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The suffix –matig /ˈmatəx/ is mainly used to derive adverbs and adjectives from nouns. The suffix may be preceded by the linking element-s, which is otherwise typical for compounds.

Example 1

a. Beleid-s-matig is dit heel sterk
policy-SUFF is this very strong
From a policy point of view this is very strong
b. Dit voedsel wordt fabriek-s-matig geproduceerd
this food is industry-s-SUFF produced
This food is produced industrially
c. stelsel-matig-e mishandeling
system-SUFF-INFL mistreatment
systematic mistreatment

Example (1c) illustrates that words of this type are also used as adjectives and can inflect accordingly.


The suffix -matig belongs to the native stratum of the lexicon. It combines productively with nouns to form adverbials and adjectives. In adjectives, the meaning contribution of the suffix is 'in a manner related to …' (as in handmatig hand-SUFF manually), in adverbs, an additional meaning is available: 'from the point of view of …', as in gedragsmatig behaviour-s-SUFF behaviourally. The base can also be a phrase, as in sociaal-gedragsmatig social-conduct-s-SUFF relating to social conduct.

The phonological form of this suffix is that of an independent prosodic word. In complex words, we generally find main stress on the first syllable of –matig and secondary stress on the base word, corresponding to its original main stress location: compare fabriek /faˈbrik/ factory > fabrieksmatig /faˌbriksˈmatəx/ industrial. However, main stress and secondary stress may be reversed in noun phrases in which the adjective is used attributively, as in stelselmatig /ˌstɛlsəlˈmatəx/ systematic > stelselmatige mishandeling /ˈstɛlsəlˌmatəxə mɪsˈhɑndəlɪŋ/ systematic mistreatment, probably under influence of the rhythmic contour of the entire phrase.

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The morpheme sequence mat-ig may also appear in denominal adjectives such as middelmatig mediocre derived from the compound noun middelmaat mediocrity. In such cases, there is no suffix –matig involved.

Adverbs in -matig cannot be input for further derivation, but adjectives can be nominalized with --heid: onrechtmatigheid injustice, doelmatigheid effectiveness.

For more information and discussion, see Diepeveen (2012, chapter 13,online version).

  • Diepeveen, Ariane2012Modifying words. Dutch adverbial morphology in contrast.FU BerlinThesis