• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
-aar and -enaar
quickinfo

-aar[ar] is a Germanic, cohering, unstressed suffix that creates names of people and things from verbs, nouns, geographical names and occasionally from stems of other categories. It is an allomorph of -er, occurring mainly after dental consonants. -aar itself it has an allomorph-enaar whose distribution is not completely predictable. In some of its uses, -aar is in complementary distribution with -(d)er. -aar formations are of common gender, with a plural mostly in -s, in the case of person names sometimes -en.

readmore

-aar[ar] (allomorph -enaar[ənar]) is a Germanic suffix of Latin origin (-arius, e.g. in Lat. molinariusmiller). Its allomorph -er, a form that is reduced further, is much more frequent: -aar occurs mainly after dental consonants. The suffix creates deverbal person names (e.g. wandelaarwalker), denominal person names (e.g. schuldenaardebtor < schulddebt), inhabitant nouns (e.g. Texelaarsomeone from Texel) and names for inanimate entities (schakelaarswitch < schakelento switch). In some of its uses it is in complementary distribution with its reduced form -(d)er.

Nominalising -aar combines productively with Germanic verbs stem ending in schwa plus a dental sonorant consonant (/l/, /n/, /r/).

[hide extra information]
x

The suffix -aar[ar] should not be confused with the unproductive suffix -elaar that makes tree names as in appelaarapple tree, witness kerselaarcherry tree (< kers) and notelaarnut tree (< noot).

Following De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 170 ff) we can distinguish four subclasses of -aar derivations, of which only the first one is productive:

  • The largest category of -aar formations derives from German verb stems in schwa plus dental sonorant consonant (l, n, r) (wandelaarwalker < wandel[wɑn-dəl]walk). Deverbal aar formations are agent nouns (a wandelaarwalker is 'someone who walks'), with two notable exceptions, to wit gijzelaarhostage (< gijzelento take hostage) and martelaarmartyr (martelento torture).
    [hide extra information]
    x

    It is easy to find instances of gijzelaarhostage and martelaarmartyr in which they have an agent noun reading, i.e. kidnapper and torturer, resepctively. This may be taken as an indication that many language users tend to take the agentive reading of the suffix as default.

    In certain cases of obligatory transitive base verbs , -aar derivation is possible only if the verb's direct object is realized as well, either as the lefthand part of a compound or as a prepositional object.


    Table 1
    hij verbetert auto's *verbeteraar autoverbeteraar verbeteraar van auto's
    he improves cars improver car improver improver of cars, car improver
    hij beoefent sporten *beoefenaar sportbeoefenaar beoefenaar van sporten
    he practices sports practicer sports practicioner, sportsman practicioner of sports, sportsman
    Certain types of verbs stems do not allow for -aar derivation:
    • ergative verbs, i.e. verbs that take zijnbe as the perfect auxiliary, e.g. no *verouderaar from verouderento age.
    • psychological verbs in which the direct object is affected by the verb, e.g. no *verbijsteraar from verbijsterenbewilder or *prikkelaar from prikkelenstimulate.
    • obligatory reflexive verbs, e.g. no *herinneraar from zich herinnerenoneself rememberremember or *toeëigenaar from zich toeëigenenoneself at-ownto appropriate.
    Certain formations are in -aar where we would have expected -er on the basis of the phonological make-up of the stems, e.g. leraarteacher (< lerenlearn, teach) (in technical prose, leerder is used as a translation for student or learner), dienaarservant (< dienenserve) (cf., however diendercop), minnaarlover (< minnenlove), winnaarwinner (< winnenwin). Also exceptional or unexpected: jodeleryodeller next to jodelaaryodeller, tovenaarsorcerer rather than *toveraar (< toveren), schilderpainter rather than ?schilderaar (OK in Belgium in the meaning 'house painter') (< schilderenpaint). duikelaarsnakebird (Anhinga Anhinga) (< duikelentumble) and rammelaarmale rabbit (< rammelenrattle) are names of animals rather than people.

  • With a nominal basis, the form of the affix usually is -enaar ([ənar]). The stems most often end in dental consonants, the results are agent nouns: a schuldenaardebtor is someone who has debts, a moordenaarassassin is someone who kills, a kunstenaarartist is someone who makes art.
    [hide extra information]
    x

    Exceptional are stedenaartownsman (< stadcity) which has lengthening, and eigenaarowner as it is de-adjectival. In zondaarsinner, leugenaarliar (< zondesin) and molenaarmiller (< zondesin) the form is -aar rather than -enaar; in the last two cases this may be the result of haplology (< leugen-enaar, molenen-enaar) (or molenaar is an old loan < Lat. molinariusmiller(Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie 1995)). lepelaarspoonbill (< lepelspoon) is not a human but an animal.

  • The affixes -aar and -enaar can be used productively to derive names for inhabitants of geographical entities such as cities and islands: Texelaarsomeone from (the island of) Texel, Maastrichtenaarinhabitant of (the city of) Maastricht. The -aar variant is found more in the Netherlands, -enaar is more popular in Belgium.
    [hide extra information]
    x

    If the basis ends in -en (/schwa n/), the final syllable is often deleted: Mechelaarsomeone from Mechelen, but not in bisyllabic stems (Leidenaarsomeone from Leiden).

  • The affixes -aar and -enaar can also be used to derive names for things, usually instrument names; the process is not productive. Most often the basis is verbal: schakelaarswitch (schakelento switch), regelaarregulator (< regelenregulate) (also as an action noun, meaning arranger, from another meaning of the same verb), rammelaarrattle (< rammelento rattle), occasionally it is a noun lessenaardesk (< leslesson) (Van der Sijs 2010), beeldenaareffigy (< beeldpicture).
    [hide extra information]
    x

    Due to the phonological make-up of the basis, one would have expected *openaar from openento open, but the attested form is opener.

    A rammelaar may also refer to a male hare or rabbit.

    Occasionally the meaning is passive, e.g. kittelaarclitoris from kittelento tickle.

Morphological potential: the plural is usually in -s (boekhandelaarsbook sellers), but sometimes in -en (Maastrichtenarenpeople from Maastricht, lerarenteachers - but note that leraarsteachers is widely attested in Belgium). -aar derivations can be input to derivation with -schap to form abstract nouns, e.g. martelaarschapmartyrdom. If an -aar derivation refers to a person, a female form can be derived by means of (stressed) -es (leraresfemale teacher) or (unstressed) -ster, (bewonderaarsterfemale admirer). In most cases of person names derived from geographical entities, a different strategy is followed, viz. addition of the suffix -e tot the pertinent adjective: Kosovaars-ewoman from Kosovo, Texels-ewoman from Texel(Booij 1997).

Phonological properties: -aar derivation does not change the stress pattern of the word: be'oordelento judge - be'oordelaarjudge. The affix carries secondary stress and is cohering, as it does not form a phonological word: syllabification overrides morphological bounderies: Texel.aar['tɛ-sə-lar].

[hide extra information]
x

See Broekhuis et al. to appear (1: ca. 95)

References:
  • Booij, Geert1997Allomorphy and the autonomy of morphologyFolia Linguistica3125-56
  • Broekhuis, Hans, Evelien Keizer & Dikken, Marcel den2012Grammar of Dutch: Nouns and noun phrasesAmsterdam University Press
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie1995Het Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (WNT)
  • Sijs, Nicoline van der2010Etymologiebank, http://etymologiebank.nl/
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • -er (nominal)
    [84%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ier
    [81%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -es
    [80%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ling
    [80%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • Nominal suffixation: diminutives
    [80%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -en
    [78%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adjectival suffixes > Noun as base
  • Ellipsis
    [78%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • In prenominal position
    [78%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • Cardinal numbers
    [78%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Numerals
  • -en
    [76%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Adverb as base
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • Root semantics
    [76%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification > 1.5. Tense, modality and aspect > 1.5.2. Modality
  • Mood
    [75%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification
  • Inflection and derivation
    [75%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification
  • Epistemic usage
    [74%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification > 1.5. Tense, modality and aspect > 1.5.2. Modality
  • Inf-nominalization (Infinitival nominals)
    [74%] Afrikaans > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1. Characterization and classification > 1.3 Derivation of nouns > 1.3.1. Deverbal nouns
Show more ▼
cite
print