• Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show full table of contents
-aal and -eel
quickinfo

The suffixes -aal/al/ and -eel/el/ are non-native, stress-bearing, cohering suffixes found in adjectives based on non-native nouns and roots, as found in muzikaalmusical < muziekmusic, experimenteelexperimental < experimentexperiment. In cases such as banaalbanal and reëelreal there is no corresponding base noun: these forms are only formally complex. The suffixes are in (unpredictable) complementary distribution. The semantics of these suffixes is rather unspecific and can be described as related to base noun: a musical comedy is a comedy with music, whereas a musical child is a child with a talent for music.

There are various minor allomorphs, e.g. -icaal (as in nonsensicaalnonsensical < nonsensnonsense) and -ueel (as in tekstueeltextual < teksttext). In other cases we find stem allomorphy in the derivations, e.g. in nationaalnational < natienation. Variants ending in /r/ (-aar and -air) occur after stems in /l/, e.g. familiaarfamiliar(ly), familiairfamiliar(ly). Some -aal and -eel formations also occur as nouns of common gender (e.g. crimineelcriminal), and there are a few formations containing -aal and -eel that occur as nouns only, e.g. kwartaalquarter of a year, three month period and liniaalruler, implement to draw straight lines.

readmore
[+] Morphosyntactic properties

The suffixes -aal/al/ and -eel/el/ are non-native suffixes found in adjectives derived from, or related to, non-native nouns (muzikaalmusical is related to muziekmusic) and roots (e.g., there is no Dutch base noun corresponding to the adjective banaalbanal). There are no forms on the basis of native stems. Etymologically related and expressing the same semantics, the suffixes are in complimentary distribution, although the exact mechanisms underlying the division of labor is unclear.

[hide extra information]
x

Most formations in -eel or -aal have a corresponding form in another language (cf. infra); many of the Dutch forms may be loans. A possibility we did not find discussed in the literature is that the choice of the allomorph is related to the language from which the word was taken: in Latin and English it would be something that looks like -aal, French is more like -eel. There are a few double forms, e.g. potentieelpotential (noun and adjective) vs. potentiaalpotential (only a noun for many speakers).

Next to the forms -aal and -eel, there exist various minor allomorphs, e.g. -icaal (as in nonsensicaalnonsensical < nonsensnonsense) and -ueel (as in tekstueeltextual < teksttext). In other cases we find stem allomorphy in the derivations, e.g. in nationaalnational < natienation and in regionaalregional < regioregion (note that this same stem allomorph appears also in the alternative plural form regionenregions, but not in the standard plural regio'sregions. There are also variants ending in /r/, viz., -aar and -air, that occur after stems in /l/, e.g. familiaarfamiliar(ly), familiairfamiliar(ly) (< familiefamily), nucleairnuclear (nucleus). Some -aal and -eel formations also occur as nouns of common gender (e.g. crimineelcriminal), and there are a few formations containing -aal and -eel that occur as nouns only, e.g. kwartaalquarter of a year and liniaalruler, implement to draw straight lines.

[hide extra information]
x

Again, the choice of the allomorphs is to a large extent unpredictable, but note that the English translation often has a comparable form.

In derivation, certain edge processes may occur: stem-final vowels may be dropped ( giraalgiral < girogiro, money transfer, grammaticaalgrammatical < grammaticagrammar, piramidaalpyramidal < piramidepyramid), but do not have to ( regionaalregional < regioregion). Final /i/ is usually retained: serieelserial < serieseries. If the base ends in schwa plus /r/, the schwa is omitted ( kadastraal < kadaster, semestrieel < semestersemester). If the vowel of the last syllable of the stem is <ij>/ɛi/ (historically long /i/), it becomes /i/ in the derivation: rabbinaalrabbinical < rabbijnrabbi.
[hide extra information]
x

In De Haas & Trommelen (1993), a few more idiosyncratic changes in phonology and orthography of the stems (i.e., stem allomorphy) are mentioned, e.g. change of vowel quality in zonaal/zoˈnal/zonal (< zone/ˈzɔnə/zone) and raciaal/ˌrasiˈjal/racial < ras/rɑs/), as well as vowel lengthening in open syllables: rectoraal, doctoraal (< rector, doctor).

The table below gives an overview of the allomorphs.

Table 1
Suffix Derivation Base
-aal muzikaalmusical muziekmusic
-aal banaalbanal cf. French banaleordinary (Etymologiebank)
-eel experimenteelexperimental experimentexperiment
-eel fideeldecent cf. Latin fidestrust, faith (Etymologiebank)
-iaal collegiaalfraternal, brotherly collegacolleague
-ieel presidentieelpresidential presidentpresident
-icaal nonsensicaalnonsensical nonsensnonsense
-onaal nationaalnational natienation
-oneel sensationeelsensational sensatiesensation
-ueel tekstueeltextual teksttext
[hide extra information]
x

There are also a few formations containing -aal and -eel that occur as nouns only, e.g. kwartaalquarter of a year, three month period and liniaalruler, implement to draw straight lines. Given that they are exceptional in referring to objects rather than persons, that their morphosyntactic properties are unpredictable (kwartaal is of common gender and has a plural in -en, lineaal is both of neuter and common gender, and has two plural forms, in -en and -s), and that new cases cannot be formed, it seems best to consider these cases as formally complex only.

For most nouns in -aal and -eel, such as koloniaalcolonial and industrieelindustrialist, an analysis in terms of conversion appears to be applicable, as there is a corresponding adjective. The pertinent nouns are of common gender and have a plural form in -en. The few comparable person-denoting nouns without such an adjectival counterpart (De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 227) are usually loans ((Van der Sijs 2010)), e.g. commensaalboarder, lodger (<  ME Lat. commensaliseating at the same table; see Etymologiebank), rivaalrival (< Lat. rīvālissomeone who has or uses the same brook, neighbor, competitor in love via French rival(e)competitor in love; see Etymologiebank), vandaalvandal (< ME Lat. WandaliVandalen, name of a wandering German tribe famous for the plundering of Rome in 455 (Wikipedia) via Old French wandalethief, plunderer; see Etymologiebank), and bursaalgrant holder, student with a grant (< ME Lat. bursalisrelated to the purse; see Etymologiebank).

There is another (small) group of person denoting nouns of common gender in -aal (taking the singular definite article de) that have a plural in -s, viz., words like admiraaladmiralgeneraalgeneral and korporaalcorporal that refer to military ranks. They are loans from French; no new forms can be expected.

There is also a number of neuter object names in -aal (taking the singular definite article het), such as tribunaaltribunal, kwartaalquarter of a year, three month period, portaalportal, materiaalmaterial, schandaalscandal ((De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 227), (Smessaert 2013: 48)), and a few in -eel such as differentieeldifferential and materieelmaterial. Formally, these words may be complex, but they should probably be seen as complex loans, and not as part of Dutch morphology ((Van der Sijs 2010)). E.g., kwartaalthree month period probably derives from ME Latin quartalefourth part (Etymologiebank), missaalmissal from ME Latin missalisbelonging to the mass < missamass (Etymologiebank), materiaal and materieel ultimately from Latin māteriastuff, substance (Etymologiebank), portaal from Old French portal  ‘(monumental) porch’ ), tribunaal via French from Latin tribūnustribune, Roman staff, head of a tribe’ (Etymologiebank), and schandaal from French scandaleoffense, occasion of sin, via Latin ultimately going back to New Testament Greek skándalontrap, obstacle, offense (Etymologiebank). The neuter words ideaalideal, totaaltotal, doctoraaldoctoral exam, doctoral diploma and moreelmorale may be loans, or they may be cases of conversion of the homophonous adjectives (De Haas and Trommelen 1993).

lineaalruler (also spelled lineaal) can be both of neuter and common gender. The etymology is unclear, but it is likely that the word is not the result of Dutch word formation (Etymologiebank).

Finally, there is a small number of object names of common gender in -aal (vocaalvowelinitiaalinitialdecimaaldecimalmoraalmoralitydiagonaaldiagonal), which may again be loans, or the result of conversion of the homophonous adjectives (De Haas and Trommelen 1993).

[+] Productivity

In the literature (e.g. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 335) and ANS(Haeseryn et al. 1997)) derivation by means of -aal or -eel is considered to be productive.

[hide extra information]
x

The notion of morphological productivity is a complex one (Baayen 2008). Philippa (2003-2009 s.v. liniaal) hold the opinion that -aal formation is not productive in German and Dutch. In any case, it is very difficult to coin new derivations in -aal or -eel (or their allomrphs): *computeriaal of *computerieel are impossible with the recent loan computer, nor can we make such formations on bases such as business, vakantieholiday (< Fr. vacances), competitiecompetition, prismaprism, autocar, syllabesyllable, oekazeukase, dinosaurusdinosaur, or whatever (cf. also Affixes.org for a possible relationship with French and/or Latin word formation). It is therefore questionable whether the received opinion on -aal's and -eel's productivity can be maintained without further qualification.

The semantics of adjectives in -aal and -eel is completely parallel to what Bauer (2013: 314) say concerning the semantics of English suffixes like -al: "These are as close as affixes come in English to being purely transpositional, in the sense that they appear to add no specific meaning beyond what would be attributed to their categorial status as adjectives". Booij (2002: 108 ff) describes the semantic contribution of this type of affixes as nothing else but related to what is denoted by the base. "In the phrase een muzikale aanlega musical disposition, a talent for music, the only function of the suffix -al is to express that there is a relation between the head of the NP, aanleg, and the base word of the adjective muzikaal, muziekmusic. In other words, this type of expression is an alternative to using the compound muziekaanleglit. music disposition.

[hide extra information]
x

Dutch has fourteen of such denominal relational adjectival suffixes (Heynderickx 2001; Booij 2002: 108, Table 3.5):

Table 2
Suffix Example
-aal muzik.aal talentmusical talent
-air atom.aire fysicanuclear physics
-eel structur.ele analysestructural analysis
-en zilver.en ringsilver ring
-er Edamm.er kaasEdam cheese
-ief educat.ief verlofeducational sabbatical leave
-iek period.ieke controleregular check
-iel civ.iel effectcivil effect
-ig toekomst.ige manhusband to be
-isch filosof.ische discussiephilosophical debate
-lijk vader.lijk gezagpaternal authority
-ling monde.ling examenoral exam
-oir emancipat.oire activiteitenemancipatory activitities
-s buitenland.se betrekkingenforeign relations
Amerikaan.se regeringAmerican government

Due to their relational nature, these adjectives cannot be modified (by a degree adverb, comparative or superlative), nor can they be preceded by the negative prefix on- (instead, they can be preceded by niet- or non- because these latter prefixes do not assign a specific property ). Also, they cannot be followed by suffixes such as -achtig and -heid that denote qualities and hence attach to qualitative adjectives only, and [they do] not appear in predicative position, as shown here for the relational adjective presidentieelpresidential:"

Example 1

a. het presidentiële paleis
the presidential palace
b. *erg presidentiëel
very presidential
c. *presidentiel-er
more presidential
d. *presidenteel-st
most presidential
e. een niet-presidentieel paleis
a non-presidential palace
f. *een on-presidentieel paleis
an unpesidential palace
g. *presidentieel-achtig
presidential-ish
h. *presidentieel-heid
presidentiality
i. *dit paleis is presidentieel
this palace is presidential

Exceptions to the rule that relational adjectives do not appear in predicative position are their predicate use with a restrictive modifier, as in deze ziekte is viraal van aardthese illness is viral in nature, and cases of contrastive use.

[hide extra information]
x

Booij (2002: 109) notes that individual instances of relational adjectives may also function as qualitative adjectives that express a specific property. The adjective muzikaal, for instance, has the qualitative interpretation having musical talent, just like the English equivalent musical. The qualitative interpretation can also be obtained by type coercion: in the sentence zij ziet er zeer Amerikaans uitshe looks very American, the degree adverb imposes a qualitative interpretation on the adjective, and hence it is going to mean typically American.

[+] Phonological properties

-aal/al/, -eel/el/ and their allomorphs are stress-bearing and cohering: the stress pattern of the base word is overridden in the derivation, and syllabification does not respect the morphological structure, witness muzikaal/my-zi-'kaal/musical < muziek/my-'zik/music.

[+] Inflectional properties

Adjectives in -aal and -eel show standard adjectival inflection (muzikale kinderenmusical children, banale grappenbanal jokes) . Often, there are no comparative or superlative forms because of the relational semantics, but they are possible under qualificational readings, e.g. dit kindje is muzikaler dan je verwachtthis child.DIM is musical.COMP than you expectthis child is more musical than one expects.

[+] Morphological potential

Formations in -aal can be the basis for nominalisations with the foreign suffix -iteit (muzikaliteitmusicality < muzikaalmusicality; mentaliteitmentality < mentaalmental) and verbalisations with -iseer (normaliserento standardize < normaalnormal). The same holds for a number of adjectives in -aal without a recognizable stem, such as banaalbanal (> banaliteitbanality, platitude, banaliserento trivialize) and legaallegal (> legaliteitlegality, legaliserento legalize). Adjectives in -eel can also be the basis for nominalization with -iteit and verbalization with -iseer, but then -aal changes into -eel: crimineelcriminal > criminaliteitcriminality, criminaliserencriminalizer, actueelactual > actualiteitactuality, actualiserento update. Formations in -aal can also be the basis for nominalisations with the suffix -isme: nationalisme, kapitalisme ,legalisme; the same holds for formations in -eel, but then we get -alisme rather than expected *-elisme: rationalismerationalism < rationeelrational,realismerealism < reëelrealistic. Native derivation, e.g. adjectivization with -achtig and nominalization with -heid of adjectives in -aal and -eel, is rare (but De Haas and Trommelen (1993) report punctueelheidpunctuality and paradoxaalheidparadoxicality, and forms like radikaalheidradicality and crimineelheid can be found on the internet).

Various adjectives in -aal and -eel correspond to person-denoting nouns of the same form: provinciaalprovincial, liberaalliberal, crimineelcriminal, industrieelindustrial. De Haas and Trommelen (1993) suggest these are cases of conversion. These nouns are of common gender, taking the definite singular article de, and have a plural in -en. Most personal nouns in -aal or -eel lack a morphologically marked feminine counterpart; rivalerival.efemale rival is an exception.

References:
  • Baayen, R. Harald2008Corpus linguistics in morphology: morphological productivityLüdeling, Anke, Kyto, M. & McEnery, T. (eds.)Handbook of corpus linguisticsBerlinDe Gruyter
  • Bauer, Laurie, Lieber, Rochelle & Plag, Ingo2013The Oxford Reference Guide to English MorphologyOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Heynderickx, Priscilla2001Relationele adjectieven in het NederlandsAntwerpenLessius Hogeschool
  • Philippa, Marlies, Debrabandere, Frans, Quak, Arend, Schoonheim, Tanneke & Sijs, Nicoline van der2003-2009Etymologisch Woordenboek van het NederlandsAmsterdam University Press
  • Sijs, Nicoline van der2010Etymologiebank, http://etymologiebank.nl/
  • Sijs, Nicoline van der2010Etymologiebank, http://etymologiebank.nl/
  • Smessaert, Hans2013Basisbegrippen morfologieBasisbegrippen taalkundeLeuven/Den HaagACCO
Suggestions for further reading ▼
phonology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
Show more ▼
morphology
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • -ist
    [87%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • Nominal suffixation: diminutives
    [86%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -er (nominal)
    [86%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ij and allomorphs
    [85%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • -ing
    [84%] Dutch > Morphology > Word formation > Derivation > Nouns > Nominal suffixes
  • Cardinal numbers
    [84%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Numerals
  • In prenominal position
    [83%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • Number
    [82%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Nouns
  • Degree
    [82%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
  • Ellipsis
    [82%] Frisian > Morphology > Inflection > Adjectives
Show more ▼
syntax
  • Dutch
  • Frisian
  • Afrikaans
  • 1.3. Inflection
    [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification
  • 1.1.1. Properties of adpositions
    [83%] Dutch > Syntax > Adpositions and adpositional phrases > 1 Characteristics and classification > 1.1. Characterization of the category adposition
  • 1.3.2. Deadjectival nouns
    [82%] Dutch > Syntax > Nouns and Noun Phrases > 1 Characterization and classification > 1.3. Derivation of nouns
  • Preface and acknowledgments
    [82%] Dutch > Syntax > Preface and acknowledgements
  • Introduction
    [82%] Dutch > Syntax > Verbs and Verb Phrases
Show more ▼
cite
print