Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsLike many other languages, Frisian also has modal verbs. Modal verbs are used in combination with another verb, the action verb. Here are some examples. "Ik kin net drave." I cannot run. "Mei ik hjir sitte?" Can I sit here? "Sille we mei ús allen ite?" Shall we eat together?

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 secondsNow let's look at the meaning of some modal verbs. In Frisian, there are five main modal verbs. "Kinne", which expresses possibility, or ability. To be able to, can. "Moatte", which expresses obligation. So to have to, or must. "Meie", which expresses permission. To be allowed to, may. "Wolle", which expresses desire. To want. And "sille", which expresses a promise or an offer. Will, would, should, shall. Now the modal verbs are conjugated irregularly in the third person singular. They do not have a "t" at the end of the verb. "Hy kin, hy mei, hy moat, hy wol, hy sil." The good news is, the rest of the verb is conjugated as a regular verb.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 secondsNow the word order in a sentence with a modal verb

Skip to 1 minute and 50 secondsis as follows: subject, modal verb, rest, action verb. For example, "Ik kin drave", I can run. "Ik kin net drave", I cannot run. "Ik wol ôfrekkenje", I want to pay. "Ik wol graach ôfrekkenje", I would like to pay. Now as you could see, the modal verb is always in the second position and the action verb is always at the end. In questions, the pronoun and the modal verb are swapped. "Mei ik sitte?" Can I sit? "Mei ik hjir sitte?" Can I sit here? "Sille we ite?" Shall we eat? "Sille we mei ús allen ite?" Shall we eat together? Finally, a few more examples from the dialogues. "Moatst skilderje?" Do you need to paint? "Wolst wat drinke?"

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 secondsWould you like something to drink? "Miskien kinst mei my rinne." Maybe you can walk with me. "Mei dat?" Is that allowed?

Watch and read: modal verbs

Watch the video about modal verbs and read the explanation below.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs are used to complement another verb, the action verb.

For example

Ik kin net drave. I cannot run.
Mei ik hjir sitte? Can I sit here?
Sille we mei ús allen ite? Shall we eat together?

Meaning

In Frisian there are five main modal verbs:

kinne possibility, ability (to be able to, can)
moatte obligation (to have to, must)
meie permission (to be allowed to, may)
wolle desire (to want)
sille promise, offer (will, would, should, shall)

Formation

Modal verbs are conjugated irregularly in the third person singular. They do not have a -t at the end of the verb: hy kin, hy mei, hy moat, hy wol, hy sil.

person/verb kinne meie moatte wolle sille
ik kin mei moat wol sil
do kinst meist moatst wolst silst
hy-sy/se-it kin mei moat wol sil
wy-we kinne meie moatte wolle sille
jim kinne meie moatte wolle sille
sy-se kinne meie moatte wolle sille
jo kinne meie moatte wolle sille

Word order

The word order in a sentence with a modal verb is as follows:

subject – modal verb – rest – action verb

For example:

Ik kin drave. I can run.
Ik kin net drave. I cannot run.
Ik wol ôfrekkenje. I want to pay.
Ik wol graach ôfrekkenje. I would like to pay.

With a yes/no question:

The word order in a yes/no question with a modal verb is as follows:

modal verb - subject - rest - action verb

Mei ik sitte? Can I sit?
Mei ik hjir sitte? Can I sit here?
Sille we ite? Shall we eat?
Sille we mei ús allen ite? Shall we eat together?

Practise with Quizlet

Would you like to practise Frisian grammar? Please visit our grammar section on modal verbs on Quizlet (you might like to open this link in a new window).

Do you have any questions about Frisian grammar? Follow the links below for more information. Share your comments and questions in the discussion below.

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Introduction to Frisian

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