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The suffix -ernôch is a productive suffix that derives adverbs or predicatively used adjectives from other adverbs or adjectives. An example is goed good > goedernôch good enough. The suffix is grammaticalized from the word genôch enough, from which it also inherited its syntactic and semantic properties. In addition, the suffix developed into a general marker of adverbiality.

[+]General properties

The suffix -ernôch is a grammaticalization of Old Frisian enōg enough. In most cases, its meaning contribution is still related to its historical origin. This is basically "enough of {adverb/adjective}".

Table 1
Base form Derivation
fatsoenlik decent fatsoenlikernôch decent enough
heech high hegernôch high enough
moai beautiful moaiernôch beautiful enough
grien green grien(d)ernôch green enough
lokkich happy lokkigernôch happily enough

However, this element of sufficiency can also easily turn into a negative appreciation, especially with bases that already denote a concept that one should avoid. In that case, the meaning extends to "more than enough, too much of {adverb/adjective}". Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
grut large grutternôch too large
slim bad slimmernôch too bad
mâl crazy mâl(d)ernôch too crazy
meager skinny meagerdernôch too skinny
raar weird raardernôch too weird
stoef surly stoefernôch too surly

Next to these senses that still have a relation with the original concept enough, also a usage developed in which the derivation is semantically empty to a large extent. The function of the suffix is then reduced to mark the adverbial status of the base. Some examples are provided in (1)-(5):

Example 1

Earlikernôch moat men ynskikke dat ....
honest-SUFF must one admit that ....
Honestly, one should admit that ....
Example 2

Hy wie dúdlikernôch siik
he was clear-SUFF ill
He was clearly ill
Example 3

Wy ha begryplikernôch holpen
we have understable-SUFF helped
Understandably, we offered help
Example 4

Aparternôch wie it finster iepen
Strange-SUFF was the window open
Strange to say, the window was open
Example 5

Opfallendernôch hiene se deselde flaters makke
striking-SUFF had they the.same mistakes made
Strikingly, they had made the same mistakes

Finally, there are also a few derivations which meaning is more or less untransparent in relation to the base forms: lyk the same > likernôch almost, nei after > neiernôch as good as, almost and spitich pity > spitigernôch regrettably.

[+]Phonological properties

Obligatorily after stems ending in /r/, and optionally after stems with final /l/ and /n/, we see the insertion of /d/. This is in line with a general rule of d-insertion before the sequence /ər/. Examples are raardernôch nicely enough, fûl(d)ernôch fanatically enough and finernôch/fyndernôch fine enough.

[+]Syntactic properties

If derived from adverbs, the formations have the same distribution as the base. An example is fakernôch often enough, from the adverb faak often. Derived adjectives can only be used predicatively. Thus one can say

Example 6

Dat famke is my meagerdernôch
That girl is me skinny-SUFF
In my opinion, that girl is too skinny

However, the attributive construction *dat meagerdernôge famke that skinny-SUFF-INFL that too skinny girl is impossible. This is in accordance with the syntactic possibilities of the word genôch enough itself, which likewise cannot be used in an attributive position.


The use of this suffix is mainly restricted to the written language, and even then only in an elevated style. The more common formulation is with the full word genôch enough itself.

[hide extra information]

The main source for this topic is the lemma about this subject in WFT (Wurdboek Fryske Taal): Veen (1984-2011). The meaning aspect more than enough, too much was already noted in Dykstra (1933:23). For historical aspects, see Versloot (2003).

  • Dykstra, J.K1933In Fryske lesDe Weitsrop122-24
  • Veen, Klaas F. van der et al1984-2011Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal - Woordenboek der Friese taalFryske Akademy
  • Versloot, Arjen P2003GrutternôchFriesch Datgblad2-8-2003unknown