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The suffix -k can derive verbs from nouns. Examples are: briefletter > briefkjeto correspond (with), fûstfist > fûstkjeto shake hands and grapjoke > grapkjeto joke. The resulting verbs belong to the weak class II, the so-called je-verbs. The main function of the suffix is to mark the change of word class. After dental segments, especially /n/, the allomorph -tsj occurs.

The suffix -k also derives verbs from adjectives, see -k with adjective as base. Verbal bases are discussed in -k with verb as base.

[+] General properties

The suffix -k can create verbs on the basis of nouns. Here is a list of examples:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
fûstfist fûstkjeto shake hands
blomflower blomkjeto bloom
stjerstar stjerkjeto see stars
grapjoke grapkjeto joke
karcart karkjeto cart
piippipe pypkjeto smoke a pipe
briefletter briefkjeto correspond (with)
boerfarmer buorkjeto run a farm
hoerwhore huorkjeto whore
noasnose noaskjeto nose (about)
einekoerduck nest einekuorkjeto make artificial duck nests
karweijob karweikjeto do odd jobs
koaiduck decoy koaikjeto run a duck decoy
hamboaioboe hamboaikjeto play oboe
bijbee bijkjeto be a bee-keeper
stropancake strookjeto bake pancakes
kanocanoe kanookjeto canoe
judojudo judookjeto practise judo
mousleeve moukjeto pull someone's sleeve
mefroumadam mefroukjeto address someone as madam
memmama memkjeto cry mama repeatedly
If we extend the idea of nominal base to even include a pronominal base, than the word dookjebe on first name terms could be added to the list; this verb is derived from the second person singular pronoun doyou.

There does not seem to be a restriction on the phonological make-up of the base, but it is striking that a relatively large part of the formations occurs after a final vocalic segment. The derivations always belong to the inflectional second class of the weak verbs. The stem is therefore followed by the ending -je to create the form of the infinitive.

[+] Functional properties

The basic function of the suffix seems to be a change of word class. In Frisian, this is usually performed by conversion, where the result is also a weak verb of class II. One might wonder what the extra function of -k could be in this respect. After vocalic segments, -k could possibly function as a hiatus filler. If it was not there, the final vowel of the stem would be adjacent to the semi-vowel of the ending -je, or even worse, to the other endings of the paradigm, which all begin with a schwa. In other cases, -k could possibly be seen as a more salient marking of the transposition.

It is claimed by Van der Meer (for his publications, see the literature) that, as with verbal bases, the suffix -k has a frequentative or iterative function. This cannot be excluded. For example, briefkje has the meaning to have a correspondence rather than that the verb is used when only one letter is written. On the other hand, pypkje is fully correct when only one pipe is smoked. That quite some formations exhibit habitual aspect does not necessarily have to be seen as a consequence of adding -k. It could also be the outcome of conversion proper. But it remains the case that several derivations denote the activity of a certain profession, as buorkjeto run a farm (from boerfarmer) or bijkjeto be a bee-keeper (from bijbee).

[+] Allomorphy

The suffix -k- has a palatalized variant -tsj-, which mainly occurs after base forms ending in /-n/ and sometimes after base forms ending in /-d/ or /-l/. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
sinsun sintsjeto sunbathe
teantoe teantsjeto tiptoe
trientear trientsjeto tear
feanpeat feantsjeto cut peat
túngarden túntsjeto garden
kernenotch kerntsjeto cut a notch
skilshell skiltsjeto fish for shells
koalcabbage koaltsjeto grow cabbage

At first sight, it might seem as if such forms are pure conversions of a diminutive noun. The final dental segments of the base nouns indeed select the diminutive form -tsje, as is dealt with in -DIM. However, as can for instance be seen from feanpeat, not all bases are count nouns, so diminutive formation is not applicable everywhere. Therefore, one must conclude that it is a true (palatalized) allomorph of -k that is involved here.

If palatalization is the cause of the variation, then one might expect that the variant form is -tsj indeed, with a phonetically inspired insertion of [s] between /t/ and /j/ (for more phonological information, see /{s/z}/-insertion between /{t/d}/ and /jə/). There are strong indications, however, that this cluster has been reanalyzed and that the final /j/ of -tsj has migrated to the verbal ending -je. The original theoretical sequence -tsj-je would undergo degemination to /tsjə/, which could then be viewed morphologically as t(s)-je. This would be in line with the usual pattern of class II verbs with a dental stem. Indeed, we see that in the verbal paradigm of the verbs at hand only /t/ is left to the stem. The verb teantsjeto tiptoe, for instance, gives hy teant-ethe tiptoes, and not *hy teantsjet, which would have been the form if -tsj fully belonged to the stem. Another indication is the deverbal derivation of agent nouns with the help of the suffix -er. The verb túntsjeto garden thus results in the form túntergardener. However, also the form túntsjer exists, possibly a reflection of the original suffix -tsj. The double forms feanter ~feantsjerpeat digger show the same variation. (N.B.: next to túnter and túntsjer, there is a third variant, i.e. túnker, regularly derived from the verb túnkjeto garden).

[hide extra information]
x A possible historical complication

It should be noted that assuming the sequence /tsj/ is not fully necessary. Historically, the first stage of the palatalization of stem-final /k/ results in /ts/, for example Old Frisian makiato make > early Middle Frisian meitse. Later these forms were levelled with the other verbs of class II, resulting in meitsje. See Loopstra (1935) for more details.

[+] Phonological properties

The formations often show breaking and shortening. The latter can be observed, for instance, in piippipe ~ pypkjeto smoke a pipe. Examples of breaking are briefkje[jI]to correspond from brief[iə]letter or teantsje[jɛ]to tiptoe from tean[Iə]toe.

[hide extra information]
x Literature

The main properties can be found in Hoekstra (1998:153). However, he does not consider the element /k/ as a derivational suffix, but rather as a linking element, analysing the relevant formations as being the product of conversion proper. On the other hand, Geart van der Meer in Van der Meer (1988), Van der Meer (1988) and Van der Meer (1989) does not discriminate nominal (and adjectival) bases with verbal bases. For him, an iterative meaning aspect is central, plus the semantic nuances that can be derived from it. An earlier publication is Tamminga (1975), also published in Tamminga (1985), which gives a lot of data, although its main focus is on agent nouns derived from the verbs at hand.

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
  • Loopstra, J.J1935De assibilatie in de Oudfriese oorkondenH.D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon
  • Meer, Geart van der1988K-verbs in some West-Germanic languages (1)NOWELE : North-Western European language evolution1151-72
  • Meer, Geart van der1988K-verbs in some West-Germanic languages (2)NOWELE : North-Western European language evolution123-14
  • Meer, Geart van der1989Some aspects of verbal repetition and diminution (On so-called -k- verbs in Frisian and Gronings).Abraham, Werner & Janssen, Theo (eds.)Tempus - Aspekt - Modus : die lexikalischen und grammatischen Formen in den germanischen SprachenTübingenNiemeyer323-341
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1975Fan 'Wâldtsjers' en 'Klaeikers'It Beaken4/5315-323
  • Tamminga, Douwe Annes1985Kantekers. Fersprate stikken oer taal en literatuerStifting Freonen Frysk Ynstitút oan de Ryksuniversiteit te Grins (FFYRUG)
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