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With the suffix -st(e) action nouns can be derived from verbs. An example is komme to come > komst arrival. Sometimes the derivations indicate a result of the action rather than the action itself, for instance fangst catch, which is the result of fange to catch. Most of the time the derived nouns have common gender. A phonological condition is that all stems of the base verbs should end in a nasal.

[+]General properties

With the suffix -st nouns can be derived from verbs. Examples are:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
komme to come komst coming
winne to win, gain winst profit
(fer)langje to desire (fer)langst desire, wish
fine to find fynst discovery
fange to catch fangst catch
betingje to stipulate betingst condition

An opaque derivation is keunst art, which should be related to kinne to be able to; however, the deviating vocalism might be a reason for supposing that it is a loan from Dutch (cf. Dutch kunst).

Suffixation with -st results in action nouns, but sometimes the derivation indicates the result of the action. For instance, one can catch a fish and then the result is the fangst catch.


Usually, the derivations have common gender, but exceptionally one can find a derivation which is neuter. For example, (fer)langst desire, wish can be both common and neuter. The pejorative derivation fernimst pedantic girl, coming from fernimme to be told, only carries the neuter gender.

[+]The allomorph -ste

Some derivations show an allomorph -ste. Next to langst desire there is langste. In older texts one can find komste coming next to komst, but nowadays the final schwa in this word is obsolete. The variants with -ste belong to a more elevated style. There are two lexicalized derivations in -ste. The first is gearkomste meeting (< gearkomme to meet). The second one is fertsjinste merit; it is special in the sense that it lives next to a derivation in -st with a different meaning. The example below illustrates this:

Example 1

a. Nelson Mandela wie in man fan fertsjinste
Nelson Mandela was a man of merit
Nelson Mandela was a man of merit
b. Myn fertsjinst wie net sa grut, dat ik haw in baan socht dêr't ik wat mear fertsjinje koe
my salary was not so big, that I have a job sought there.REL I what more earn.INF could
My salary was not so high, so I have looked for a job where I could earn a little more
[+]Phonological properties

The stem of the base verb always ends in a nasal, i.e. /m/, /n/ or /ŋ/. Stems ending in /n/ undergo nasalization, and sometimes also lengthening; for a general phonological treatment, see vowel nasalization. An example is fine [finə] to find > fynst [fi:ⁿst] discovery. Another example is winst /ve:ⁿst/ profit; gain; victory from the verb winne /vinə/ to win.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:121).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy