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The Germanic suffix -skip [skɪp] derives nouns from nouns, adjectives and sometimes verbs. Examples are:

  • nouns: lieder leader > liederskip leadership;
  • adjectives: bliid happy > blydskip joy;
  • verbs: neilitte to bequeath > neilittenskip estate.
The nouns can be neuter or common: it fakmanskip the workmanship versus de freonskip the friendship; neuter nouns are more frequent than common nouns. Historically they go back to the same root, so they are treated here in the same topic.

The suffix is not productive anymore in its function of nominalising adjectives or verbs, but it is for nouns that have a neuter output noun which means something like "the function of being a {noun}". Liederskip leadership, for instance, denotes the function of being a leader.

[+]General properties

Nouns with the Germanic suffix -skip [skɪp] can have neuter or common gender. Neuter nouns are more frequent. Historically, both go back to the same root (see Etymologiebank). Below, some examples of each category are listed:

Table 1
Neuter derivations Common derivations
it fakmanskip the workmanship de freonskip the friendship
it agintskip the agency de blydskip the gladness
it genoatskip the society de weddenskip the bet
it erfskip the heritage de eigenskip the property
it hearskip the gentleman de finzenskip the imprisonment
it keizerskip the emperorship de betterskip the recuperation

As can be seen, the derivations of -skip form a varied group of words. This is caused by the fact that they can have three bases: adjectival, nominal or verbal.

[+]Adjective as input

In the table below, examples of nouns in -skip with a adjectival base are given:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
bliid happy blydskip joy
dronken drunk dronkenskip drunkenness
eigen own eigenskip property
finzen imprisoned finzenskip imprisonment
mien common mienskip society
better better betterskip recuperation
The nouns with an adjectival base are always common: de blydskip the joy, de dronkenskip the drunkenness, etcetera. The suffix is not productive anymore in its function of nominalising adjectives.

[+]Noun as input

In the table below examples of nouns in -skip with a nominal base are given:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
lieder leader liederskip leadership
freon friend freonskip friendship
kammeraat friend kammeraatskip friendship
kening king keningskip kingship
greef count greefskip county, shire
skriuwer author skriuwerskip authorship
Most of the derivations with a nominal base are neuter: it keningskip the kingship, it liederskip the leadership, it skriuwerskip the authorship, etc., but there are a few lexicalized forms that have common gender, for instance de freonskip friendship, de kammeraatskip friendship and de buorskip hamletHoekstra (1998:115).

The suffix is not productive for these common nouns, but it is for the neuter nouns. To be precise, this is the only category in which the suffix -skip is still productive.

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Opaque nominal derivations

Some derivations of -skip, like boadskip message (< boade messenger) and selskip company, fellowship (< cf. Dutch gezel fellow), are completely lexicalised and have an opaque semantics.

[+]Verb as input

There are a limited number of common gender nouns in -skip that seem to have a verbal base:

Table 4
Base form Derivation
neilitte to bequeath neilittenskip legacy
rekkenje to calculate rekkenskip account
wedzje to bet weddenskip bet
witte to know wittenskip science

It could also be argued (see Booij (2002:129) for the Dutch counterpart -schap) that such derivations consist of a nominal base, since the verbal base is not represented by the verbal stem but rather by the infinitive, a verbal form that may act as a noun. Anyhow, for this base category it also applies that the suffix -skip is unproductive. Moreover, influence from Dutch cannot be ruled out, for instance with respect to weddenskip bet, since one would rather expect an infinitive form wedzjen as input here (from the verb wedzje to bet.

[+]Semantic properties

The meaning of the -skip-derivations depends on the base form. The meanings are listed below:

  • adjectival base (unproductive): refers to "being {adjective}" Hoekstra (1998:115). Dronkenskip drunkenness for instance refers to being drunk.
  • nominal base (productive): refers to "the function of being a {noun}". Thus keningskip kingship refers to the function of being a king. Lexicalised neuter derivations of -skip can also refer to a set of people (in case of genoatskip society), a territory (for instance lânskip landscape) or an organisation, like wetterskip body of surveyors of the dikesHoekstra (1998:115).
  • nominal base (unproductive): refers to "the property of being a {noun}", so freonskip friendship refers to the property of being a friend.
  • verbal base (unproductive): no standard meaning can be given.

[+]Phonological properties

Suffixation by -skip [skɪp] respects the stress pattern of the base word. The suffix can either follow a stressed or an unstressed syllable: geNOATskip society versus BETterskip recuperation. However, in derivations of -skip with a nominal base, there is a preference for base forms ending in an unstressed syllable. For instance: FENnoatskip partnership or KEIzerskip emperorship but *BERNskip childship or *BOERskip farmership. However, in HEARskip reign and GREEFskip county, shire the stress is on the syllable directly preceding -skip. There is one example of stress shift, i.e. deverbal neiLITTENskip legacy (< NEIlitte to bequeath).

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Dutch versus Frisian

The Dutch equivalent of -skip is -schap. In Dutch one can have the words moederschap maternity and vaderschap paternity. In Frisian the words for mother and father are resp. mem and heit, hence monosyllabic words. Instead of adding -skip, one tends to use a construction with the verb wêze to be: it memwêzen the mother.being maternity or it heitwêzen the father.being paternity.

[+]Morphological potential

Many formations of -skip do not have a plural (cf. *blydskippen joys, *betterskippen recuperations), due to their abstract meaning, but if applicable, the plural is in -en: genoatskip society > genoatskippen societies and eigenskip property > eigenskippen properties.

Nouns ending in -skip can occur as the first part of a compound: genoatskip-s-leden society members, buorskipbewenners the inhabitants of a hamlet, freonskip-s-ferdrach treaty of friendship and mienskip-s-stipe crowd funding. As can be seen, the linking element -s- has often been added to the first part of the compound. Diminutive forms are unusual: ?ballingskipke brief exile, ?eigenskipke small property. A few derivations with unproductive -skip can be input to other derivational processes, e.g. adjective formation by means of the affix -lik or -er. Examples ending in -lik are freonskiplik friendly (< freonskip friendship) and wittenskiplik scientific (< wittenskip science). An example of an agent noun formation by means of -er is: wittenskipper scientist < wittenskip science).

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This section is based on Hoekstra (1998:113-115) and De Haan (2001:114).

  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Haan, Germen J. de2001Grammar of Modern West-FrisianUniversity of Groningen
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy