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-isch
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The suffix -isch /is/ attaches to nouns or roots to form adjectives such as alfabetischalphabetic, morfologischmorphological, genetischgenetic, komischfunny or filmischcinematic. In complex bases, the relation is often one of affix replacement rather than addition, compare kritiekcriticism - kritischcritical. The direction of the derivation cannot always be ascertained. Other instances do not show any relation to other existing words, as can be seen in forms like drastischdrastic or sporadischsporadic.

The meaning relation between the base and the adjective is diverse; common variants are 'of X nature' (symbolischsymbolic) or 'having to do with X' (oceanischoceanic).

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[+] Productivity, stratum, input

Adjectivization with the suffix -isch is a common process. However, its productivity is difficult to ascertain because it mostly occurs with non-native bases or roots, which form a restricted, even if large, list. Yet, we can state correspondences such as that -isch adjectives are systematically available for nouns ending in -ist, e.g. autistautist > autistischautistic as well as for many nouns ending in -iek, e.g. atletiekathletics - atletischathletic.

The only attestested -isch adjectives with Germanic bases are filmischcinematic and the obsolete afgodischidolatrous.

[+] Phonological properties

-isch is a cohering suffix and does not bear stress. It attracts the main stress of the base, which ends up in the position before the suffix: drama/'drama/drama > dramatisch/dra'matis/dramatic. If the base ends in schwa, this vowel is deleted before -isch: methodemethod > methodischmethodical. Bases of -isch adjectives exhibit various alternations typical of non-native stem allomorphy, as shown in the following pairs:

apostelapostle > apostolischapostolic

chaoschaos > chaotischchaotic

demon/'demɔn/demon > demonisch/de'monis/demonic (in this case, the final vowel of the stem is lengthened)

dramadrama > dramatischdramatic, kameleonchameleon > kameleontischchameleon-like, energieenergy > energetischenergetic

fragmentfragment > fragmentarischfragmented.

[+] Morphological potential

Adjectives in -isch are not easily available for further derivation. An exception are forms with negative prefixes such as on-: onlogischillogical, onkritischuncritical. Forms with non-native prefixes, such as asymmetrischasymmetric, have usually been borrowed with their prefixes. Nominalizations of -isch adjectives are rare, but there is a systematic correlation between adjectives in -isch and nouns in -iek:

kritischcritical - kritiekcriticism

tragischtragic - tragiektragedy

problematischproblematic - problematiekdifficulty.

References:
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