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-ees
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-ees/e:z/, /e:s/ is a pair of non-native stress-bearing cohering suffixes found in inhabitant names of common gender and geographical adjectives based on geographical names: ChineesChinese person, Chinese mensenChinese people. In nominal use, the suffix ends in voiced /z/, in adjectival use it ends in voiceless /s/.

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De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 196) note that -ees is predominantly found after two types of bases, viz., on the one hand, geographical names ending in a nasal or liquid (e.g. Taiwaneessomeone from Taiwan, Vietnameessomeone from Vietnam, Senegaleessomeone from Senegal, Timoreessomeone from Timor), and on the other hand, geographical names ending in a nasal or liquid plus /a/ (e.g. Chineessomeone from China, Panameessomeone from Panama, Angoleessomeone from Angola, Andorreessomeone from Andorra).

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CanadeesCanadian (< CanadaCanada) is a clear counterexample to the phonological input restrictions mentioned. Almost all bases are foreign geographical areas; when applied to Dutch geographical names, -ees derivations are slightly pejorative, e.g. Hageneessomeone from The Hague. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 196) also mention pejorative Japannees next to neutral Japannersomeone from Japan.

Allomorphs -nees and -lees are found in forms like Malineessomeone from Mali and Kongoleessomeone from Congo. PekineesPeking/Beijing inhabitant is exceptional in that the velar nasal is changed into an alveolar one; Irakeessomeone frome Iraq is the only case of an -ees derivation of a base ending in a plosive; Bagwaneesfollower of the Bagwan is the only -ees formation based on a person's name rather than a geographical name. Next to Andorreessomeone from Andorra, Andorraansomeone from Andorra is found as well. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 196-7) suggest -ees and -aan are in complementary distribution, based on the phonological make-up of the base. It is claimed that English -ese goes back to Old French -eis, based on Latin -ensis.

In the nominal use, the suffix ends in voiced /z/, witness the plural form Chinezen/ʃi.ne.zə(n)/, in the adjectival use it ends in voiceless /s/, as is clear from the inflected form Chinese mensen/ʃi.'ne.sə 'mɛn.sə(n)/Chinese people. The transcription shows that the suffix is cohering: syllabification does not respect the morphological segmentation.

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De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 197) argue that adjectival -ees is the result of attaching adjectival -s to nominal -ees (presumably followed by the standard phonological processes of voice assimilation and degemination), completely parallel to the derivation of the adjective AmerikaansAmerican from the inhabitant name AmerikaanAmerican.

Referring to persons, nouns in -ees are of common gender, selecting the definite singular article de. Plural is in -en ( Angolezenpeople from Angola), diminutive is in -je ( Chineesjesmall Chinese), feminine form is in -e ( Chinese/ʃi.'ne.sə/), based on the adjective. Certain -ees formations may also be used to refer to languages (e.g. Chineesthe Chinese language). In that case, the noun is of neuter gender, taking the definite singular article het, and there is no plural. The adjective shows standard inflection; due to the absolute meaning of the adjective, comparative and superlative forms are impossible, at least for the literal use of the adjective.
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Some -ees formations have developed new usages and corresponding meanings. For instance, Chineesperson from Chinas can also be used to refer to a Chinese restaurant, a Chinese shop, a merchant, a stranger, etc. The derived verb chinezen can, among others, mean eat Chinese food and smoke heroin in a particular way. Malineessomeone from Mali is also used in Belgium to refer to inhabitants of Mechelen, based on Malines, the French name of the city.

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
  • 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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