• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents

-een /e:n/ is a non-native stress-bearing cohering suffix forming nouns. It is found in two types of nouns: inhabitant names of common gender based on geographical names such as Chileen Chilean (< Chili Chile), with a plural form in -en (Chilenen Chileans), as well as in (international scientific) chemical compound names of neuter gender such as benzeen benzene.


-een is a non-native suffix forming nouns. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 201-2) distinguish two types:

  • a small set of inhabitant names of common gender based on geographical names such as Chileen Chilean (< Chili Chile ), with a plural form in -en (Chilenen Chileans). In Chileen someone from Chile, Manilleen someone from Manilla and Limeen someone from Lima we see deletion of the final vowel of the base, in Madrileen someone from Madrid we see an allomorphic variant of the suffix. These -een formations are input to adjective formation by means of the suffix -s, e.g. Chileens from or related to Chile. Female inhabitant names are on the basis of the adjective, e.g. Chileense woman from Chile.
    [hide extra information]

    See Affixes.org for ample discussion of the English counterpart -ene.

  • an open set of neuter mass nouns referring to chemical compounds, esp. hydrocarbons, containing a double or triple carbon-carbon bond, such as anthraceen anthracene, benzeen benzene, nafthaleen naphthalene, styreen styrene, tolueen toluene, xyleen xylene (Affixes.org). Dutch follows the official international terminology here, with only small adaptations in spelling and pronunciation. These formations are often used without an article (bij de ontploffing is benzeen vrijgekomen at the explosion is benzene free-come in the explosion, benzene was released).
    [hide extra information]

    Completely parallel to the information Affixes.org gives for the English counterpart -ene, the -een suffix is restricted in systematic chemical naming to open-chain (aliphatic) hydrocarbons that contain a double bond: hepteen, cyclopenteen. Some chemical compounds have both a systematic and a common name: etheen is the systematic name for ethyleen, propeen for propyleen, and so on. The general term for a member of the series, with its chemical formula CnH2n, is alkeen (or alcohol, as in German). The ending -yleen is used in systematic naming only to describe the groups —CH2— (methyleen), —C2H4— (ethyleen), and —C6H4— (phenyleen). Molecules that contain two double carbon-carbon bonds are given names using -dieen: butadieen, cyclopentadieen; those containing three double carbon-carbon bonds use -trieen: hexatrieen, cycloheptatrieen. Such compounds are known generically as diënen dienes and triënen trienes respectively.

The suffix -een carries the main stress of the derivation. It is cohering, as syllabification does not respect the morphological segmentation (Chileen Chil.een /ʃi-'le:n/).

  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij