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Verbal suffixes

Derivations of verbs can occur from three different bases: on nouns (for example grûn ground > grûndearje to found), verbs (stjitte to bump > stjitterje to stutter), and adjectives (fêst fixed > fêstigje to settle). There is one example with a numeral as base: ien one > ien-ig-je to unite.

The various bases have several suffixes in common. The suffixes -jei and -k operate with all three major lexical classes, although -k has its allomorph -tsj only with a nominal base. The suffixes -ear and -ig may not combine with a verbal base; on the other hand, the pair -el and -er only occur after verbs.

Of course, the derived verbs are inflected. The derivational suffix is therefore always followed by an inflectional suffix. For example, infinitives get the inflectional ending -e or -je, depending on inflectional class membership (more about this issue in general categories of inflected verbs and especially in weak verbs).

Suffixal derivation of nouns is relatively marginal when compared to the derivation of nouns and adjectives. The reason might be that the derivational suffix is also followed by various inflectional ones, which could result in a heavy suffixal load at the end of the word. Indeed, we see that Frisian verbs are more often derived by way of prefixation or by the phenomenon of particle verbs and also by verbal conversion. The difference between conversion and suffixation as it is presented here is the fact that, by definition, conversion does not make use of a separate suffix (apart from the inflectional suffix, which is needed anyway). Examples of conversion are the verb keal-je to calf on the basis of the noun keal calf and the verb kuol-je to cool, which is derived from the adjective koel. The issue is relevant in that the verbal derivations with a nominal and adjectival base as they are dealt with here are also considered to be instances of conversion by Hoekstra (1998:153-154). Consequently, he views elements as -ig- or -ear- not as derivational suffixes but as linking elements. It should be admitted that the semantic impact of these elements is mostly minimal indeed. However, as one of the main functions of derivation is category change, and moreover as this is performed here by overt elements, we will nevertheless interpret these elements as derivational suffixes.


More details about the different bases and the suffixes that are used to derive verbs from these bases can be found by following the corresponding links:

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy