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-enis
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-enis (/ənɪs/) is a native cohering suffix found in action nouns derived from native verb stems. There are two allomorphs, -nis as in hindernisobstacle (< hinderento hinder) and -tenis as in bekentenisconfession (bekennento confess). The last syllable of the suffix carries secondary stress. The suffix is not productive.

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-enis (/ənɪs/) is an unproductive native suffix found in nouns of common gender, taking the definite singular article de, derived from Germanic verbs. Bases are typically simplex (hechteniscustody < hechtento attach) or prefixed (herrijzenisresurrection < her.rijzenre-rise, begrafenisfuneral < begravento bury < gravento dig). If the verbal stem ends in /v/, this usually corresponds with /f/ in the derivation: erfenisinheritance < ervento inherit(De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 245); the /t/ in verbintenis (< verbinden) may be another case of devoicing of the final consonant of the stem. If the stem ends in /-ən/, we get haplology (or the allomorph -nis plus degemination): betekenismeaning rather than *betekenenis < betekenento mean. The allomorphs -nis and -tenis are usually found after stems ending in a sonorant consonant: schennissacrilege (< schennento violate), stoornisdisorder (< storento disturb), bekentenisconfession (< bekennento confess), gebeurtenisevent (< gebeurento happen). The mechanisms govening the distribution of -nis vs -tenis are unknown (De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 245), but -enis never occurs after /r/, but then there is choice between -nis (e.g. stoornis) and -tenis (e.g. gebeurtenis).

Booij (2002: 125) considers the base meaning of -enis derivations to be action nouns, De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 245) distinguish cases with an abstract semantics (hechteniscustody < hechtento attach) and more concrete ones (erfenisinheritance < ervento inherit).

-enis carries secondary stress. It is a cohering suffix: the syllabification does not respect the morphological structure (e.g begrafenis/bə.ˈxra.fə.ˌnɪs/funeral). Plural forms are in -en: begrafenissen/bə.ˈxra.fə.ˌnɪ.sən/funerals.

Occasionally, -enis formations take adjectives as basis: duisternisdarkness (duisterdark), droefenissadness (< droefsad), vuilnisgarbage (< vuildirty), gevangenisprison (< gevangencaught, captive); beeltenisimage derives from a noun (beeldstatue, picture).

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The /f/ in droefenis may be unexpected (De Haas and Trommelen 1993: 245), given that droef ends in /v/ underlyingly, witness the inflected form droeve, but the devoicing of the final /v/ is parallel to that described for verbs above; the /t/ in beeltenis (< beeld) may be another case of devoicing of the final consonant of the stem. Vowel change (stem allomorphy) plus devoicing is found in vergiffenis < vergevento forgive. A unique allomorph -ernis is found in wilderniswilderness (< wildwild), possibly analogous to /er/ found in duisternis and hindernis (Etymologiebank). An alternative analysis takes the comparative form wildermore wild as basis.

References:
  • 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
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