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The suffix -s is an unproductive suffix that is used to create adjectives on the basis of nouns that refer to a material or substance. Thus lekkens, derived from the noun lekken cloth, has the meaning made of cloth, 'consisting of cloth. Adjectives derived from material nouns commonly are formed with help of the suffix -en. The suffix -s is only used after material nouns that end in /en/, /el/ or /je(s)/; resp. linnen linen > linnens linen, duffel duffel coat > duffels a duffel coat, flenje flannel > flenjes flannel.

[+]General properties

The suffix is attached to a base that denotes a material or stuff. Derivations with the suffix -s from nouns denoting material or stuff have the following schema: "made of {noun}" or "consisting of {noun}".

Adjectives derived from material nouns are commonly formed with help of the suffix -en. However, if material nouns end in /en/, /el/ or /je(s)/, the suffix -s is used. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
lekken sheet lekkens sheet
linnen linen linnens linen
duffel duffel duffels duffel
flenje flannel flenjes flannel
sarje shalloon sarjes shalloon
keekje khaki keekjes khaki
The suffix -s also appears after diminutive nouns indicating a pattern of the material: streekje little stripe > streekjes with little stripes (in streekjes boesgroentsje a striped blouse), rútsje little check > rútsjes with little checks (in rútsjes jaske a checked coat) and hokje little square > hokjes with little squares (in hokjes bloeske a squared shirt).

Next to material nouns, the suffix -s can also derive adjectives from nouns denoting coins. They have the meaning 'price indicated by {noun}'. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
botsen stiver botsens having the value of ½ cent
oartsen stiver oartsens having the value of ¼ cent
dûbeltsje ten-cent piece dûbeltsjes having the value of 10 cent
kwartsje 25-cent piece kwartsjes having the value of 25 cent
stoer stiver stoerts having the value of 5 cent
gûne guilder gûns having the value of one guilder
daalder one guilder and fifty cent daalders having the value of 1 guilder 50

Note that these examples indicate coins that due to the introduction of the euro are not in use anymore. Consequently, these words are not very much in use nowadays. If the derivations in -s are used, it is mostly in fixed expressions, like in daalders plakje an excellent place.

The weight noun pûn half a kilogram and the length noun jellen a yard can also get the adjectival -s: pûns weighing half a kilogram and jellens with the length of a yard.

The suffix -s can also derive adjectives from exclamative forms. Furthermore, it can be found in synthetic compounds together with a numeral + noun.

[+]Syntactic properties

The adjectives derived by this suffix only occur in attributive position, as in in streekjes boesgroentsje a striped blouse. The occurrence in a predicative position gives an ungrammatical result: *dat boesgroentsje is streekjes that blouse is striped.

[+]Phonological properties

In stoerts a /t/ has been inserted between the final /r/ of the base form and /s/ of the suffix. Next to gûns (with truncation of schwa), one can find the form gûnes. The same form with -es can be found in duit cent > duites one cent and sint cent > sintes a cent. In the last example, there is sometimes a -r- inserted between the base form and the suffix -s: sinters.

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This article is based on Hoekstra (1998:137-138). More details can be found in Hoekstra (1992).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1992Eigenskipswurden op -sFriesch Dagblad11-04Taalsnipels 121
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy