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The suffix -t is unproductive, as is its allomorph -te. Most derivations have common gender. The base is verbal, although there is one example with a nominal base: smidte forge, smithy. Most cases are object names denoting a result, as for example bakt baked goods, from the verb bakke to bake. An example of an action noun is jokte itch, from the verb jokje to itch. Other derivations have a less clear semantics. Several derivations are also formally opaque, as for example grêft canal, which is related to the verb grave to dig.

[+]General properties

The suffixes -t and -te have traditionally been considered as being allomorphs of each other. However, only the word went(e) house (from the verb wenje to live) shows both variants. With respect to gender, we find neuter nouns next to common ones.

[+]The allomorph -t

Not many derivations in -t are transparently related to verbs. These are the most important ones:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
bakke to bake bakt baked goods
tsjernje to churn tsjernt the result produced after churning
brouwe to brew brout brew
brâne to burn brant fuel
stalle to form stalt waterside step
spriede to spread spriedt laid out corn (before threshing)
tylje to grow tylt cultivation

Most of these derivations are object nouns, and more exactly are the result of a process or action (although brant fuel is an exception). An action noun is tylt cultivation. These derivations can be either common or neuter nouns and are rather old-fashioned nowadays.

Other derivations are less transparent, but far more settled in the daily language:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
farre to sail feart canal
grave to dig grêft canal
bûge to bend bocht bend
frieze to freeze froast frost
noegje to please nocht pleasure

Most of these have common gender, but for instance skrift script (from skriuwe to write) and wicht weight (from weage to weigh) are neuter.

[+]The allomorph -te

There are also a few forms in which the suffix is -te instead of -t:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
jokje to itch jokte itch
stjerre to die stjerte death
begeare to desire begearte desire
muoie to regret, to be sorry for muoite effort, trouble
bernje to bear berte birth
jaan to give jefte talent

These derivations, which have common gender, belong to the daily language. The last example jefte is less transparent.

[+]Noun as base

A possible derivation with a nominal base could be smidte forge, smithy. Assumption of a verbal base is problematic in this case, as the relevant verb is smeie to forge, to smith. The Old Frisian forms that have come down to us is are smithe and smitte.

[hide extra information]

This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:120-121). De Vaan (2014:29) argues for a simplex status of smidte on historical grounds, although he does not exclude that the word is reinterpreted as a derivation with a suffix -te.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Vaan, Michiel de2014West Germanic *thth and *thm in DutchAmsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik721-34