimizer consists of a negative element followed by a tabooed N. This article shows which Frisian taboo terms can function as the N and what their user frequency is. This has been investigated on the internet, as this is preeminently a place where emotional messages can be expected. Google searches demonstrate that Frisian has at least 23 taboo words showing up as a minimizer. The output can be subdivided into three cate­gories: 1) obscenities, 2) religion and superstition and 3) diseases. The first category is the most extensive, the second category is the most frequent, while the third category consists of only one word. The four most popular taboo minimizers are bliksem (‘lightning’), reet (‘ass’), donder (‘thunder’) and sek (‘scrotum’), and the fifth position is shared by barst (‘crack’) and moer (‘mother’). The last two illustrate the idiomatic character of mini­mizers: moer and barst have an unclear denotation, but when used as the N in a minimizer it is perfectly clear what they mean.