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Noun as base

Quite a number of prefixes may derive nouns on the basis of nouns. With the exception of wjer-, they can semantically be grouped into three main categories:

  1. Kinship terms. These consist of âld-, bet-, efter-, foar-, heal-, kâld-, oarre-, oer-, pot-, skoan- and styp-. The prefixes indicate a modification of an already existing family relationship, for instance in order to mark a higher degree of kinship. They are mostly unproductive, as they are restricted to family terms.
  2. Status. These prefixes indicate a modification of a social ranking. Among them are aarts-, âld-, eks-, fise-, haad-, oer- and ûnder-.
  3. Negation. This category primarily consists of prefixes indicating the non-existence of what is referred to by the base, as do dis-, mis-, net-, ûn- and wan-. Some of them may also result in a negative valuation of the base noun. Prefixes like rot-, skyt- and stront- only express a negative statement.

Many of these prefixes are actually prefixoids: their form also exists as a separate word. Among them are âld-, efter-, foar-, haad-, heal-, kâld-, oer-, rot-, -skyt, stront- and ûnder-.

Generally, the prefixes bear the main stress of the derivation. An exception is net-, and also âld- and eks- display some complexities in this respect.

The prefixes dis-, eks-, fise, and also aarts-, are from a non-Germanic origin. With respect to foreign suffixes we often see that these also impose stratal restrictions to the base. These foreign prefixes, however, freely take native bases, for example in eks-foarsitter former president.

The prefix bet- can be applied to its own output, for example in betbetoerpake great-great-great-grandfather, derived from betoerpake great-great-grandfather. We also see this recursivity with the prefix efter-. Bet-, as a higher degree kinship term, came to be used as a time adverbial (see bet- forming adverbs on the base of adverbs), also indicating a higher degree. The prefix oar(r)e- displays the same behaviour.


More details about the individual prefixes can be obtained by following the corresponding links. In alphabetical order:

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The semantic distinction among these nominal prefixes is also made by Hoekstra (1998:63-68).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy