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The suffix -emint is a French suffix originally and therefore it can be found in quite a number of French loans. Examples are amusemint amusement or isolemint isolation. It is especially related to non-native verbs ending in -ear(je). However, there are also a number of Germanic nouns and verbs to which the suffix can be attached. A nominal example is kaak jaw which becomes kakemint the lower and upper jaw and a verbal base is driigje to threaten, from which may be derived drigemint threat. Irrespective of the original language, Frisian nouns in -emint are always neuter.

[+]Non-native bases

Originally, -emint is a non-native suffix, cf. French -ement. In general, the derivations are neuter words that have a plural in -en. A lot of derivations can be related to verbs that contain the suffix -ear. Here are some illustrative pairs:

Table 1
Corresponding verbs Derivation
traktearje to treat traktemint wage
amusearje to amuse amusemint amusement
sinjalearje to witness sinjalemint description
mankearje to lack mankemint breakdown
isolearje to isolate isolemint isolation
abonnearje to subscribe abonnemint subscription
bombardearje to bomb bombardemint bombardment

In some cases there are no related words in Frisian. Examples are departemint department, evenemint event and parlemint parliament.

[+]Native verbal bases

There are also a few derivations in -emint that have a native verbal base:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
preuvelje to mumble preuvelemint talk, muttered prayer
bûg(j)e to bow bûgemint bow
driigje to threaten drigemint threat
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Possible input for new verbs

An interesting phenomenon is that these nouns in -emint can be input to form verbs again. We then get drigemintsje to threaten (< drigemint threat), bûgemintsje to bow(< bûgemint bow) and preuvelemintsje to talk (< preuvelemint talk, muttered prayer). At first sight, these formations seem to be simple conversions of noun to verb. However, there are good reasons to consider them as derivations with an independent verbal suffix -emint. The question is further dealt with in the topic on -emint which derives verbs from verbs.

[+]Noun as base

The suffix -emint may also be attached to nouns, mostly native or felt as native. In some cases, this results in a collective noun:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
ark tools arkemint tools, machine
troanje face troanjemint face
kaak jaw kakemint the lower and upper jaw

A substitution may be observed in fizelemint face, which exists next to fizelemy, adapted from French fysionomie.

In special contexts, and despite its collective character, the derivations may be pluralized. An example is de kakeminten fan dy smjunten the jaws of those scoundrels.

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Other suffixes that form collective nouns

The suffix -emint is not the only one that forms collective nouns. Comparable suffixes are:

  • -boel: hok shed > hokkeboel sheds;
  • -brol: papier paper > papierbrol papers;
  • -brot: krant newspaper > krantebrot newspapers;
  • -dom: minsk human > minskdom humanity;
  • -guod: fûgel bird > fûgelguod birds;
  • -heid: minsk human being > minskheid humanity;
  • -spul: bist animal > bistespul animals;
  • -wurk: skonk leg > skonkwurk legs.

In some other cases, the suffix just seems to have a strengthening function, for instance in soartemint kind next to soarte kind and donderemint next to donder. The latter pair are used in the expression immen op syn --- jaan to give someone a beating.


The suffix -emint has allomorphs in -amint (temperamint temperament), -issemint (arrondissemint district and -mint (ynstrumint instrument). These allomorphs have not penetrated to native bases (although the WFT dictionary Veen (1984-2011) has a quote with kakesemint jaws).

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This topic is mainly based on Hoekstra (1998:98) and De Haas and Trommelen (1993:266). See also Visser (2000:182-183), especially for the application to native elements.

  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Veen, Klaas F. van der et al1984-2011Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal - Woordenboek der Friese taalFryske Akademy
  • Visser, Willem2000Frjemd wurdt eigener. Oer de âlde Frânske lienwurden yn it FryskIt Beaken62141-218