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-zaam
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The suffix -zaam (/za:m/ or /sa:m/) is an unproductive affix occuring in combination with verbs and forming adjectives with the meaning 'having a tendency/ability to X': zwijgento be silent > zwijgzaamtaciturn, wakento watch > waakzaamwatchful. In other cases, the stem is nominal or adjectival rather than verbal: deugdvirtue > deugdzaamvirtuous, zeldenrarely > zeldzaamrare or is not a currently existing free lexical item, as in moeizaamdifficult.

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[+] General properties, input, stratum

-zaam attaches mainly to stems of transitive verbs, the resulting meaning is 'having a tendency/ability to X': sparento save > spaarzaamthrifty. economical, voedento feed > voedzaamnourishing. In the few cases where the base verb is ergative, the adjective does not relate to the subject of the verb, but to another semantic element: groeiento grow > groeizaam weerweather favourable for growing.

In some cases, the semantic relationship between the base and the derived adjective is idiosyncratic: minnento love > minzaamamiable, handhand > handzaamhandy, manageable, herbergento house > (on)herbergzaam(in)hospitable.

Most verbal bases are Germanic and monomorphemic. Exceptions to the latter are words such as behoedzaambe-hoed-zaamcautious, verdraagzaamver-draag-zaamtolerant, mededeelzaammede-deel-zaamcommunicative, opmerkzaamop-merk-zaamattentive.

A number of complex adjectives ending in -zaam have non-verbal bases; examples are the denominal deugdzaamvirtuous (from deugdvirtue and vreedzaampeaceful (from vredepeace) and deadjectival langzaamslow (from langlong), gemeenzaamcommon, shared (from gemeencommon) and zeldzaamrare (from zeldenrarely). Special cases are bedachtzaamcautious, deliberate which has as its base a past participle (the stem of the verb being bedenkthink (about), consider) and behulpzaamhelpful, based on a lost variant of (zich be)helpento help (oneself). Finally, there is eenzaamlonely, a loan translation from German, where it is based on a numeral.

In some cases, syntactic properties from the base carry over to the derivation. For example, the verb werkento work occurs with the prepositions bijwith, at or voorfor; both prepositions also appear with the derived adjective werkzaam: werkzaam bijworking with/at, werkzaam voorworking for.

[+] Phonological properties

-zaam has two phonologically conditioned allomorphs: /za:m/ and /sa:m/. The latter occurs as the result of progressive assimilation after stems ending in a voiceless obstruent. -zaam is a non-cohering affix and does not bear stress. However, it can influence the stress pattern of the base as it requires the main stress to be on the last stem syllable: opmerken/'opmerken/remark > opmerkzaam/op'merkzaam/remarkable. If a base ends in a syllable with schwa as nucleus, this syllable is deleted before the affix vredepeace > vreedzaampeaceful, mededogencompassion > mededoogzaamcompassionate, zeldenrarely > zeldzaamrare.

[+] Morphological potential

Adjectives ending in -zaam can serve as input for other words, especially nominalizations in -heid (buigzaamheidflexibility) and adjectives prefixed with on- (onbuigzaamrigid. In some cases, only the on--form exists: onachtzaamcareless but *achtzaam. Verbalization is not possible, with the exception of veronachtzamento neglect, vereenzamento grow lonely en verlangzamento slow down, all of which have the verbalizing prefix ver-.

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