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-ich
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The suffix -ich is the most productive suffix to derive adjectives from nouns (rêstrest > rêstichcalm), from other adjectives (griengreen > grienichgreenish), and from verbs (rideljeshiver > ridelichshaking).

When the base form is a noun, the derivation has the meaning "to resemble {noun}" or "with much {noun}", for example: glêsglass > glêzichglassy and hierhair > hierrichhairy. When the base form is an adjective, the derivation has the meaning "more or less {adjective}", for example: siiksick > sikicha little sick. When the base form is a verb, the derivation has the meaning "with a tendency to {verb}", for example: frettehave a nibble > fretterichliking to eat a lot. There are a few -ich derivations which can be added to an adverb. The derivation then has the meaning "with a tendency to {adverb}", for example: fuortgone > fuorterichliking to go out.

In some cases, however, the meaning of the -ich-adjective is idiosyncratic and not easily recoverable from its base, see e.g. aardichnice < aardnature, disposition. Sometimes, the category of the base is ambiguous: an adjective like fettichfatty could be derived from the adjective fetfat or the homophonous noun fetfat. In other cases, the base does not or no longer exist as an independent word, as in sunicheconomical < *sún.

The suffix -ich has a variant -erich. This suffix only occurs after nouns (triedthread > triedderichstringy) or verbs (flybjeslobber > fliberichslobbery). -erich can be analysed as a derivation in -ich, of which the base form is extended with the augment -er-. More information can be found in the section on linking below.

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[+] General properties

The suffix -ich forms adjectives from nouns, other adjectives, verbs or adverbs. The affix has a close competitor -eftich, which has a similar semantic effect.

The suffix -ich is often used where the Dutch language uses other suffixes or suffixoids. Examples are the Dutch suffixes -achtig (compare Dutch babbelachtigtalkative with Frisian babbelichtalkative), -rijk (compare Dutch bosrijkwoody with Frisian boskichwoody), -ziek (compare Dutch plaagziekteasing with Frisian pleagerichteasing), -gierig (compare Dutch leergieriginquisitive with Frisian learderichinquisitive) and -lustig (compare Dutch vechtlustigtruculent with Frisian fjuchterichtruculent). Besides this, Frisian sometimes uses the suffix -ich where Dutch has a present participle (compare Dutch trillende vingerstrembling fingers with Frisian trillerige fingerstrembling fingers).

In some cases, the base does not exist as a word. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
*steef stevichsteady
*sún sunicheconomical
*deft deftichdistinguished, stately
*feil feilichsafe
*ept eptichneatly
*leid leidichtempting
*gjir gjirrichstingy
*weet wetichpedantic
*sloar(d) sloarderichuntidy
An interesting subclass is -ich-adjectives derived from more than one lexical category. The base then consists of a combination of adjective/numeral + noun. More information on such derivations can be found under synthetic compounds.

[show extra information]
x Diminutive as input

In Frisian, a diminutive can also be the base of an -ich-derivation. The final schwa is deleted then: bledsjeleaflet > bledsjichwith a lot of leaflet-like plants, plakjespot > plakjichspotted. Or the sequence -je is completely deleted at all: kerltsjegrain > kerltsichgranular, houtsjesmall piece of wood > houtsichwoody. This is a very uncommon process, however.

[+] Noun as input

When the base form is a noun, the derivation has the meaning "to resemble {noun}" or "with much {noun}". Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
toarstthirst toarstichthirsty
oastknot oastichknotty
oaljeoil oaljichoily
hierhair hierrichhairy
tar(re)tar tarrichtarry
smotsmud smodzichmuddy
koartsfever koartsichfeverish
lokluck lokkichlucky
swevelsulphur swevelichsulphur-like
wantrouwendistrust wantrouwichdistrustful
opstânrebellion opstannichrebellious
taalkundelinguistics taalkundichlinguistic
-ich derivations from nouns are sometimes used as an adjectival addition to the verbs smeitsjeto taste and rûketo smell (stink), instead of the adjectival wordgroup smeitsje nei ...to taste like... and rûke nei ...to smell like .... This is shown in the example below:

Example 1

a. Dizze wyn smakket nei hars
this wine tastes to resin
This wine tastes like resin
a.' Dizze wyn smakket harsich
this wine tastes resinous
This wine tastes like resin
b. It rûkt nei ferve
it smells to paint
It smells like paint
b.' It rûkt fervich
it smells painty
It smells like paint

-ich derivations can also have the meaning "fond of {noun}", examples are fiskfish > fiskichfishy, kwisquiz > kwissichfond of quizzes. Derivations with this denotation are negative polarity items; they can only be used in a construction like net sa ... wêzenot so ... to.benot liking ... that much. In this use the suffix can also take proper names as a base. Examples are provided in (2):

Example 2

Net sa fiskich wêze
not so fishy be
Not liking fish that much
Net sa kwissich wêze
not so quizzy be
Not liking quizzes that much
Ik wie doe net sa Kokkich
I was then not so Kok-SUFF
In those days, I was not a supporter of prime minister Kok

The same usage can be found in derivations with -eftich and -man.

[+] Adjective as input

When the base form is an adjective, the derivation has the meaning "more or less {adjective}". Examples are given in the table below:

Table 3
Base form Derivation
readred readichreddish
soersour soerichsourish
wietwet wieticha little wet
âldold âldicholdish
soersour soerichsourish
oranjeorange oranjichorange-like
beroerdmiserable beroerdichsomewhat miserable
minbad minnicha little bad
foarssturdy foarsicha little sturdy
-ich derivations from adjectives are only possible with adjectives that can undergo modification; absolute adjectives (they have a meaning that is generally not capable of being intensified or compared) do not allow -ich: besibberelated > *besibbich, rjochtstraight > *rjochtich or deadead > *deaïch. Nor can the suffix be added to the adjectives ending in -ich of which the base form cannot be recognized anymore (see table above). Apparently, two adjacent instances of the same affix are prohibited (possibly to be related to some constraint like the Stuttering Prohibition or the Repeated Morph Constraint). Instead the suffix -jes is added: sunicheconomical > *sunigich > sunichjesa little economical, stadichslow > *stadigich > stadichjesa little slow. (Follow the corresponding link for more details about the -DIMs suffix). Derivations with -ich from adjectives ending in /ɣ/ are doubtful in any case, which is shown by the following examples: smoarchdirty > ?smoargichgrubby, wurchtired > ?wurgicha little tired, slûchsleepy > ?slûgicha little sleepy (compare slûchjesa little sleepy, with -DIMs) and droechdry > ?droegichsomewhat dry (compare droechjessomewhat dry, with -DIMs).

In Dutch, -ich derivations from an adjective often have a linking element -er-, which is impossible in Frisian. For example Dutch groeneriggreenish vs Frisian *grienerich / grienichgreenish.

In some cases -ich is only added to the base form to make the adjective more suitable for attributive use. This contrast is shown in the examples (3) and (4):

Example 3

a. ?In fjouwerkante keamer
a square chamber
A square chamber
b. In fjouwerkantige keamer
a square-SUFF chamer
A square-like chamber
Example 4

a. ?In felette blom
a violet flower
A violet flower
b. In felettige blom
a violet-SUFF flower
A violet-like flower
[+] Verb as input

When the base is a verb, the derivation has the meaning "with a tendency to {verb}". Examples are given in the table below:

Table 4
Base form Derivation
hoastjeto cough hoasterichcoughy
gûleto whipe gûlderichtearful
gnizeto chuckle gnizerichinclined to chuckle
triljeto tremble trilderichinclined to tremble
krimmenearjeto whine krimmenearderichinclined to whine
opdwaanto pretend opdwaanderichpretentious
dreameto dream dreamerichdreamy
slingerjeto swing slingerichswinging
broeieto brew broei(er)ichsultry
jildeto count jildichvalid
neinimmeto be attracted neinimmichsensitive
knoffeljeto stumble knoffelicheasily stumbling
As can be seen, -ich derivations from verbs often have an addition of -er- to the base. This is the case when the last syllable of the stem of the verb is stressed: dreameto dream > DREAM > dreamerichdreamy. When the final syllable of the base is unstressed, the suffix is added directly to this base form: slingerjeto swing > SLINGer > slingerichswinging. Next to this productive linking element -er-, one can sometimes find the lexicalized linking elements -el-, -en- and -st-: biteto bite > bit-el-ichbitish, tizeto tangle > tiz-en-ichtangled or brimmeto hem > brim-st-ichruttish. The items with a linking element -el- or -en- have a variant with linking -er-: bit-el-ichbitish next to bit-er-ichbitish and tiz-en-ichtangled next to tiz-er-ichtangled.

Sometimes, -ich derivations from verbs, just like -ich derivations from nouns, are used as an adjectival addition to the verbs smeitsjeto taste and rûketo smell (stink). This is shown in the example below:

Example 5

a. It iten smakket branderich
this food tastes burned
This food tastes burned
b. It rûkt hjir rikkerich
it smells here smoky
It smells smoky in here

The -ich-formations derived from a verbal base can also have the meaning "fond of {verb}". An example is tútsjeto kiss > tuterichfond of kissing. However, derivations with this denotation are negative polarity items; they can only be used in a construction with net sa ... wêzenot so ... to.benot liking ... that much. An example is:

Example 6

Net sa tuterich wêze
not so kiss-SUFF be
Not liking kissing that much

The same usage can be found in derivations with -eftich and -man.

[+] Adverb as input

There are a few -ich derivations from adverbs, which are semantically comparable with -ich derivations from verbs: "with a tendency to {adverb}", for example fuortaway > fuorterichto like going out and útout > uterichto like going out. Examples with these -ich derivations are given below:

Example 7

Ik bin net sa fuorterich
I am not so away-SUFF
I do not like going out that much
Hy is frijwat uterich
he is quite out-SUFF
He rather likes going out

Possibly these formations have been derived from the semantic verbal predicates fuortGEANto go away and útGEANto go out. There is a comparable ellipsis of the verb geanto go in Frisian syntax.

[+] Phonological properties

Phonologically, -ich[əx] is a cohering suffix; bases ending in a consonant are resyllabified so that the consonant becomes the onset of the last syllable of the derivation. Bases ending in [ə] lose this vowel in the derivation: moudedustlike soil > moudichsandy.

-ich-words are stressed on the last syllable before the suffix. This means that the stress often shifts towards the end of the base (EARmoedpoverty > earMOEdichpoorly and NEInimmeto take it hard > neiNIMmichsensitive to).

A strange phonological phenomenon occurs in the following derivations: grouwélichaverse to (< grouwelaversion) and mandélichcommunal (< mandecommon). The [ə] from the baseform is 'strengthened' to [e:]: /mɔndə/ > /mɔnde:lɪɣ/. The explanation should be sought in the fact that the stress shifts to the final syllable of the base form.

Base forms ending in /ɣ/ do not easily take -ich. Instead, they often get the suffix -eftich, for example: berchmountain > ?bergichhilly > bercheftichhilly.

When the base form ends in /r/, /d/ is obligatorily added: seureto whine > seurcry > *seurerichwhiny > seurderichwhiny. When the base form ends in a /l/ or /n/, this process is optional: trilshiver > trillerichshivery > trilderichshivery. More details can be found in the topic about d-insertion .

[+] Linking

Some of the -ich derivations which have a noun or verb as base form can have an extra form with the linking -er-, resulting in -erich[ərəx]. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 5
Base form Derivation
streekline strek(er)ichstreaky
gathole gat(ter)ichfull of holes
klutlump klut(er)ichlumpy
wynwind winich/wynderichwindy
skeinsprútsunspot skeinsprút(er)ichfreckled
Dutch has a suffix -erig. In Frisian this suffix is seen as a variant of the suffix -ich with the linking element -er-.

Sometimes, there is a difference in meaning between the form with -er- and without -er-: bluodderichbloody vs bloedichdifficult. There are also words that only occur with -er-: triedderichstringy vs *trieddich and wielderichluxuriant vs *wieldich.

Next to -er-, there are three -ich derivations with the linking element -en-: dizemist > diz-en-ichmisty, wolkcloud > wolk-en-ichcloudy and geizensick > geiz-en-ichsickly/unhealthy. However, the forms dizichmisty, wolkichcloudy and geizichsickly/unhealthy also exist.

A -t- linking element can be found in bien-t-ichbony < bienbone and wjirm-t-ichworm-eaten < wjirmworm. The word dei-st-ichdaily < deiday shows a rare linking element -st-.

[+] Morphological potential

Adjectives ending in -ich can be input for further derivations, the most common being the addition of the negative prefix ûn- (ûnhandichawkward, ûnskuldichinnocent, ûnrêstichrestless) or nominalization with -heid or -ens (feilichheid/feiligenssafety, twatalichheid/twataligensbilingualism). Note, however, that the part ich is not an independent suffix in all the words ending in the sequence ichheid, as there is also an independent suffix -ichheid. For example, in the following cases the form without -heid is ungrammatical: *gauwichhurried vs gauwichheidhurriedness and *wissichsureness vs wissichheidsureness. See -heid, -ichheid and -ich for more details about these suffixes.

Another option for morphological potential is verbalization, especially with a verbalizing prefix such as be-, fer- or ûnt-: befeiligjeto secure, ferstevigjeto strengthen, ûntmoedigjeto discourage.

[show extra information]
x Literature

This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:127-130).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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