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The suffix -guod productively derives neuter collective nouns from nouns. Examples are fûgel bird > fûgelguod birds and blom flower > blommeguod flowers. The suffix originates from the noun guod goods, stuff. Occasionally, phrasal bases can be found. Some derivations have a pejorative connotation.

[+]Derivation versus compounding

The suffix -guod has developed from the noun guod stuff, and hence it can be considered a suffixoid. If that noun acts as the second member of a nominal compound, it keeps its meaning stuff. An example is barg-e-guod pig-LK-stuff pigmeat. However, the word bargeguod can also mean (set of) pigs. In that case, we have a suffix -guod which semantically is a function operating on the base. This function is to turn the base noun to a collective.

Although the semantics might be felt as plural, derivations with -guod are always in the singular. Moreover, they have neuter gender: one talks about it bargeguod ART.DEF.N pig-LK-SUFF.

[+]Noun as base

Most derivations with -guod take a noun as base. Examples are given below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
fûgel bird fûgelguod birds
blom flower blom(me)guod flowers
beam tree beam(me)guod trees
bist animal bisteguod animals
strewel bush strewelleguod bushes
klean clothes kleanguod clothes

The base may also be a diminutive, as in beamkeguod tree-DIM-SUFF small trees.

The meaning of the derivation can best be defined as collective. Hence, there is a slight semantic difference from the ordinary plural, in that the collective implies that the set referred to may involve some smaller or bigger differences between the individuals. With the plural form this aspect of diversity remains irrelevant, and the plural is primarily interpreted in a quantificational sense. Take the following pair of sentences, in which in the (b)-example one inevitably thinks of different species, while this does not need to be the case in the first one.

Example 1

a. Myn buorman hat aardich wat fûgels yn 'e tún
my neighbour has quite what birds in the garden
There are quite a number of birds in my neighbour's garden
b. Myn buorman hat aardich wat fûgelguod yn 'e tún
my neighbour has quite what birds.SUFF in the garden
There are quite a number of birds in my neighbour's garden

There are also base nouns which already are collective nouns themselves, klean clothes for instance. Both klean and kleanguod thus have an inherently collective element. It seems, however, that the derivation with -guod merely strengthens this collective element or makes it explicit. Other examples with a collective base are fleisguod (< fleis meat), bôleguod (from bôle bread) and reidguod (from reid reed).

[+]Phrase as base

Phrasal bases particularly consist of binomial expressions, like leppel-en-foarkeguod [spoon and fork]-SUFF spoons and forks or pot-en-panguod [pot and pan]-SUFF pots and pans. Also combinations of adjective and noun may take the suffixoid -guod, foar example opslûpen jongesguod [lanky boys]-SUFF lanky boys.

[+]Pejorative connotation

The derivations have a pejorative character, especially when they refer to persons. Examples are berneguod children, boeveguod criminals, flardeguod young rascals or the above named opslûpen jongesguod [lanky boys]-SUFF lanky boys. The following examples may illustrate this:

Example 2

a. Ik wol dat dat boeveguod út ús lân ferdwynt!
I want that that crook.SUFF out our country disappears
I want those criminals to leave our country!
b. Dat opslûpen jongesguod wie fan 'e moarn wer oan it beltsjedrukken
that adolescent boys.SUFF was from the morning again on the ring.push
This morning, those adolescent boys were ringing the bell and running away again

With the plurals boeven criminals and jonges boys the sentences would have had the same translation, but the pejorative connotation is strengthened in the derivations with -guod.

[+]Phonological properties

The suffix -guod is, as its original noun guod stuff, goods, pronounced as [gwot], with a broken diphthong. Suffixation does not alter stress, which remains on the base. The base may show breaking, as in beammeguod, where we have a change of [bɪ.əm] to [bjɛm]. Breaking is optional in beamguod, which can be pronounced both as [bɪ.əmɡṷot] and [bjɛmɡṷot].


Nominal bases that potentially would take the plural suffix -en can show a linking morpheme -e. Examples are strewelleguod bushes (< strewel bush) and hinneguod chickens (< hin chicken). However, we also see it in berneguod children, where the base noun bern child is irregular, as its plural form bern children does not have a plural suffix. This linking element is sometimes optional, cf. beammeguod trees vs beamguod (< beam tree).

[+]Morphological potential

The derivations can not be input for other suffixes.

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More suffixes that form collective nouns

Alternatives for -guod are suffixes like -boel, -spul, -brol and -brot. Like -guod, they originate from nouns: boel, spul, brot and brol. These all mean stuff, things, matters. The base form bist animal can be followed by all suffixes: bisteguod, bisteboel, bistespul, bistebrot or bistebrol. All derivations have the same meaning: animals, although with a more or less pejorative connotation.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:87-88).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy