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Infixation is the insertion of an affix inside a base. Infixation is very rare in Frisian. It only occurs with complex adjectives that contain an intensifying prefix. An example is reinferlegen in urgent need (for something) > reinstienferlegen in urgent need (for something), where the infix -stien- is inserted. Although this element also occurs as the noun stien stone, it only has an extra intensifying (or affective) function here.


Infixation is a very marginal phenomenon in Frisian. This already might be expected on theoretical grounds, as infixation in Frisian needs a complex base, in contrast to prefixation and suffixation, which may operate on a simplex word. Infixation in Frisian only occurs in the derivation of adjectives. The input adjectives are all prefixed by an intensifying element that appears in an elative compound, or by the comparable prefix poer-. Here are the main cases:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
poergek very crazy poergleongek very crazy
poerhastich very hasty poergekhastich very hasty
poermâl very mad poerstrontmâl very mad
reinferlegen in urgent need (of something) reinstienferlegen in urgent need (of something)
deaferlegen in urgent need (of something) deastienferlegen in urgent need (of something)
sikerwier very true sikersûndewier definitely true

One reason for assuming that something like infixation is going on in such cases is the fact that for example the word *gekhastich does not exist, where poerhastich does. Therefore, a possible prefixation with poer- is excluded. One therefore has to conclude that -gek- in poergekhastich has been inserted between poer- and -hastich.

In addition, it is plausible that what is inserted here really has the status of an affix. It must be conceded that the inserted elements also occur as independent word. Nevertheless, compounding is not an obvious option, as this always operates on the edges of the input, and not inside a base. Another argument is functional. The word stien, for instance, is the Frisian word for stone, but here it only has an intensifying role. This is not different from the other inserted elements, which in this respect quite closely resemble the first element of elative compounds. They therefore have the effect of a further intensification, and possibly in connection, the infix might also add an element of affectiveness here.

Since the data are so scarce, one is led to assume that this pattern of infixation is not productive in Frisian. On the other hand, one could also imagine that new formations can readily be formed, given the strong emotional atmosphere which such derivations belong to.

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These infixation facts of Frisian reminds one of the behaviour of English fucking or bloody in derivations like fan-fucking-tastic or abso-bloody-lutely. A difference is the condition in Frisian that the insertion point is between two morphemes.

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This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:73-74).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy