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-ert
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The suffix -ert can be attached to four categories of base forms:

  • adjectives: gjirrichstingy > gjirrichertmiser;
  • verbs: glûpeto sneak > glûpertsneak;
  • geographical names: SpanjeSpain > SpanjertSpaniard;
  • nouns: tûfecrest > tûfertbird with a crest.
All derivations have common gender, and in most of the cases personal nouns are derived. As far as the suffix is still productive, this might only be with adjectival and verbal bases. In that case, the derivations often have a negative connotation. Comparable suffixes that form such negative nouns are -(e)ling, -DIM and -sma and -stra.

The suffix has two variants, -tsjert and -kert, the latter often attached to bases ending in a vowel.

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[+] Derivations with an adjectival base

The suffix -ert still seems productive in deriving nouns from adjectives. Examples are listed below:


Table 1
Base form Derivation
lomprude lompertlout
goochemsly goochemertsly foxstupid person
gjirrichstingy gjirrichertmiser
stikemsecret stikemertsneak, sneaky person
sleaunegligent sleaukertnegligent person
lytssmall lytskertbaby, small object

These derivations with an adjectival base always denote persons, often with a negative connotation. This implies that the suffix is not added to adjectives with a positive impact, like for instance aardichkind: we do not have a formation *aardichert.

Secondly, -ert can be added to a verb. Here, the suffix may also be productive. Examples are:


Table 2
Base form Derivation
glûpeto sneak glûper(t)sneak
stjonketo stink stjonker(t)stinker
streupeto poach streuper(t)poacher
flaai(kj)eto flatter flaai(k)er(t)flatterer
klinketo sound klinker(t)vowel, clinker
poepeto defecate poepertass

The derivations are person names (the first four examples) or instrument names (the two last ones).

It is likely that the suffix -ert came into existence through epithesis/t/ (the so-called paragogic /t/) of derivations with the suffix -er. It is striking that there is a good deal of variation between a form with and without final [t] in most of the forms. An example is flaai(k)ert next to flaai(k)erflatterer. Derivations with Hoekstra (1998: 105)-ert often have a pejorative connotation, while -er is neutral.

[+] Derivations with a geographical name as a base

There are two examples in which a geographical name can be the base: the inhabitant names > SpanjertSpaniard (from SpanjeSpain) and Bil(t)ker(t)inhabitant of the Bilt area (from BiltBilt, an area in the north of the province of Fryslân). In case of Bil(t)ker(t), both [t]-s are optional, but addition of [k] is obligatory.

[+] Derivations with a nominal base

Finally, there are derivations with a nominal base, but they do not belong to the daily language anymore. A few examples can be mentioned and in all of them an extra phonological process occurs:

  • In tûfe[tufə]crest > tûfert[tufət]a bird with a crest the schwa of the base form has been deleted;
  • In moarmer[mṷarmə]marble > moarmert[mṷarmət]marble marble, i.e. a small hard ball of marble used by children to play the game of marbles the second syllable of the base form has been truncated;
  • In dau[dɔ.u]dew > daukert[dɔ.ukət]dew worm the segment [k] has been added.
[hide extra information]
x Opaque derivations

There are a few opaque derivations in -ert which are still in use. One example is stakker(t)poor wretch, which is related to Old-Norwegian stafkarl and literally means man with a rod (see the entry in etymologiebank). Another example is stumper(t)pauper, which probably comes from stompstump (idem).

[+] The variants -kert and -tsjert

In several derivations we see a segment /k/ preceding the suffix -ert. With nominal bases, its source may be a diminutive form. lytskertbaby; small object, for example, may have been derived from lyts-kesmall-DIMsmall one. Attachment of -ert then results in lytskert. Verbal bases may have provided a base with /k/ after derivation with the suffix -k (for this suffix, see -k deriving verbs from verbs). Thus next to flaaieto flatter there is flaaikjeto flatter continuously, which may have been the source for flaaikertflatterer. Possibly, the variant -kert may have been abstracted from these sources, resulting in an independent variant as in moaikertbeautiful object, sleaukertnegligent person or skierkerthooded crow; old man. Furthermore, parallellism with the allomorphy that exists in diminutives may have led to the allomorph -tsjert. We see this form in the birdnames gieltsjertyellow-hammer and grautsjertcorn-bunting. It is striking that many derivations are attached to a base ending in a vowel. The segment /k/ could have the function of a hiatus filler here.

[hide extra information]
x

This topic is mainly based on Hoekstra (1998:104-105).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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