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-ier (French)
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The element -ier/je:/ is an unproductive, stress-bearing non-native cohering suffix found in nouns of common gender denoting male professions based on non-native nouns and bound forms, such as cabaretier/ka.ba.rɛ.'tje:/cabaret performer (< cabaret) and hotelier/ho.tɛl.'tje:/hotelier (< hotel). Plural forms are in -s.

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The suffix ier (/je:/) is found in personal nouns. Bases are nouns and bound forms of foreign origin. ier formations usually denote profession of male persons:

Table 1
formation in-ier meaning base
cabaretier someone who works in a cabaret, cabaret performer cabaretcabaret
hotelier hotel owner, hotelier hotelhotel
romancier someone who writes novels, novelist romannovel
douanier customs officer douanecustoms
Various formations in ier may be loans from French or other neighbouring languages (cf. romancier and hotelier).

Haas (1993: 214) hypothesize that the nominal base should end in a dental consonant; as a potential exception they mention costumiercostumier, dresser. If the base ends in schwa, this is deleted, e.g. douaniercustoms officer (< douanecustoms), ambulancierparamedic (< ambulanceambulance).

Formations in -ier are of common gender, selecting the singular definitie article de. Plurals are formed with the suffix -s: cabaretierscabaret performers, hoteliershoteliers. Female equivalents are formed with the suffix -ière, e.g. cabaretièrefemale cabaret performer.

The suffix -ier bears stress and is cohering: syllabification does not respect the morphological structure, e.g. cabaretiercabaret-ier/ka.ba.rɛ.'tje:/cabaret performer.

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

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