• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
The meaning of affixes
quickinfo

Affixes can have more than one meaning. This polysemy of Afrikaans affixes corresponds to a large degree with affixal polysemy in Dutch. The discussion of Afrikaans affixal polysemy below is therefore largely based on Booij and Audring's article on the analysis of affixal polysemy in Dutch.

Polysemy (as well as homonymy, synonymy, and antonymy) can be associated with different base categories: when affixes attach productively to words of more than one category, this may correlate with a different semantic effect. An example is the nominal suffix –er. This suffix creates personal nouns from verbs and from other nouns. The difference in meaning is that deverbal -er creates specifically subject names, nouns that refer to the subject of the base verb, whereas denominal -er is used for creating all kinds of personal nouns (see more on this suffix here and here ):

Example 1

V-er
a. eter
eet-er
eat-NMLZ
eater
b. hardloper
hardloop-er
run-NMLZ
runner
Example 2

N-er
a. Pretorianer
Pretoria-n-er
Pretoria-LK-NMLZ
person from Pretoria
b. boodskapper
boodskap-er
message-NMLZ
messenger
readmore
[+] Polysemy across categories

For some affixes, meaning differences correlate directly with the word class of the base. An example is the verbalizing prefix be- whose meaning can be characterized as follows (the variable X represents the base):

-[be[x](V)](V) ↔ [to focus action SEM(V) upon someting], read as 'if X is a verb: ‘to focus action X upon something’ (kyk to look > bekykto look at)

-[be[x](N)](V) ↔ [to provide with SEM(N)] , read as 'if X is a noun: ‘to provide with X’ (manman > beman to man)

-[be[x](ADJ)](V) ↔ [to be/become/make SEM(ADJ)], read as 'if X is an Adj: ‘to be/become/make X’ (veiligsafe > beveilig to protect)

While not every be--verb fits these patterns, each of the three systematic meaning correlations is typical for one particular input category.

[show extra information]
x

Note that polyfunctionality (the ability to attach to bases of different lexical categories) and polysemy are independent phenomena. As pointed out by (Hüning 1999: 232), a polyfunctional affix can show the same range of polysemy for all types of base words. For example, the nominalizing suffix -ery can be used with verbal and nominal bases, and the resulting nouns can either be an action noun , or refer to the place/institution

[+] Polysemy within a category

Differences in meaning do not always align with the word sort of the base. The suffix –agtig, for example, can be associated with a variety of meanings, three of which are typical for nominal bases.

Table 1
Base Meaning Example
N [similar to SEM(N)] aapagtigmonkeyish
[full of SEM(N)] rotsagtigrocky
[like SEM(N)] pasta-agtiglike pasta
A [similar to SEM(A)] groenagtiggreenish
V [inclined to SEM(V)] vergeetagtigforgetful
Where such polysemy exists within a category, it is often the case that only one of the semantic patterns is productive. An example is the prefix ge-, which exists in a substantial number of deverbal nouns such as gebak [ge'bak]pastry < bak to bake, gebou building < bou to build, gesprek conversation < spreek to talk. In these ge--nominalizations, the semantic relations between prefix and base are manifold, and none of the patterns is productive. However, there is a productive pattern where [ge[x](V)](N) ↔ [continious SEM(V)] (often with a pejorative touch). Examples are getrommel drumming < trommel to drum, gelag laughing < lag to laugh. The freedom of deriving new ge--nouns of this sort can lead to polysemous formations such as gevoel which means ‘feeling, emotion’ (from voel to feel), but could also mean ‘continuous feeling’ or, less literal, ‘excessive emotionality’. Sometimes an older form can be distinguished from a younger, productive formation by a difference in the stem vowel: compare ge'sing (continuous) singing (pejorative connotation) versus ge'sang singing (no particular connotations). The latter form has ablaut, which is no longer productive in Afrikaans and Dutch.

Read more on:

Inputs and input restrictions: impossible and improbable combinations

Non-native morphology

References:
  • Hüning, Matthias1999Woordensmederij. De geschiedenis van het suffix -erijUtrechtLOT
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • -abel
    [75%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adjectival suffixes > Verb as base
  • -s
    [74%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Adverbial suffixes > Noun as base
  • Derivation
    [74%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation
  • -k
    [74%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Verbal suffixes > Noun as base
  • -k
    [74%] Frisian > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Suffixation > Verbal suffixes > Verb as base
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • 1.3.2. Deadjectival nouns
    [74%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.3. Derivation of nouns
  • 1.3.1.3. Ing-nominalization
    [74%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.3. Derivation of nouns > 1.3.1. Deverbal nouns
  • 1.2.2.2. Abstract nouns
    [73%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.2. Classification > 1.2.1. Proper nouns
  • 1.2.3. Semantic classification of main verbs
    [73%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.2. Verb classifications
  • 1.3.1.4. Ge-nominalization
    [73%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.3. Derivation of nouns > 1.3.1. Deverbal nouns
Show more ▼
cite
print
This is a beta version.