• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
-te
quickinfo

The native suffix -te/tə/ derives nouns from adjectives. Examples are grutbig > gruttesize or stilsilent > stiltesilence. In these words the suffix is just added, but in some other words additional phonological processes may occur, like breaking (e.g. koel[ku.əl]cool > kuolte[kṷoltə]coolness) or shortening (e.g. heech[he:x]high > hichte[hɪxtə]height).

The general meaning performed by -te is something like "instance of being {adjective}". If scalar adjectives are involved, only those that represent the high value may take this suffix. If they do, the derivation with -te covers the whole scale, hence the low values too. For example, swierteweight can also be applied to light objects.

readmore
[+] General properties

The suffix -te/tə/ performs nominalisations on an adjectival base. Examples are given below:


Table 1
Base form Derivation
stilsilent stiltesilence
waarmwarm waarmtewarmth
grutbig gruttesize
heechhigh hichtehight
siikill syktedisease
romspacious romtespace
krapnarrow kraptenarrowness
droechdry droechtedrought

These derivations of -te mean "instance of being {adjective}". Stiltesilence, for example, means "the instance of being stilsilent", and waarmtewarmth stands for "the instance of being waarmwarm". All output forms have common gender, i.e. they take the definite article de.

[hide extra information]
x Variant of -te: -de

The adjective leafdear is special in the sense that it has to be followed by the variant -de instead of -te: leafdelove and not *leaftelove.

[+] -te as a nominalisation suffix for other lexical categories

Very rarely, the suffix takes a non-adjectival base. In two cases, an adverb is available: deldown > deltevalley and neinear > neitenearness. Furthermore, the indefinite numeral mannichmany may stand at the basis of the noun mannichtequantity.

It may seem that a verb is also used as a base, as in beloftepromise (< beloveto promise), bertebirth (< bernjeto be born) or jeftegift (< jaanto give). However, this suffix -t(e) is different from the one treated in this topic. More information about verbs nominalized by -t(e) can be found in the topic on -t.

[+] Semantic input restrictions

A semantic input restriction can be observed with objective and measurable nouns with the meaning "extent of being {adjective}" . Compare the first and second column of the following table:

Table 2
Adjective > noun Antonym adjective > noun
grutbig > gruttesize lytssmall > *lytstesmallness
swierheavy > swierteweight lichtlight > *lichttelightness
breedwide > breedtewidth smeltight > *smeltetightness
langlong > lingtelength koartshort > *koartteshortness
As can be seen, "high" measure adjectives like grutbig and swierheavy can undergo suffixation by -te, but their "low" counterparts within the same scale, lytssmall and lichtlight, cannot.

Dyk (1989:34-35) explains why the suffixation by means of -te is only possible for the adjectives in the first column: they are unmarked/neutral. Compare the following sentences:

Example 1

a. Syn tún is tsien fjouwerkante meter grut
his garden is ten square meter big
His garden is ten square meters big
b. Syn tún is tsien fjouwerkante meter lyts
his garden is ten square meter small
His garden is ten square meters small
Example 2

a. De poppe wie acht pûn swier
the baby was eight pounds heavy
The baby weighed eight pounds
b. De poppe wie acht pûn licht
the baby was eight pounds light
The baby weighed eight pounds
Example 3

a. De latte wie fyftjin sintimeter breed
the stave was fifteen centimeter wide
The stave was fifteen centimeters wide
b. De latte wie fyftjin sintimeter smel
the stave was fifteen centimeter narrow
The stave was fifteen centimeters narrow
Example 4

a. It nije Akademygebou is tritich meter lang
the new academy-building is thirty meters long
The new Academy building is thirty meters long
b. It nije Akademygebou is tritich meter koart
the new academy-building is thirty meters short
The new Academy building is thirty meters short

In the (a)-sentences the "high" measure-adjectives have been used and in the (b)-examples the "low" ones. In the first group the speaker does not evaluate the size, but in the second group he does. To illustrate: in (4a) the speaker does not appraise the size of the building, while in example (4b) he explicitly indicates that according to him the building is rather small.

[hide extra information]
x Remarks concerning suffixation in -te for measure adjectives

There are some cases in which -te is possible with the "low" antonyms:


Table 3
Adjective > noun Antonym adjective > noun
djipdeep > djiptedepth ûndjipshallow > ûndjipteshoal
wiidwide > wiidtewidth ingnarrow > ingtenarrowness

However, according to Dyk (1989:35) these examples do not denote the extent of being ûndjipshallow or ingnarrow, but rather the concrete situation of being ûndjipshallow or ingnarrow. Thus ûndjipteshoal refers to a concrete shallow place in the water, and an ingtenarrowness is a concrete narrow passage.

Conversely, there are also measure adjectives that do not allow -te at all. Examples are letlate > *lettetime and âldold > *âldteage. Conceivably, these are blocked since the competing words tiidtime and âldensage are available.

More information about the relationship between measure adjectives and -te can be found in Dyk (1989).

[+] Phonological properties

Suffixation normally occurs by just adding -te: grutbig > gruttesize or stilsilent > stiltesilence. However, some words undergo an extra phonological shift. The vowel of the base form can undergo:

  • Breaking, for instance koel[ku.əl]cool > kuolte[kṷoltə]coolness and swier[svi.ər]heavy > swierte[svɪtə]weight;
  • Shortening in heech[he:x]high > hichte[hɪxtə]hight;
  • other vowel changes: lang[laŋ]long > lingte[lɪŋtə]length.
There are also phonological input restrictions. Firstly, there are no derivations of -te with an adjectival base form ending in a single vowel: sneua pity > *sneutepitifulness. Secondly, derivation from a base form ending in a consonant cluster is only allowed if the penultimate consonant is a sonorant ( /l/, /m/ or /r/):


Table 4
Possible nominalisations Adjective's penultimate consonant Impossible nominalisations Adjective's penultimate consonant
kalmserene > kalmtesereneness /l/ lytssmall > *lytstesmallness /t/
waarmwarm > waarmtewarmth /r/ ljochtlight > *ljochttelightness /x/
skerpsharp > skerptesharpness /r/ absintabsent > *absintteabsence /n/
frjemdforeign > frjemdteabroad /m/ abstraktabstract > abstrakteabstractness /k/

Note that an adjective like lytssmall is also an unsuitable input because of the semantic restriction: it represents the "low part" of a scale.

The suffix -te can follow both stressed and unstressed syllables. Examples are DJIPtedepth and hoeMANnichtequantity. The suffix does not change the stress pattern.

Pluralisation depends on semantic properties of the derived noun. For instance, if djiptedepth means something abstract like "measure of deepness", then pluralisation is impossible. If the derivation is a concrete count noun, then a plural suffix may be added freely. Thus djiptendepths and ûndjiptenshoals are deep and shallow places in the water.

In Frisian, the plural form with -en is preferred where Dutch rather chooses the plural suffix -s. Compare for instance Frisian syktenillnesses with Dutch ziektes. The newly formed nouns do not allow diminutives: *kalmtekesereneness-DIMsmall serenity or *djiptekedepth-DIMsmall depth, but they can be part of a compound: syktefersomsickness absence or djiptemjitterdepth gauge.

[hide extra information]
x Literature

This topic is primarily based on Hoekstra (1998:113-114). The peculiarities of adjectival bases involved in a scale have been studied by Dyk (1989). For a historical and comparative view, see Schmidt-Jüngst (2012).

References:
  • Dyk, Siebren1989It deadjektivyske efterheaksel -te op 'e nij besjoenFrysk en Vrije Universiteit (1949-1989)VU Uitgeverij
  • Dyk, Siebren1989It deadjektivyske efterheaksel -te op 'e nij besjoenFrysk en Vrije Universiteit (1949-1989)VU Uitgeverij
  • Dyk, Siebren1989It deadjektivyske efterheaksel -te op 'e nij besjoenFrysk en Vrije Universiteit (1949-1989)VU Uitgeverij
  • Dyk, Siebren1989It deadjektivyske efterheaksel -te op 'e nij besjoenFrysk en Vrije Universiteit (1949-1989)VU Uitgeverij
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Schmidt-Jüngst, Miriam2012Die Freuden von leafde und Wäermt. Produktivität und Verbreitung des Suffixes -de/-t(e) im Deutschen, Luxemburgischen und Westfriesischen
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • -ing
    [86%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ig
    [86%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Adjectives > Adjectival suffixes
  • Separable complex verbs (SCVs)
    [85%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Compounding
  • Adjectival inflection
    [84%] Dutch > Morphology > Inflection
  • -erig
    [84%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Adjectives > Adjectival suffixes
  • -DIM (diminutive)
    [89%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Nominal suffixes > Noun as base
  • Weak verbs
    [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Verbs
  • -s
    [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Noun as base
  • In prenominal position
    [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • Degree
    [87%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
cite
print