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The suffix -erij is very productive in deriving nouns from verbs. These action nouns often have a collective meaning. An example is útsykje to find out > útsikerij which refers to all of the sorting out. In addition, the derivations can also develop into a more individual and concrete meaning and then refer to a company (buorkje to run a farm > buorkerij farm) or building (bakke to bake > bakkerij bread shop) or instruments and objects (smoke to smoke > smokerij everything one needs for smoking).

Furthermore the suffix can can be attached to a few nouns, although unproductively. An example is > krûderij spices, probably from the plurale tantum krûden herbs. Variants of the suffix are -ij, -dij,-ernij and -enij; these are also dealt with in this topic.

[+]Verb as base

With the suffix -erij nouns can be derived from verbs. In this respect, the suffix is very productive. The derivations are primarily action nouns with a collective meaning, and sometimes a pejorative connotation. Examples are:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
lige to lie ligerij all the lying
opskeppe to brag opskepperij all the bragging
oerskriuwe to overwrite oerskriuwerij all the copying
prate to talk praterij all the talking
gekoanstekke to mock gekoanstekkerij all the mocking
kofjedrinke to drink coffee kofjedrinkerij all the coffee drinking
An alternative to forming action nouns out of verbs is the prefix ge-. An example is: lige to lie > geliich all the lying. A difference is that derivations with ge- are more coherent in that they show less semantic drift. Moreover, with ge- the continuity of the action receives more stress, where -erij also includes everything that is involved in an event and hence stresses the collectivity. In this way, one could say that derivations in -erij refer to an organised whole of actions, as has also been indicated in the translations above. Sports competitions, to mention one application, typically lend themselves for this, as do professional activities:
Table 2
Base form Derivation
fuotbalje to play soccer fuotbal(d)erij soccer playing
ringride to tilt at the ring ringriderij tilting competition
drave to run draverij running
hurdsile to take part in a sailing race hurdsilerij sail racing
buorkje to run a farm buorkerij the whole that is involved in running a farm
frachtride to transport frachtriderij the business of transportation
For example, fuotbalderij involves everything that is connected with football, where gefuotbal is restricted to the action of playing the game (and also has a much stronger pejorative connotation).


However, the collective element is not always primary. Some derivations undergo concretisation and individuation. For example, they can refer to a company that performs a professional action, or even the building in which a certain activity is performed. Hence, a bakkerij bake-SUFF is a bread shop, and a gersdroegerij grass-dry-SUFF is a building where grass is dried. At the same time, these derivations may refer to companies, and the interpretation of an action noun remains available.

Other derivations refer to an apparatus or installation that is used to perform the action, where they there receive an instrumental interpretation. A weagerij weigh-SUFF is the installation to weigh objects, and the skeuvelderij shift-SUFF is a part of a plough with which something can be shifted. Another example is slieperij sleep-SUFF which refers to everything needed to stay overnight as a guest, as for example a sleeping bag, but also a tooth brush etc.

This instrumental interpretation of some derivations with -erij can also include the material involved. So, iterij eat-SUFF may include food that is to be eaten, smokerij smoke-SUFF may include tobacco. In this way, the derivations even get an object interpretation.

As a result of the individuation tendencies mentioned above, some derivations can be interpreted in more than one way. To give another example, the word skriuwerij can be interpreted as an instrument ( everything one needs to write), but still also as a pure action noun ( writing), which is the productive pattern after all. The difference is illustrated in the following example:

Example 1

a. Hasto dyn skriuwerij wol by dy?
have.2SG your write.SUFF well with you?
Have you brought your notepad and pencil?
b. Dy skriuwerij fan my leit op 't heden efkes stil
the write.SUFF of me lays on the present just quiet
I do not write at the moment

A final example is the verb frette to feed, from which the noun fretterij can be derived.

Example 2

a. Do wurdst fierstente grou. Moatst ris ophâlde mei al dy fretterij
you become far.to fat. must.2SG once stop with all this grub.SUFF
you are getting too fat. You really have to stop eating all these sweets
b. Ik ha alle simmers fretterij yn 'e koal
I have all summers grub.SUFF in the cabbage
Every summer I have insect pests in my cabbage
c. De fretterij en it bier stiene al op 'e tafel
The food and the beer stood already on the table
Food and beer were already on the table

In (2a) we have an example of an action noun, the common use. The derivation in (2b), however, yields rather an agent noun, whereas in (2c) we seem to be dealing rather with a patient noun.

[+]Noun as base

Only a few derivations in -erij have a noun as base. In this case, the suffix is not productive. The derivations again result in collective nouns. Examples are listed below:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
sint cent sinterij finance
krûd herb krûderij spices
rommel mess rommel(d)erij mess
grap joke grapperij joking, fooling around
soldaat soldier soldaterij military

Semantically, it makes some sense that these forms have not been derived from a singular noun, but rather from a plurale tantum which harbours collectivity. In that case, the base noun would rather be sinten finances, money, krûden herbs, etc. Compare also the base rommel mess, which is inherently collective.

In some cases, an alternative for -erij may be -eraasje. Semantically, it does not matter if one says sinterij or sinteraasje (coming from sint cent). Both mean finance.

[+]The allomorphs -ij, -dij, -ernij and -enij

Some nouns end in the unproductive variants of -erij, which are -ij, -dij, -ernij and -enij. Most of the time, the base form is a noun. It should be noted that with stems ending in /d/ it is virtually impossible to make a difference between -ij and -dij. Examples are:

Table 4
Suffix variant Base form Derivation
-ij maatskip partnership maatskippij society
boarger citizen boargerij citizenry
amtner civil servant amtnerij civil service
fâd guardian fâdij guardianship
-ernij slaaf slave slavernij slavery
-dij abt abbot abdij abbey
proast provost proasdij deanery
wearde value weardij valuation
The derived nouns often refer to a collective action or organization of some kind, in addition to those with a verbal base. But here we also see individuation. An example is abdij abbey, which is a building.

For the sake of completeness, it must be said that the variants -ernij and -enij can also be attached to two adjectives, i.e. in lekker delicious > lekkernij delicacy (assuming that one of the sequences /ər/ is truncated) and woast savage > woastenij wilderness. There is also one verbal base: raze to scream > razernij madness. We also have the formation gritenij, an old word for municipality, which is related to (but not directly derived from) grytman, a function comparable to what is nowadays a mayor. Another formation with a non-existing base is soldij payment (to soldiers), which can be related to soldaat soldier.

[+]Phonological properties

After stems ending in [r], a [d] is inserted: sloere to slide (stem = sloer) becomes sloerderij all the sliding. If a stem ends in [l] or [n], [d] this insertion is optional: rekkenje to calculate (stem = rekken) becomes rekkenerij all the calculating or rekkenderij. As to the allomorph -dij we see regressive voice assimilation and subsequent degemination. An example is abt [apt] abbot > abdij [abdɛi] ] abbey.

[+]Morphological potentials

The derivations always have common gender. If the derivation is inherently collective, a plural is impossible: ligerij all the lying > *ligerijen all the lying. Or with a nominal base: krûderij spices > *krûderijen spices. However, if the collective element is lacking, a plural is possible. An example is bakkerij bakery > bakkerijen bakeries.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:119-120), Tsjepkema (1949), Tamminga (1973:229-230) and Tsjepkema (1978:91-92).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Spahr van der Hoek, J.J1960De heidedorpen in de Noordelijke WoudenLaverman, Drachten
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1973Op 'e taelhelling. Losse trochsneden fan Frysk taellibben. IIA.J. Osinga
  • Tjepkema, Hotze1978Efkes TaelbuorkjeKoperative Utjowerij, Ljouwert