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Suffixation
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Suffixation is the process of adding a bound morpheme (i.e. a suffix) at the right edge of a base word, thus producing a suffixed word.

Suffixes are mostly category-determining, i.e. changing the syntactic category of the complex word as a whole. The examples below illustrate how suffixes can create nouns in example (1), verbs in example (2), adjectives in example (3), and adverbs in example (4). In other cases, e.g. to indicate gender as in example (5), suffixes are category-neutral.

Example 1

Nominalisation (NMLZ)
werk·er
[[werk](V)[er](NMLZ)](N)
work·NMLZ
worker
Example 2

Verbalisation (VBZ)
fout·eer
[[fout](N)[eer](VBZ)](V)
error·VBZ
err
Example 3

Adjectivalisation (ADJZ)
sport·ief
[[sport](N)[ief](ADJZ)](ADJ)
sport·ADJZ
sporting; sportsmanlike
Example 4

Adverbialisation (ADVZ)
droog·weg
[[droog](ADJ)[weg](ADVZ)](ADV)
dry·ADVZ
dryly
Example 5

Category-neutral (CN)
kelner·in
[[kelner](N)[in](CN.F)](N)
waiter·CN.F
waitress
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The suffix system of Afrikaans overlaps to a large extent with that of Dutch. The description of Afrikaans suffixation in this section is therefore based on the Dutch topic on suffixation.

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The category determining nature of suffixes is considered evidence for the Right-hand Head Rule that claims that the rightward morphological constituent of a complex word is its head and hence determines its syntactic category (Trommelen and Zonneveld 1986), as illustrated in the examples above.

Suffixes can be cohering or non-cohering. While most non-native and native suffixes are cohering, a number of native suffixes are non-cohering. Compare for instance the following suffixes, which were all historically independent words: -agtig, -baar, -dom, -heid, -ling, -loos, -skap, -saam. For the same historical reason, affixoids are always non-cohering.

Suffixes play a central role in determining the location of the main stress of a complex word, and can be stress-bearing (attracting), stress-shifting (fixing), or stress-neutral (Booij 1995:110-115; Booij 2002:169). Most non-native suffixes are stress-bearing (example (6)), and in a few cases stress-shifting (example (7)), or traditionally stress-neutral (example (8)). Native suffixes can be stress-bearing (example (9)), stress-shifting (example (10)), or stress-neutral (example (11)).

Example 6

Non-native suffix: stress-bearing
problem·at·iek
/prɔ.blə.maˈtik/
[[probleem](N)[at](LK)[iek](NMLZ)](N)
problem·LK·NMLZ
difficulty
Example 7

Non-native suffix: stress-shifting
problem·at·ies
/prɔ.bləˈma.tis/
[[probleem](N)[at](LK)[ies](ADJZ)](A)
problem·LK·ADJZ
problematic
Example 8

Non-native suffix: stress-neutral
antikwar·ies
/ɑn.tiˈkwa.ris/
[[antikwaar](N)[ies](ADJZ)](A)
antiquary·ADJZ
antiquarian
Example 9

Native suffix: stress-bearing
kelner·in
/kæl.nəˈrən/
[[kelner](N)[in](CN.F)](N)
waiter·CN.F
waitress
Example 10

Native suffix: stress-shifting
oor·draag·baar
/orˈdrax.bar/
[[[oor](PREP.PTCL)[dra](V)](V)[baar](ADJZ)](ADJZ)
over·bear·ADJZ
transferable; contagious
[In the separable complex verb oor·dra, main stress is on the first syllable. Note that draag is an allomorph of the verb drabear.]
Example 11

Native suffix: stress-neutral
oor·draag·baar·heid
/orˈdrax.bar.ɦəit/
[[[[oor](PREP.PTCL)[dra](V)](V)[baar](ADJZ)](ADJZ)[heid](NMLZ)](N)
over·bear·ADJZ·NMLZ
transferability; contagiousness

Some suffixes are closing suffixes, which means that they do not allow for the attachment of other suffixes. This applies mostly to adverbial suffixes (see Booij 2002), as well as suffixes that have been considered traditionally as inflectional suffixes. They are:

Table 1
Suffix Meaning/function Base Example
-e [ATTR form of SEM(ADJ)] ADJ lelik·eugly
-e [INF form of SEM(V)] V drink·e in a phrase like iets te drinkesomething to drink
-e [PL of SEM(N)] N perd·ehorses
-er [CMPR of SEM(ADJ)] A vinnig·erfaster
-goed and -hulle (the so-called associative plural) [SEM(N|PR) and other people associated with SEM(N|PR)] N/PR pa-goeddad and them; John-hulleJohn and them
-ie (and allomorphs -jie, -tjie, -etjie, -kie, and -pie) [DIM of SEM(N)] N huis·iesmall house
-s [PL of SEM(N)] N venster·swindows
-s [PTV.GEN of SEM(ADJ)] ADJ mooi·s in a phrase like iets mooissomething pretty
-ste [SUPL of SEM(ADJ)] ADJ vinnig·stefastest

References:
  • Booij, Geert1995The phonology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Trommelen, Mieke & Zonneveld, Wim1986Dutch morphology: evidence for the right-hand head ruleLinguistic Inquiry17147-170
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