• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
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-eftich is a suffix that creates adjectives from nouns with the meaning "resembling {noun}". Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
aap monkey aapeftich apish
bosk wood boskeftich woody
berch mountain bercheftich hilly
spoek ghost spoekeftich ghostly
riedsel riddle riedseleftich mysterious
bern child berneftich childish

[+]General properties

The affix -eftich is productive, new forms occur freely. Examples are facebook facebook > facebookeftich facebook-like, computer computer > computereftich computer-like and tillefoan telephone > tillefoaneftich telephone-like.

-eftich derivations very often have a base form that denotes a person. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
ingel angel ingeleftich angelic
klier pain in the ass kliereftich creep
nepert miser neperteftich miserly
stumper wretch stumpereftich bunglingly
keardel big fellow keardeleftich robust
skoalmaster teacher skoalmastereftich pedantic
The suffix is also often used to compare humans with animals, as in aap monkey > aapeftich apish and ezel donkey > ezeleftich asinine.

The derivations baaseftich excellent'; lit: boss-like, mastereftich tremendous; lit.: master-like and meunstereftich fantastic; lit.: monster-like are used as strengthening adverbs, for example:

Example 1

Us Jildou kin meunstereftich sjonge
our Jildou can monster-SUFF sing
Jildou has an amazing voice

Next to "resembling {noun}", -eftich derivations can also have the meaning "fond of {noun}". Examples are rys rice > ryseftich fond of rice (also ryseftich resembling rice), film movie > filmeftich fond of movies (also film-like), pasta pasta > pastaeftich fond of pasta (also resembling pasta). However, such derivations with the denotation "fond of {noun}" can only be used negatively in a construction with net sa ... wêze not so ... to.be not liking ... that much. Examples are:

Example 2

Net sa ryseftich wêze
not so rice-SUFF be
Not liking rice that much
Net sa filmeftich wêze
not so movie-SUFF be
Not liking movies that much

This negative use can also be applied after proper names, for instance hy wie net sa Breuker-eftich he was not a great fan of the person Breuker. The same negative usage can be found in derivations with -ich and -man.

[+]Comparison with Dutch

In Dutch, the comparable suffix -achtig can also be added to adjectival bases, for example rood red > roodachtig reddish. In Frisian, -eftich derivations from adjectives are not completely impossible, though they are rare. A few examples are read red > readeftich reddish, nij new > nijeftich newly and gau fast > gaueftich fast, although Frisian prefers the suffix -ich here.

In Dutch, the -achtig suffix can also be added to verbal stems, for example babbel chat > babbelachtig chatty. This is not possible in Frisian, the suffixes -(er)ich, -sk or -lik are used instead. Compare Dutch twijfelachtig doubtful with Frisian twifelich doubtful, Dutch praatachtig talkative with Frisian praatsk talkative and Dutch vergeetachtig forgetful with Frisian ferjitlik forgetful.

In the oral language, the suffix is also pronounced as -achtich, without doubt under the influence of Dutch suffix -achtig. Thus next to bercheftich hilly one hears berchachtich hilly, next to ingeleftich angelic occurs ingelachtich angelic, next to jongeseftich boyish we find jongesachtich boyish, etcetera.

[+]Phonological properties

-eftich ( [ɛftəx]) is a non-cohering suffix; it is syllabified independently of the word stem and it does not cause schwa-deletion after diminutives and foreign words, see mearke-eftich fairy-like and bêzje-eftich beige-ish. Base forms ending in a voiced [b / d / ɣ / v / z] are pronounced voiceless as [p / t / x / f / s]. Examples are: strobbe /strobə/ small child > strobeftich [stropɛftəx] small, sûch /su:ɣ/ fool > sûcheftich [su:xɛftəx] stupid and biis /bi.əz/ joker > biiseftich [bi.əsɛftəx] mischievous.

-eftich is stress-neutral; the stress of the base is retained, although the affix can carry secondary stress. Examples are REUSeftich giant-like, FISKeftich fishy, LIEMeftich glue-like and SKURKeftich blackguardly.


Sometimes, a linking -s- is used between the base form and the -eftich suffix. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
jonge boy jongeseftich boyish
famke girl famkeseftich girlish
manlju man manljuseftich manly
froulju female frouljuseftich feminine
domeny pastor domenyseftich like a pastor
maitiid spring maitiidseftich springlike

Next to manljuseftich manly, maitiidseftich springlike and domenyseftich like a pastor the forms maneftich manly, maitiideftich springlike and domenyeftich like a pastor are also found.

[+]Morphological potential

To denote a biological class, the suffix -en is added to the adjective -eftich derivation, the result being a noun. Examples are aapeftich apish > aapeftigen family of apes, kateftich catlike > kateftigen feline, leeljeëftich lily-like > leeljeëftigen liliaceae.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:126-127).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy