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The non-native suffix -iteit can be attached to non-native adjectival bases to derive nouns. Examples are agressyf aggressive > agressiviteit aggression and yllegaal illegal > yllegaliteit illegality. Opaque bases exist as well, like *ident > identiteit identity. Exceptionally, a native base can be observed in stommiteit stupidity.


The suffix -iteit can be attached to non-native bases and primarily creates nouns on an adjectival basis. The suffix is related to French -ité and English -ity. Examples are listed below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
muzikaal musical muzikaliteit musicality
agressyf aggressive agressiviteit aggression
futyl trifling futiliteit futility
mentaal mental mentaliteit mentality
nerveus nervous nervositeit nervousness
orizjineel original orizjinaliteit originality
spesjaal special spesjaliteit speciality

Adjectives ending in the suffix -abel are also likely to be followed by -iteit: akseptabel acceptable > akseptabiliteit acceptability. In kapabel capable > kapasiteit capability, part of the suffix -abel may been truncated. Alternatively, one might assume an opaque base.

Opaque bases do indeed occur, as in: identiteit identity (*ident) or affiniteit affinity (*affin). For the derivation moraliteit morality the base form could be the adjective moralistysk moralistic, but also the noun (as an exception) moraal moral.

In one case a native adjective may function as the base, i.e. stom stupid, resulting in stommiteit stupidity.

[+]Comparison with -ens

The Frisian suffix -ens has a comparable function and is an alternative for -iteit:

Table 2
Base form Derivation in -iteit Derivation in -ens
nerveus nervous nervositeit tension nerveuzens tension
nayf naïve naïviteit naïveté naïvens naïveté
modern modern moderniteit modernity modernens modernity
passyf passive passiviteit passivity passivens passivity
populêr popular populariteit popularity populêrens popularity
progressyf progressive progressiviteit progression progressivens progressiveness
monumentaal monumental monumentaliteit monumentality monumentalens monumentality

Sometimes the meaning of these two forms can differ, as derivations in -ens are restricted to nominalization of a property, whereas those in -iteit also may refer to individual applications. For example, antyk antique can become antikiteit object from ancient times or antikens antiquity. The same applies to the native base stommiteit, which denotes a stupid action, whereas stommens refers to the general property of being stupid.

There are also derivations that do not have a counterpart in -ens: mentaal mental cannot become *mentalens mentality, for instance.

It should further be noted that that other nominalizing suffix, i.e. -heid, is not a real rival, as the basic adjectives of foreign origin usually end in a stressed syllable, to which -heid may not be attached; for this property of -heid, see input restrictions in -heid, -ens and -ichheid.

[+]Phonological properties

The suffix is pronounced as [itɛi ̯t]. The stress in the derivation is on the suffix, more in particular on the last syllable. We thus see a shift of stress from the base word to the suffix: muzikAAL musical > muzikaliTEIT musicality.

Additionally, there is a shortening of long final vowels of base words. An example is mentaal [mɛnta:l] mental > mentaliteit [mɛntalitɛi ̯t] mentality in which [a:] has been shortened. The same applies to muzikaal [mʏzika:l] musical > muzikaliteit [mʏzikalitɛi ̯t] musicality and spesjaal [spe:sja:l] special > spesjaliteit [spe:sjalitɛi ̯t] speciality.

Furthermore, some unexpected vowel changes occur in nerveus [nɛrfö:s] nervous > nervositeit [nɛrfo:zitɛi ̯t] nervousness and orizjineel [ɔrisine:l] original > orizjinaliteit [ɔrisinalitɛi ̯t] originality. These changes can be attributed directly to the source language French. Therefore, one has to conclude that these derivations are basically loaned in their entirety, in all likelihood from Dutch as the mediating language.

[+]Morphological potentials

Derivations in -iteit with an individual meaning can be input for pluralization with the suffix -en: spesjaliteit speciality > spesjaliteiten specialities, or identiteit identity > identiteiten identities. Many derivations, however, have an abstract character and do not have a plural: naïviteit naïveté > ?naïviteiten naïvetés. Diminutive forms are not used.

If the derivations are used as the first member of a nominal compound, they always take a linking element -s-. An example is identiteitskrisis identity crisis.