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The suffix -ig derives verbs from nouns. An example is sûndigje to commit a sin, which is derived from sûnde sin. The process is not productive. Some formations have a parallel formed by conversion, for instance seinje to bless next to seinigje to bless (from seine blessing). The output verbs all belong to class II of the weak verbs, hence they have an infinitive ending in -je. The same suffix -ig also takes adjectival bases, and in one case a numeral.

[+]General properties

The suffix -ig, phonologically /əɣ/, may form verbs on the basis of nouns and adjectives, and in one case a numeral as its base. Nominal bases are far more frequent, however, although also this pattern is not productive. Category change seems to be the main function of the suffix. An important phonological restriction is the fact that it only occurs after stems ending in a dental consonant: /t/, /d/, /s/ and /n/.

The derived verbs all inflect as weak verbs of class II. This is in accordance with the distribution of other verbs ending in a schwa syllable, which likewise belong to class II. Hence the output verbs get an ending -je in their infinitival form.

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Note that J. Hoekstra does not consider -ig as a derivational suffix, but rather as a linking element, as has been mentioned in the introduction to the verbal prefixes. For further details with respect to -ig, see Hoekstra (1998:153-154) and also Hoekstra (1993). The latter publication also tentatively gives an explanation of the fact that the basis always ends in a dental consonant. Hoekstra assumes that the insertion of -ig is performed in order to avoid a clash between the dental of the stem and the dental that occurs in the verbal inflection suffixes. The element -ig would then result in a better perception of the inflectional suffix.

[+]Nominal base

Most derivations with -ig have a noun as base word. Here are some examples:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
ein end einigje to end
freding fence fredigje to fence off
hân hand handigje to be easy for someone
krûs cross krusigje to crucify
nut use nuttigje to consume
seine blessing seinigje to bless
stien stone stiennigje to stone
sûnde sinn sûndigje to commit a sin

Some of these bases may also be the input for a simple conversion. Sometimes, they have exactly the same meaning, as freedzje to fence off and seinje to bless. Examples with a divergent meaning are einje to be under way to the end and krúsje to make a cross. We see truncation of a final schwa in seine blessing and sûnde sinn.

[+]Adjectival base

Adjectives are quite rare as a base for forming a verb with the suffix -ig. Examples are fêst fixed > fêstigje to settle and rein clean > reinigje to clean. Other formations are prefixed, as be-wissigje to ascertain, from wis certain and next to converted bewisje.

[+]Numeral base

The suffix -ig may also be used to form a verb out of a numeral. However, this only occurs with the numeral ien one. The verb ienigje generally means to unite, in its general, abstract sense. It is also used biologically, with the meaning to grow together.

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This topic is mainly based on Hoekstra (1998:153-154). See also Hoekstra (1993:5-24), which primarily takes a historical perspective on the subject. In addition, the same publication pays a great deal of attention to so-called g-verbs. The insertion of /ɣ/ in such verbs is, however, a purely phonological matter, and has no morphological impact, although the element may become homophonous with the suffix at hand by a later insertion of schwa.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1993Ig-tiidwurden en g-tiidwurdenUs wurk: tydskrift foar Frisistyk421-68
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1993Ig-tiidwurden en g-tiidwurdenUs wurk: tydskrift foar Frisistyk421-68
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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