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-ier
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-ier[i:r] is a stress-bearing, cohering suffix of Romance origin that is found in nouns of common gender referring to male persons. Inputs are Germanic or Romance concrete nouns. There is an allomorph -(e)nier; the distribution of the allomorphs is not completely predictable. The suffix is unproductive.

Schema:
[[N]ier](N)

Meaning:
  • person having a function related to N


Table 1
derivation base
herbergierinn-keeper < herberginn
winkeliershop-keeper < winkelshop
tuiniergardener < tuingarden
avonturieradventurer < avontuuradventure
koetsiercoachman < koetscarriage
scholierpupil < schoolschool
rentenierrenter < renteinterest
glazenierstained-glass artist < glasglass
kruideniergrocer < kruidenherbs, spices

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[+] Morphosyntactic properties

The Romance stress-bearing suffix -ier[i:r] combines with Germanic (herbergier) and Romance (avonturier), resulting in nouns of common gender that select the singular definite article de.

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In the case of Romance stems, it is sometimes unclear whether the –ier–formations have been formed in Dutch or were borrowed as a whole (e.g. fuselierfusilier, grenadierid, passagierpassenger, poelierpoulterer).

vliegenierpilot is exceptional in that it is derived from a verb (vliegento fly).

De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 180) point out that there is one geographical person name in -ier, viz. ArabierArab (< ArabiëArabia). Interestingly enough, someone from Saoedi-ArabiëSaoudi Arabia is not called a *Saoedi-Arabier but rather Saoedi-Arabiër, with the suffix -er.

De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 181) also point at formations such as kwartierquarter (e.g. of an hour) (< kwartquart) and formulierform. If these are to be analyzed as being formed with a suffix -ier, this may very well be a different one: not only is the output subcategory different (denoting things rather than person names), gender is not common but neuter (selecting the definite article het) and plural form is uniformly in -en.

Note that there is a homograph suffix with a different pronunciation -ier/je:/ that is found in professional names such as herbergierinn-keeper and avonturieradventurer.

Plurals of -ier formations are in –s (herbergiers, avonturiers), occasionally in –en (scholieren).

[+] Morphological potential

The female variant is usually with -ierster (glazeniersterfemale stained-glass artist, herbergiersterhostess, female inn-keeper, renteniersterfemale rentier, tuiniersterfemale gardener, vliegeniersterfemale aviator), occasionally with –e (scholierefemale pupil, passagierefemale passenger).

Nouns in -ier may be converted into verbs, e.g. tuinierento garden and rentenierenlive on one’s private means, which may be input for nominalization again, e.g. tuinierdergardener.

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The existence of a form in –ier usually blocks other nominalizations, with the exception of tuindermarket gardener, which has a slightly different semantics than regular tuiniergardener.

[+] Semantics

The general meaning of –ier formations can be described as ‘someone having to do with the base noun’; they usually denote functions or jobs.

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Middelbare scholiersecondary school pupil is formed on the basis of the phrase middelbare schoolsecondary school. Note that we are dealing with a bracketing paradox here: semantically, this is derived from the pertinent phrase, but structurally, scholierpupil is the head, as is shown by the neuter agreement in middelbaar scholiertjeyoung/small secondary school pupil, due to the diminutive suffix.

[+] Phonological properties

-ier is a cohering suffix: syllabification does not respect the morphological boundary. -ier moreover bears main stress: 'winkel > winke'lier.

References:
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
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