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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. oargel organ > oargelist organist and sosjaal social > sosjalist socialist. 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
oargel organ oargelist organist
harp harp harpist harpist
piano piano pianist pianist
fioele violin fioelist violinist
masine engine masinist engineer
kapitaal capital kapitalist capitalist
Boedha Buddha boedhist Buddhist
Kalvyn Calvin kalvinist Calvinist
alkohol alcohol alkoholist alcoholic
Alpen Alps alpinist Alpinist
analyse analysis analist analyst
anargy anarchy anargist anarchist
automobyl car automobilist car driver
bas bass bassist bass player
bibel Bible biblist theologian
koloanje colony kolonist colonist
telefoan telephone telefonist telephonist
blom flower blommist florist
column column columnist columnist
toer tour toerist tourist
dokumint document dokumintalist documentarian
ekshibisjonisme exhibitionism ekshibisjonist exhibitionist
yntellektualisme intellectualism yntellektualist intellectualist
ekspresje expression ekspresjonist expressionist
Esperanto Esperanto esperantist Esperantist
Frysk Frisian frisist Frisist
Germaansk Germanic germanist Germanist
Most bases are non-Germanic, but the suffix has been extended to some native bases, as for example blom flower. 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 ekshibisjonisme exhibitionism ~ ekshibisjonist exhibitionist.

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

  • futurist futurist which is related to the French word future future;
  • komponist composer which is entirely loaned from the Italian componista composer;
  • nudist nudist which has a classical, Latin, base nudus naked;
  • linguïst linguist which has a classical, Latin, base lingua language;
  • jurist jurist, lawyer which has a classical, Latin base iūs right.
The derivations from nominal bases can have various meanings:
  • "someone who follows {noun}": a kalvinist Calvinist is a follower of Kalvyn Calvin;
  • "someone who studies {noun}": a germanist Germanist studies Germaanske talen Germanic languages or a biblist theologian studies the bibel Bible;
  • "someone who plays the {noun}": a pianist pianist plays the piano piano;
  • "someone who practises {noun}": an esperantist Esperantist practises Esperanto Esperanto;
  • "someone who uses/drives {noun}: an automobilist car driver drives an auto(mobyl) car and a telefonist telephonist uses the telefoan telephone.
Still, there are derivations that do not fit in the descriptions given above; an alkoholist alcoholic is "someone who is addicted to {noun}" (alkohol alcohol), a columnist columnist is "someone who produces {noun}" (columns columns) and an alpinist Alpinist 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
passyf passive passivist passivist
aktyf active aktivist activist
ekstreem extreme ekstremist extremist
spesjaal special spesjalist specialist
yntern intern ynternist internist
modern modern modernist modernist

Some formations with -ist are only seemingly derived from an adjective. A sosjalist socialist, for example, is not a social person in the first place, but rather an adherent of sosjalisme socialism. And a humanist humanist is not someone who is humaan human, but rather someone who has humanisme humanism as his conviction. These formations display affix substitution. Some formations may be ambiguous. For example, an ekstremist extremist may be extreme, or he is an adherent of some form of extremism.

[+]Verbal base

In case of typist typist, the base is a verb, i.e. type to 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, fioele violin > fioelist violinist and Boedha Buddha > boedhist Buddhist. 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-belesting tourist fee or sosjalist-e-beweging socialist movement. They can be input for other suffixes as well, like -(y)sk in sosjalistysk socialistic and kapitalistysk capitalistic and -e in fioeliste female violinist.

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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