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The unproductive, non-Germanic suffix -ist derives nouns from nouns or adjectives, and in one case of a verb. Examples are resp. oargelorgan > oargelistorganist and sosjaalsocial > sosjalistsocialist. All derivations have common gender.

[+] General properties

The suffix -ist has a non-Germanic origin. Although fairly widespread, it is unproductive. Alle derivations have common gender. Bases can be nouns and adjectives, and in one case there is a verbal base.

[+] Nominal base

Examples where the base is a noun can be found below. It should be noted that proper names may also function as input:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
oargelorgan oargelistorganist
harpharp harpistharpist
pianopiano pianistpianist
fioeleviolin fioelistviolinist
masineengine masinistengineer
kapitaalcapital kapitalistcapitalist
BoedhaBuddha boedhistBuddhist
KalvynCalvin kalvinistCalvinist
alkoholalcohol alkoholistalcoholic
AlpenAlps alpinistAlpinist
analyseanalysis analistanalyst
anargyanarchy anargistanarchist
automobylcar automobilistcar driver
basbass bassistbass player
bibelBible biblisttheologian
koloanjecolony kolonistcolonist
telefoantelephone telefonisttelephonist
blomflower blommistflorist
columncolumn columnistcolumnist
toertour toeristtourist
dokumintdocument dokumintalistdocumentarian
ekshibisjonismeexhibitionism ekshibisjonistexhibitionist
yntellektualismeintellectualism yntellektualistintellectualist
ekspresjeexpression ekspresjonistexpressionist
EsperantoEsperanto esperantistEsperantist
FryskFrisian frisistFrisist
GermaanskGermanic germanistGermanist
Most bases are non-Germanic, but the suffix has been extended to some native bases, as for example blomflower. Both full words and bounded stems can occur as a base. In other cases, the derivation is primarily related to another formation with exchange of suffixes. An example is ekshibisjonismeexhibitionism ~ ekshibisjonistexhibitionist.

In practice, however, it will often be the case that the formation is loaned in its entirety. Possible candidates for this option are:

  • futuristfuturist which is related to the French word futurefuture;
  • komponistcomposer which is entirely loaned from the Italian componistacomposer;
  • nudistnudist which has a classical, Latin, base nudusnaked;
  • linguïstlinguist which has a classical, Latin, base lingualanguage;
  • juristjurist, lawyer which has a classical, Latin base iūsright.
The derivations from nominal bases can have various meanings:
  • "someone who follows {noun}": a kalvinistCalvinist is a follower of KalvynCalvin;
  • "someone who studies {noun}": a germanistGermanist studies Germaanske talenGermanic languages or a biblisttheologian studies the bibelBible;
  • "someone who plays the {noun}": a pianistpianist plays the pianopiano;
  • "someone who practises {noun}": an esperantistEsperantist practises EsperantoEsperanto;
  • "someone who uses/drives {noun}: an automobilistcar driver drives an auto(mobyl)car and a telefonisttelephonist uses the telefoantelephone.
Still, there are derivations that do not fit in the descriptions given above; an alkoholistalcoholic is "someone who is addicted to {noun}" ( alkoholalcohol), a columnistcolumnist is "someone who produces {noun}" ( columnscolumns) and an alpinistAlpinist is someone who likes to climb mountains, not specifically in the Alps.

[+] Adjectival base

Nouns in -ist with an adjectival base are less frequent. Examples are given below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
passyfpassive passivistpassivist
aktyfactive aktivistactivist
ekstreemextreme ekstremistextremist
spesjaalspecial spesjalistspecialist
ynternintern ynternistinternist
modernmodern modernistmodernist

Some formations with -ist are only seemingly derived from an adjective. A sosjalistsocialist, for example, is not a social person in the first place, but rather an adherent of sosjalismesocialism. And a humanisthumanist is not someone who is humaanhuman, but rather someone who has humanismehumanism as his conviction. These formations display affix substitution. Some formations may be ambiguous. For example, an ekstremistextremist may be extreme, or he is an adherent of some form of extremism.

[+] Verbal base

In case of typisttypist, the base is a verb, i.e. typeto type. This is the only example where a verb is the base form.

[+] Phonological properties

The suffix -ist bears the main stress of the word, which results in a stress shift: OARgel > oargeLIST, akTYF > aktiVIST, etcetera. As can be seen, the suffix is cohering.

An effect of the stress shift may be that the vowel preceding the suffix may be shorter than the corresponding one in the base. Examples are kapitaal[kapita:l]capital > kapitalist[kapitalɪst]capitalist and humaan[hyma:n]humane > humanist[hymanɪst]humanist. This vowel also need not necessarily have undergone the diphthongization of its stressed cognate, cf. koloanje[ko:lo.əⁿjə]colony > kolonist[ko:lo:nɪst]colonist and telefoan[te:ləfo.ən]telephone > telefonist[te:ləfo:nɪst]telephonist.

If the base ends in a vowel, this may have been truncated: piano[pia:no:]piano > pianist[pianɪst]pianist, fioeleviolin > fioelistviolinist and BoedhaBuddha > boedhistBuddhist. Truncation is not obligatory, however, as can be seen in words like egoïst[e:ɡo:ɪst]egoist (< ego[e:ɡo:]ego), prozaïst[pro:zaɪst]proser (< proaza[pro.əza:]prose) and hoboïst[ho:bo:ɪst]oboist (< hobo[ho:bo:]oboe).

[+] Morphological potentials

The derivations can be the first part of a compound. In that case, a linking element -e- is added: toerist-e-belestingtourist fee or sosjalist-e-bewegingsocialist movement. They can be input for other suffixes as well, like -(y)sk in sosjalistysksocialistic and kapitalistyskcapitalistic and -e in fioelistefemale violinist.

[hide extra information]
x Literature

This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:101) and De Haas and Trommelen (1993:224-225).

  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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