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Stress-shifting suffixes

Stress-shifting suffixes cause the primary stress of the word to be located on the last stressable syllable preceding the suffix. As noted by Schultink (1980) for Dutch ‒ an observation which also holds for Frisian ‒ these suffixes exclusively form adjectives.


Examples of stress-shifting suffixes are given in (1):

Example 1

-ber [bər] waarnimme > waarnimber ['va:r.nɪm.mə > va:r.'nɪm.bər] to observe > perceptible
-ich [əɣ] earmoed > earmoedich ['jɛr.muət > jɛr.'muə.dəɣ] poverty > poor(ly)
-ysk [isk] alkohol > alkohoalysk [ˈɔl.ko:.hɔl > ɔl.ko:.'hoə.lisk] alcohol > alcoholic
-lik [lək] tapasse > tapaslik ['ta.pɔs.sə > ta.'pɔs.lək] to apply > applicable
-sum [səm] opmerke > opmerksum ['op.mɛr.kə > op.'mɛrk.səm] remark > remarkable
[+]The special behaviour of -ber

The suffix -ber displays some particular characteristics, as it only shifts the main stress rightward if the base word is a separable particle verb (as noted for Dutch by Booij (1995:114); the same can be found in Frisian). Take the verb talitte to permit in (2) below: (2a) illustrates that this is a separable verb, because ta and litte can occur separately of each other; (2b) shows that primary stress is on ta; (2c) shows that stress shifts to the verb stem lit in case the suffix -ber is added (stress is indicated by capitals).

Example 2

a. Ik lit it ta dat hy in suertsje krijt
I let it to that he a candy gets
I allow him to be given a candy
b. Ik moat dat TAlitte
I must that permit
I have to allow for that
c. Dat geflok is net taLITber
that swearing is not permittable
Such swearing cannot be tolerated

This stress shift, however, does not occur in case the particle verb is non-separable, as with wjerlizze to refute in (3) below: (3a) illustrates the non-separability of this verb, because wjer and lizze cannot occur separately of each other; (3b) shows its basic stress pattern; (3c) shows that the location of stress remains the same when -ber is added (again stress is indicated by capitals).

Example 3

a. *ik lis dyn stelling wjer / ik wjerlis dyn stelling
I lay your statement against / I against-lay your statement
I refute your statement
b. Dat moatte wy al wjerLIZZE
that must we all right against-lay
We surely must refute that
c. Dyn stelling is wjerLISber
your statement is against-layable
Your statement is refutable

A detailed treatment of the suffix -ber can be found in -ber.

While as a rule -leas is a stress-neutral suffix, it can induce a rightward stress shift when it is followed by the suffix -ens (see Stress-neutral suffixes).

In addition to stress-shifting suffixes, there are also Stress-neutral suffixes and Stress-bearing suffixes.

  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Schultink, Henk1980Boundaries, word classes and the accentuation of derived words in DutchZonneveld, Wim, Coetsem, Frans & Robinson, Orrin W. (eds.)Dutch StudiesThe HagueSpringer Netherlands205-222