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-schap (de)
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The Germanic suffix -schap[sχɑp] is found in nouns of common gender derived from nouns, adjectives or verbs. The process is not productive. If based on a noun, the resulting nouns may have an abstract meaning (e.g. vriendschapfriendship) or a more concrete one de broederschapthe fraternity. If based on an adjective, the meaning is the state of being A (e.g. dronkenschapdrunkenness), and if the base is verbal, a general semantics is hard to give (compare weddenschapbet < weddento wager with wetenschapscience < wetento know).

Schema 1:
[[N]schap](N)

Meaning:
the function of being N or group of N

Schema 2:
[[A]schap](N)

Meaning:
the state of being A

Schema 3:
[[V]schap]

Meaning:
the activity of V

-schap-suffixation respects the stress pattern of the base word, the suffix bears secondary stress. This suffix can be attached productively to nouns referring to persons, and creates non-neuter nouns with the meaning the function of being N. In addition, there are closed sets of non-neuter nouns in -schap based on either nouns or adjectives, and with different meanings, the set of N’s and the property of being A, respectively.

Table 1
stem -schap derivation
ridder.Nknight ridderschapknighthood, chivalry
vijand.Nenemy vijandschapenmity
zwanger.Apregnant zwangerschappregnancy
verwant.Arelated verwantschaprelatedness
wedden.Vto wager weddenschapbet
weten.Vto know wetenschapscience

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[+] General information

Note that Dutch also has a productive affix -schap, creating nouns of neuter gender such as (het) moederschapmaternity (< moedermother). Historically, both affixes go back to one affix, which derives from a female noun related to modern scheppento create as a right-hand compound part (see Etymologiebank).

[+] Morphosyntactic properties

The Germanic suffix -schap[sχɑp] forms nouns of common gender. They take the definite article de. The input can be of various categories (De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 252-3)

  • Noun: Two subtypes can be distinguished: on the one hand there are abstract nouns like vijandschapenmity and kameraadschapcompanionship that pattern semantically with formations with the other suffix -schap but are of common gender. On the other hand there are a number of collective nouns in -schap, based on person denoting nouns, e.g. broederschapfraternity and ridderschapknighthood, chivalry.
  • Adjective: A few -schap formations are on the basis of Germanic adjectives, e.g. zwangerschappregnancy (< zwangerpregnant) and verwantschapaffiliation, kinship (< verwantrelated).
  • Verb: -schap is also found attached to infinitival forms of Germanic verbs (rather than their stems). Cases in point are wetenschapscience (< wetento know) and weddenschapbet (< weddento wager).

[show extra information]
x

Denominal (de) boodschapmessage (< bodemessenger) and (het) landschaplandscape (< landland, country) are completely lexicalized and have an opaque semantics. Boodschap moreover developed another, unexpected meaning, viz., shopping, groceries, as in boodschappen doenshoppings dogo shopping.

Given that infinitival forms of verbs can be used as nouns (het roken van sigarenthe some.INF of cigarsthe smoking of cigars), the deverbal derivations allow for an alternative analysis as denominal. The form rekenschapaccount, accountability (< rekenencalculate) is exceptional as it takes the stem of the verb rather than the full infinitive. This might be a case of haplology.

The original base category of eigenown in eigenschapproperty is historically unclear.

[+] Phonological properties

-schap is a non-cohering suffix. -schap-suffixation respects the stress pattern of the base word, the suffix bears secondary stress.

[show extra information]
x

Deverbal na'latenschaplegacy (< 'nalatenbequeath) is exceptional in showing stress shift.

[+] Inflectional properties

Many -schap formations do not have a plural, due to their abstract meaning, but if applicable, the plural is in -en, e.g. wetenschappensciences, eigenschappenproperties, boodschappenmessages, shopping.

[+] Morphological potential

Some -schap formations have a diminutive form in (regular) -je: ballingschapjebrief exile, nalatenschapjesmall legacy. A few derivations with unproductive -schap can be input to other derivational processes, e.g. adjective formation by means of the affix -elijk (vriendschappelijkfriendly, wetenschappelijkscientific) or agent noun formation by means of -er (e.g. wetenschapperscientist < wetenschapscience, boodschappermessenger (note that shopper is not a possible reading, although boodschap also has the meaning shopping, groceries). Some -schap formations are quite frequent as right-hand parts of nominal compounds, as in kerstboodschapchristmas message and karaktereigenschapcharacter property.

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