• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Saterfrisian
  • Afrikaans
Show all

Frisian displays examples of synthetic compounds which consist of a noun, a verb and the suffix -er. An example is legeroanfierder army-command-SUFF commander-in-chief. The number of relevant cases will be less than in other Germanic languages, due to the existence of noun incorporation in Frisian.


Complex nouns containing a noun, a verb and the suffix -er are an important pattern of synthetic compounds in other Germanic languages; English truckdriver is a well-known example. For Frisian, however, an analysis of such formations as synthetic compounds is problematic since the language shows noun incorporation, i.e. it has a productive pattern of forming verbal compounds consisting of a noun plus a verb. Adding a suffix would simply boil down to an act of derivation. In this respect, jerappeldoller [[[potato](N)[lift(V)](V)]SUFF] potato lifter is not fundamentally different from doller [[lift](V)]SUFF lifter itself, except for the fact that the verbal base is complex.

Yet, not all formations can be subsumed under such an analysis; for instance, since they do not obey the general condition for noun incorporation that it takes a volitional agent. Take as an example the noun garaazjehâlder garage-keep-SUFF. A verb *garaazjehâlde garage-keep does not exist, and is not conceivable either. An alternative analysis, which would take the complex noun as being an ordinary NN compound, would not make much sense either, since the noun hâlder is dubious here. Hence, an analysis as synthetic compound could be a good alternative, here possibly analogous to feehâlder livestock-keep-er livestock owner, as a verb phrase vee hâlde lifestock hold [(VP)[(NP)fee] [(V)hâlde]] to own lifestock does exist but the incorporation verb feehâlde lifestock-own [[fee](N)[own](V)](V) does not.

Other examples for which an analysis as synthetic compound might be appropriate are the following:

Table 1
noun verb suffix synthetic compound
lân country ferriede to trait -er lânferrieder traitor of one's country
keunst art kenne to know -er keunstkender art connoisseur
walfisk whale farre to sail -er walfiskfarder whaler
gesach authority fiere to pursue -er gesachfierder captain
tsjerke church gean to go -er tsjerkegonger churchgoer
pleit plea besoargje to deliver -er pleitbesoarger solicitor
godtsjinst religion iverje be zealous -er godtsjinstiverder religious fanatic
leger army oanfiere to command -er legeroanfierder commander-in-chief

Note that in the example tsjerkegonger churchgoer have a a case of suppletion. Furthermore, there are a few cases with d-insertion, for example in keunstkender art connoisseur.

The stress in these synthetic compounds is always on the noun, for example in tsjerkegonger churchgoer.

    printreport errorcite