Usage of "ten"

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mr_psm
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Usage of "ten"

Post by mr_psm » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:41 am

I often see the word "ten" in dutch before another word, yet I cannot find any adequate explanation, nor is a woordenboek any use. Does anybody have a brief, simple answer? Thanks!

ngonyama
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Re: Usage of "ten"

Post by ngonyama » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:38 pm

Ten is a contraction of the preposition te and the definite article. Nowadays that article is either het or de, but in the past there were more forms. The preposition used to be followed by a dative case and the contraction can either be ten or ter. It is a real relic from the days we had case endings and only occurs in a number of fossilized idioms.

In masculine singular, neutral singular and plural it would be te +den ==> ten

What is left of that today is mostly the neuter sing. case:

het eerste --- ten eerste
het beste --- ten beste
het doel ---- ten doel

There are some masculine dative cases left:
de aanval === ten aanval

In feminine singular the contraction would be te + der ==> ter

Today this is mostly used with verbal nouns ending on -ing and this is the only example that is still a bit productive today

de verduidelijking --- ter verduidelijking
de wikifiëring --- ter wikifiëring

but there are a few other cases
de stad === ter stede

There are a few oddities that demonstrate how corrupt the case system had become before it collapsed, e.g.

het hart --- ter harte

mr_psm
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Re: Usage of "ten"

Post by mr_psm » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:43 pm

Many thanks!

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