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-esse
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-esse is a stressed, unproductive, cohering suffix that creates nouns denoting female persons from male professional function names. As they are of common gender, -esse derivations take the definite article dethe. An example is regintregent > regintessefemale regent.

Other suffixes that form female nouns are -e, -inne, -ske and -ster. Note also the suffix -e that derives female inhabitant names, however on the basis of an adjective.

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[+] General properties

The suffix -esse derives female nouns on the basis of male function names. For example, if a certain function is called fâdguardian, then its female counterpart is called fâdessefemale guardian. The derivations have common gender, which, among others, implies that they select dethe as the definite article. The suffix is unproductive.

Some further examples with the suffix -esse are listed below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
prinsprince prinsesseprincess
baronbaron baronessebaroness
kostersexton kosteressefemale sexton
regintregent regintessefemale regent
sûndersinner sûnderessefemale sinner
If the base ends in -aris, the part -is is truncated before suffigation. Examples are bibliotekarislibrarian > bibliotekaressefemale librarian and jubilarismale person celebrating his jubilee > jubilaressefemale person celebrating her jubilee.
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x Dutch influence

Probably under the influence of Dutch, some speakers also take agent nouns as input that have been derived by the suffix -er. Such bases have a verbal core; see the topic on the suffix -er. This results in words like ?sjongeres (based on sjongersinger, which in turn derives from the verb sjongeto sing), ?lêzeres (based on lêzerfemale reader < lêzeto read) or even moardenares. The last example is quite clearly inspired by the Dutch allomorph -aar, and -es for its functioning as basis in forming a Dutch female noun. That these formations are under Dutch influence can also be detected from their obligatory short form -es. The Frisian suffix has an extra schwa: -esse ([ɛsə]). Frisian prefers the suffix -ster to derive female nouns from verbs. However, some Dutch formations are fully integrated nowadays, as for example leraresfemale teacher.

[+] Phonological properties

The suffix -esse[ɛsə] bears the main stress of the derivation, as in baroNEssebaroness. As can be detected from this transcription, the suffix is cohering, i.e. syllabification does not respect the morphological boundary.

[+] Morphological potential

The suffix selects -en as its plural ending, e.g. prinsesseprincess > prinsessenprincesses or bibliotekaressefemale librarian > bibliotekaressenfemale librarians. Diminutives are with -ke, i.e. prinseskelittle princess.

Formations with -esse can hardly be input for further derivational processes, but the similative suffixes -eftich and -ich are conceivable, the latter with deletion of the final schwa of -esse, viz. prinsesse-eftichprincess-like and prinsessichprincess-like.There are no restrictions in compounding, cf. prinsessekleanprincess-clothes or prinsessekrûdprincess-herbeupatorium canabium and the like.

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x Literature

This topic is mainly based on Hoekstra (1998:93). The suffix is also shortly mentioned in Tamminga (1973:55).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1973Op 'e taelhelling. Losse trochsneden fan Frysk taellibben. IIA.J. Osinga
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phonology
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morphology
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    [77%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
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  • -ske
    [84%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Nominal suffixes > Noun as base
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    [82%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Nominal suffixes > Verb as base
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  • -DIM (diminutive)
    [81%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Nominal suffixes > Noun as base
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    [80%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Nominal suffixes
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syntax
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