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Prefixation is the addition of an affix to the left edge of a base. Prefixes can be attached to the major lexical categories nouns, verbs and adjectives. In addition, some prefixes derive adverbs, and, quite marginally, numerals. A large number of the prefixes is category-neutral, that is, they do not change the category of the base word, in accordance with the Righthand Head Rule. However, some frequent verbal prefixes, and also nominal ge-, do not obey this rule. In addition, the prefix alden-, which takes interjections, has a special position in this respect.

Frisian prefixes are always non-cohering. In derivations it is normally the prefix that is stressed. This does not apply to the verbal prefixes, as most of them have a schwa as nucleus. Adjectival prefixes expressing negation may also leave the main stress on the base. A more detailed overview of stress in prefixed words is given in the phonological part.

The treatment of prefixes focuses here on the native stock, although also some important non-Germanic nominal and adjectival prefixes will be discussed.

Adpositions that are attached in front of verbs, especially the inseparable ones, are sometimes also considered to be prefixes. This may involve separable formations, e.g. útsjen out-see to look out, and inseparable ones like omklamje around-clasp to hug. However, in one setup we to treat such formations as instances of composition, with an adpositional left-hand member.


The treatment of suffixes is structured in three levels. At the highest level, a division is made according to the lexical category that is formed. Terms like nominal prefixes or verbal prefixes denote those prefixes that form nouns, verbs, etc. The middle level shows a division in the choice of the base. Here we find titles like noun as base or verb as base, as are for example the two possibilities of nominal prefixes. Establishing this level has the immediate advantage that it offers a quick answer to the question which prefixes can be added to which lexical base. Finally, the lowest level consists of topics that describe the individual prefixes that can be attached to a certain base, in order to derive the relevant lexical category.

Words of the following lexical categories can be derived by prefixation: