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1.2.4 Suffixation

Suffixes often determine the category of their input, e.g. dät Fräidum ‘freedom’ from the adjective fräi ‘free’. Some suffixes are native (e.g. -er), others are non-native (e.g. -ent in Student). Suffixes can be cohering or non-cohering (see: [1.2.1] Theoretical Issues).

The topic on suffixation is subdivided in the following way:

  • Nominal suffixes: (a) native, (b) non-native
  • Adjectival suffixes: (a) native, (b) non-native
  • Verbal suffixes
[+]Nominal suffixes

Nominal suffixes are divided into native and non-native suffixes. This division, however, is not absolute. Frequent words like Pakkeloazje (‘luggage’), which contain humorously used learned suffixes attached to native nouns, do not sound like ‘foreign’ words.

Native nominal suffixes

Native nominal suffixes normally attach to native word stems, generally nouns, adjectives or verbs. As a consequence, these suffixes may or may not be category changing.

Suffixes should be distingished from inflectional elements. However, yesterday’s inflection may become today’s derivation, like the originally inflectional element -e in Aaste (‘the East’), which is listed here for the sake of completeness and recoverability. Words like dät/die Aaste or die Düütske are completely lexicalised. The noun-like plural do Düütsken ‘the Germans’ is unexpected when the word is analysed as a nominalised adjective. Die Bittern ‘brandy’ is a lexicalised inflected adjective just as well. The productive ending –(e)n in e.g. Eedgreeuwen ‘peat extraction’ is listed for the same reasons. These nouns are more or less fossilised nominalised infinitives. Recall that Saterland Frisian has two infinitives (the verbal infinitive in -e and the nominal or gerundival infinitive in -en, see also: Inflection.

Another kind of inflection (plural inflection) can be used to create new words, e.g. do Dege ‘menstruation days’. Such words are completely lexicalised, though.

Yesterday’s derivation may also become today lexicalisation. Nouns ending in the original suffix -t, such as ju Dracht (‘traditional clothing’, cf. drege ‘to wear’) and ju Foart (‘speed’, cf. fiere ‘to ride’) have developed into more or less simplex nouns.

Some suffixes are very unproductive, e.g. -oud in Äärmoud ‘poverty’.

Table 1: -äi, -eräi
N>N ju Buräi (‘agriculture’, cf. Buur ‘farmer’), ju Koasteräi (‘sacristan’s house’, cf. Koaster ‘sacristan’), ju Lootjeräi (‘lottery’), ju Määlneräi (‘a miller’s business’, cf. Määlne, ‘mill’)
V>N ju Baleräi (‘rumour’, cf. bale ‘to talk’), ju Bäbbeläi (‘chatter’, cf. bäbbelje ‘to chatter’), ju Häkseräi (‘witch craft’, cf. häksje ‘to practise witch craft’), ju Lootjeräi, ju Lotteräi (‘lottery’), ju Mudderäi (‘toiling’, cf. mudderje ‘to toil’), ju Ticheläi (‘tile works’, cf. tichelje ‘to bake tiles’)
Table 2: -dum
N>N dät Hedendum (‘paganism’), dät Keningdum (‘kingship’)
A>N dät Juurdum (‘riskful enterprise’), die Riekdum (‘riches’, cf. riek ‘rich’), die/dät Riepdum (‘maturation’, cf. riep ‘mature’), dät Oaindum (‘property’)
V>N dät Woaksdum (‘growth, cf. woakse ‘to grow’)
Table 3: -e
A>N die/dät Aaste (‘the East’), dät Bloanke (‘gloss’), die/ju Düütske (‘the German man or woman’)
Table 4: -else
V>N ju Ättermoakelse (‘imitation’, cf. ättermoakje ‘to imitate’), ju Fegelse (‘rests of straw to be swept away’, cf. feegje ‘to sweep’), ju Ferskienelse (‘the appearance’, cf. ferskiene ‘to appear’)
Table 5: -en, -n
V>N dät Dwoon (‘accomplishment’), dät Eedgreeuwen (‘peat extraction’)
Table 6: -en, -n
A>N die Bittern (‘brandy’)
Table 7: -enge, -enje
V>N ju Delenge (‘division’, cf. dele ‘to divide’), ju Hopenge (‘hope’, cf. hoopje ‘to hope’), ju Huushooldenge (‘housekeeping’), ju Menenge (‘opinion’), ju Rekenge (or: ju Rekenje) (‘reckoning’, cf. rekenje ‘to reckon’)
Table 8: -enze
V>N ju Fersumenze (‘omission’), ju Häftenze (‘prison; captivity’), ju Willenze (‘purpose’)
Table 9: -er, -der
N>N die Däider (‘perpetrator’), die Hollounder (‘Dutchman’), die Läärder (‘resident of the town Leer’), die Seelter (‘Saterlander’), die Spoanjer (‘Spaniard’), die Uutlounder (‘foreigner’)
V>N die/ju Bruller (‘lowing cow’), die Häkker (‘pick, hack’, cf. häkje ‘to hack, hew’), die Krjoper (‘creeping person or animal’), die Luurder (‘spy’), die Oarbaider (‘the worker’), die Skrieuwer (‘writer’)
Table 10: -ert
A>N die Falskert (‘perfidious person’), die Dwälskert (‘fool’)
V>N die/ju Fegert (‘quick runner, male or female’, cf. feegje ‘to sweep’), dät/die Kwiekert (‘little child’, cf. kwiekje ‘to cry’), dieSkietert (‘coward’, cf. skiete, ‘to shit’)
Table 11: -haid, -kaid, -igaid
A>N ju Apmäärksoamkaid (‘attentiveness’), ju Fulligaid (‘multitude, crowdedness’, cf. fuul ‘much, many’ and ful ‘full’), ju Fräiegaid (‘freedom’, cf. fräi, ‘free’), ju Kroankhaid (‘disease’, cf. kroank‘ill’), ju Oarigaid (‘interest, fun’, cf. oarich ‘nice’)
Table 12: -in(ne)
N>N ju Keninginne, ju Köänigin (‘queen’)
Table 13: -ker, -jer, -tjer
N>N die Boantjer (‘railway worker’, cf. Boan ‘railway’), die Bootjer (‘boatman’), die Foantjer (‘peat colonist’), die Gloasker (‘glazier’), die Iemker (‘bee keeper’), die Lipsker (‘worker from the town Lippe’), die Stäädjer (‘citizen’), die Uutändjer (‘resident of the village Utende’)
A>N dieBuntjer (‘boaster’, cf. bunt ‘colourful’)
V>N die Preetjer (‘preacher’, pejorative), die Prootjer (‘talking head’),
X>N die Huusbundjer (‘stay-at-home person’)
Table 14: -ling
N>N die Feling (‘person from Westfalen’)
A>N die Düümling (‘the finger protection’)
V>N die Ätterkumeling (‘the descendant’)
Table 15: -nis
A>N ju Iedelnis (‘vanity’), ju Wieldnis, ju Wildernis (‘wilderness’)
V>N dät Ärlichtnis (‘relief’), dät Tjuuchnis (‘testimony’), dät Wogenis, dät Woachnis (‘risky enterprise’)
Table 16: -oazje
N>N ju Pakkoazje (‘rabble, riff-raff’, cf. Pak ‘rabble’)
V>N ju Frässoazje (‘mouth; provisions’, cf. High German fressen ‘to eat, vulg.’), ju Kledoazje, ju/dät Klodoazje (‘clothing’), ju Läkkoazje (‘leakage’), ju Pakkeroazje, ju Pakkeloazje (‘luggage’, cf. pakje ‘to pack up’)
Table 17: -sel
V>N dät Dwoonsel (‘action, operation’), dätFeechsel (‘rests of straw to be swept away’), dätApsäisel (‘something sewn to clothing’), dät Räidsel, dät Roadsel (‘riddle’), dät Pöifsel (‘test’)
Table 18: -ske
N>N ju Bakkerske (‘the baker’s wife’, cf. die Bakker ‘baker’), ju Bindsterske (‘female binder of flowers’, synonym: ju Bindster), ju Buurske, ju Burinske (‘the farmer’s wife’), ju Jöädske (‘Jewish woman’), ju Jufferske (‘unmarried woman; female teacher’, synonym: ju Juffer), ju Koopmonske (‘female merchand’), ju Smidske (‘smith’s wife’)
A>N die/ju Düütske (‘German man or woman’, see also -e), juOoldske (‘old woman, pejorative’)
V>N ju Flatterske (‘coquette woman’, cf. flatterje ‘to flirt’)
Table 19: -skup
N>N ju Fründskup (‘friendship’), die/die Koopmonskup (‘the communty of merchands’)
A>N ju Beterskup (‘recovery’)
V>N ju Butenskup (‘barter’), ju Kaierskup (‘walk’)
Table 20: -st
V>N juFerloangst (‘desire’), ju Toukumst (‘future’)
Table 21: -ster
V>N ju Bindster (‘female binder of flowers’), ju Säister (‘sewing-woman’, synonym: ju Säisterske), die/dät Fertälster (‘story, tale’)
Table 22: -ster (geogr.)
N>N die Täärpster (‘villager’), die Romelster (‘resident of the village Ramsloh’)
Table 23: -te
A>N ju Bratte (‘broadth’), ju Drokte (‘hurry’), ju Fierte (‘distance’), ju Flaute (‘faint’), ju Hachte (‘hight’), ju Rüümte (‘space’)
V>N ju Belofte (‘promise’), ju Fräite (‘courtship’)

The nominal suffixes -äi, -dum, -enge, -enze, -haid, -nis, -skup, -t and -te and their allomorphs are used to form abstract nouns.

The nominal suffixes -er, -in(ne), -ker (with allomorphs), -ling, -ske and -ster are used to denote persons.

In some words, these person denoting suffixes have a ‘resident’ meaning, e.g.: die/ju Düütske, die Läärder, die Lipsker, die Feling, die Uutändjer. The word (ju) Jöädske (‘Jewish woman’) can be analysed as Jöäd (‘Jew’) with female suffix -ske (cf. Smidske ‘smith’s wife’), whereas die (m.) and ju (f.) Düütske (‘German man or woman’) are interpreted as inflected nominalised adjectives. Historically, the female suffix -ske in Jöädske and Smidske derived from the same type of adjectives in -sk. The word (die) Han(d)ske ‘glove’ is probably an inflected derived form of the obsolete or non-existent adjective *handsk (if it is not a diminutive, like Bitsken ‘little bit’).

According to Ford’s dictionary (2015), resident nouns ending in -er are inflected (e.g.: die Rumer, do Rumere ‘the Roman, the Romans’), just like agent nouns in -er (e.g. die Skrieuwer, do Skrieuwere). In this respect, the nominal ‘resident’ suffix -er differs from its adjectival counterpart, which is not inflected (e.g.: do Seelter Ljude ‘the Saterlandic people’). However, plurals like do Rumere sound a bit archaic nowadays.

Agent nouns in -er and -ert are masculine in principle (e.g. die Skrieuwer ‘the writer’). Their grammatical gender can be overruled, however, for semantic reasons. For example: die (m.) or ju (f.) Bruller (‘lowing cow’), die or ju Fegert (‘quick runner, male or female’) and die or dät (n.) Kwiekert (‘crying baby’).

The nominal suffix -er can refer to inanimate things, e.g. die Suger (‘teat of a nursing bottle’, lit. ‘sucker’). In the word die Fräiskieter (‘outdoor toilet’, lit. ‘free-shitter’), the suffix -er has a non-agentive meaning.

The regular suffix -er (e.g. Skrieuwer ‘writer’) and the more informal suffix -ert (e.g. Glupert ‘slyboots, sneak’) rarely overlap. In some words, however, they are synonymous, e.g. die Rouper(t) (‘bawler, ranter’) and die Knooier(t) (‘drudge’). In some other words, they are not, e.g. die Strieder (‘warrior’) and die Striedert (‘quarrelsome person’).

The Low German nominal suffix -ker (or (t)jer) is often used in male agent nouns, e.g. die Iemker (‘bee keeper’) and die Gloasker (‘glazier’). The suffix is attached to the noun that is worked upon professionally by the agent. In some words, however, this suffix appears to be used as an alternative for the regular -er suffix. A Swientjer, for example, is not a person whose professional occupation is about pigs, but rather a clothes-brush made of pig’s hair. Some similar nouns are the pejorative expressions Preetjer (‘preacher’) and Prootjer (‘chattering fool’).

The suffixes -in, -ster and -ske denote female agents. The suffix -ske is often used redundantly, for example in Burinske (‘farmer’s wife’, Buur + -in(ne) + -ske), Bindsterske (‘female binder’, synonym: Bindster) and Jufferske (‘female teacher’, synonym: Juffer). The normal female agent suffix -ster (e.g. ju Säister, ‘sewing-woman’) is not present in the masculine and neuter word Fertälster (‘story, tale’).

The (Old) Frisian suffix -else is semantically and etymologically related to the Low German or Dutch suffix -sel. The words (dät) Feechsel and (dät) Fegelse (‘rests of straw to be swept away’) are synonymous, just like (dät) Apsäisel and (dät) Apsäielse (‘something sewn to clothing’).

The (Old) Frisian suffix -enze is rarely used (e.g. Häftenze ‘prison, captivity’). It is related to the Low German or Dutch suffix -nis (e.g. Iedelnis ‘vanity’).


  • Fort, Marron Curtis. 2015. Saterfriesisches Wörterbuch. Hamburg: Buske.

Non-native nominal suffixes

The following list of non-native suffixes is far from complete. Non-native suffixes appear mostly in loan words from German, generally internationalisms. The High-German background of such deivations is evident from the fact that their plurals deviate from the regular Saterland Frisian patterns, e.g. die Gymnasiast and do Gymnasiasten‘gymnasium student(s)’, die Student and do Studenten‘student(s)’, ju Natsjoon and do Natsjonennation(s)’, ju Universität and do Universitäten‘university, -ies’.

Many non-native suffixed words are connected to other non-native words (e.g. dieGymnasiast‘gymnasium student’, cf. dät Gymnasium‘gymnasium’), but this not always the case (e.g. Keroazje ‘courage’).

The non-native suffixes -oa(t)sje and -oazje can be attached to both native and non-native elements. (And also to elements from folk etymology, like Attroa(t)sje ‘fuss’ from French atrocité, cf. West Frisian alteraasje, Groningen alteroatsie etc.)

Table 24
-ant dieKommandant ‘commander’
-ast die Gymnasiast ‘gymnasium student’
-ent die Student ‘student’
-erie ju Kavallerie ‘cavalley’, Batterie ‘battery (milit.)’
-ie ju Theologie ‘theology’
-ist die Kalvinist ‘calvinist’, Kolonist ‘colonist’, Kommunist ‘communist’, Organist ‘organ player’
-ität ju Universitat ‘university’
-mänt dät Instrumänt ‘instrument’
-oat Suldoat ‘soldier’, Pasturoat ‘chaplaincy’, Kandidoat ‘candidate’, Kolunoat ‘colony’
-oa(t)sje ju Attroa(t)sje (‘fuss’), ju/dätSkilleroa(t)sje ‘painting’, ju Purgoa(t)sje ‘purgative’
-oazje ju Keroazje, Kroazje ‘courage’, Roazje, Roasje ‘rage’, Dränoazje ‘drainage’, ju Menoazje ‘provisions’
-(t)sjoon Auksjoon ‘auction’, Natsjoon ‘nation’, Revolutsjoon ‘revolution’, Statsjoon ‘station’, Traditsjoon ‘tradition’
[+]Adjectival suffixes

Adjectival suffixes can be native or non-native.

Native adjectival suffixes

Native adjectival suffixes can be attached to nouns, adjectives or verbs. Some adjectival suffixes are used (almost) synonymously, e.g. fooldich and foolderch ‘wrinkly’ or sountich and sounterch ‘sandy’. Most native adjectival suffixes are cohering (including -ich, erch and -elk, cf. [1.2.1] Theoretical Issues). The suffixes -haftich, -loos and and -ster are non-cohering.

The participial suffixes -d, -en and -end are listed here for the sake of completeness and recoverability. See [] on synthetic compounds and [1.2.7] on Pseudo-Participles.

Table 25: -beer, -boar
N>A fruchtbeer, fruchtboar (‘fertile’)
V>A bruukbeer, bruukboar (‘useful’), drinkbeer (‘drinkable’), leesboar (‘readable’), luudboar (‘well-known’), skienboar (‘apparent, visible’)
Table 26: -d, -en
V>A ferfuuld (‘rotten’), soalten (‘salted’)
Table 27: -elk, -liek, -lik
N>A fjuntelk, frjuundelk(‘friendly’), sumerliek (‘proper to the summer’)
A>A epentliek, epentlik (‘openly’), rodelk (‘reddish’), skienboarliek (‘imaginary’)
V>A sierlik, sierdelk (‘gracious’)
Table 28: -en, -end, -n
N>A bouken (‘beech-wooden’), bunken (‘bone’), glezen (‘glass’), ierend (‘earthen’), ierzen (‘iron’), päärlmutten (‘mother-of-pearl’), roagen (‘made of rye’), sälwern (‘silver’), stäilen (‘steel’), sieden (‘silk’), wullen (‘wool’)
Table 29: -end, -nd
V>A blieuwend (‘permanent’), lieuwend (‘living, alive’)
Table 30: -er
N>A Läärder (‘from the city of Leer’)
Table 31: -erch
N>A foolderch (‘wrinkly’), sount-erch (‘sandy’), skumerch (‘foamy’)
Table 32: -haftich
N>A böihaftich (‘blustery’), knäthaftich (knotty)
V>A biethaftich (‘prone to biting’), deelhaftich (‘generous’), doamelhaftich (‘talkative’)
Table 33: -ich
N>A foartich (‘hasty’), mundich (‘adult’), niedich (‘angry’), sountich (‘sandy’)
V>A bläidich (‘bloody’), jeeldich (‘valid’)

The derivation noachtbliendich (‘night-blind’) appears to be an adjective derived from another adjective (just like skienboarliek ‘imaginary’). However, this hypothesis is rather unlikely, since there is no such word like noachtbliend in the dictionary. It may well be the case that this seemingly tripartite adjective noachtbliendich is created in a parasitic way. That is, as an anology to synthetic compounds like roodhierich (‘red-haired’), cf. []Synthetic Compounds.

Table 34: -k
N>A joolk (‘bandy-legged’, from Jool ‘wheel’)
Table 35: -ker, -tjer, -jer
N>A Uutändjer (‘from the village of Utende’), Feentjer (‘from Rhauderfehn’)
Table 36: -loos
N>A koploos (‘temperamental’), lieuwendlood (‘lifeless’), räidloos (‘desperate’)
Table 37: -oartich
N>A deechoartich (‘like dough’)
Table 38: -s
N>A mons (‘vigorous’)
Table 39: -sk
N>A bäidensk (‘childish’), bramsk (‘from the city of Bramsche’), fräisk (‘Frisian’), prüüsk (‘Prussian’), riensk (‘Rhinish’)
A>A roodsk (‘reddish’)
V>A kniepsk (‘spary’)
X>A fonhoundsk (‘on the right side’)
Table 40: -soam
N>A dugendsoam (‘virtuous’), freedsoam (‘peaceful’)
V>A folchsoam (‘obedient’), säädsoam (‘nourishing’), spoarsoam (‘frugal’), suurchsoam (‘caring’), swiechsoam (‘taciturn’)
Q>A eensoam (‘lonely’)
Table 41: -ster
N>A Romelster (‘from the village of Ramsloh’)

Non-native adjectival suffixes

Normally, non-native adjectival suffixes are attached to non-native word stems or bound morphemes. Non-native adjectival suffixes are cohering (cf. [1.2.1] theoretical issues). The suffix -ist is sometimes attached to native word stems (e.g. äärchwoanisk ‘suspicious’), although Fort’s dictionary (2015) avoids such derivations.

Table 42
-äär militäär (‘military’)
-eel rejeel (‘real, really’)
-iebel, -oabel duroabel (‘long-lasting’), juroabel (‘costly’), kumpoabel (‘capable’), kuntoabel (‘reliable’), peniebel (‘elegant’)
-ief aktief (‘active’)
-iel saptiel (‘lovely’), strankiel (‘cheeky, courageous’)
-isk äärchwoanisk (‘suspicious’), bieblisk (‘biblical’)
-oal eengoal (‘immaterial’, cf. French égal and Saterland Frisian eens), normoal (‘normal’), totoal (‘total’)
-öös nerwöös (‘nervous’), riggeljöös (‘religious’)

Traditionally, non-native affixes in Saterland Frisian tend to be disregarded. In many cases, they appear in loan words from High German, which explains why these words are often absent in Fort’s dictionary (Fort 2015). Any experienced reader will understand that Saterland Frisian aktief means the same thing as German aktiv. The words äärchwoanisk, militäär,rejeel and riggeljöös for instance, can be found in written or recorded texts, but not in the dictionary.

The ending -isk sounds like German interference, especially in words like äärchwoaniskCH > G?! (one would expect the ending -sk, not -isk, like in luttersk ‘protestant’, cf. German lutherisch). On the other hand, it would be hard to find any alternative to bieblisk (‘biblical’) or filosofisk.

Whether acceptable or not, non-native adjectival subjects do have some interesting properties. Sometimes, they are attached to native words, e.g. jurabel (‘costly’), on the basis of juur ‘expensive’. More often, folk etymology and lexical corruption are involved, e.g. eengoal (‘immaterial’) from French égal and Saterland Frisian eens (‘immaterial’), riggeljöös (from French religieux) and saptiel (‘lovely’), from French subtil.

[+]Verbal suffixes

The ending -ierje (from e.g. Latin laud-are and French lou-er) is present in many learned loan words, like kultivierje ‘to cultivate’, regierje ‘to govern’ and studierje ‘to study’. Generally, the are directly derived from High German and in many cases internationalisms.

Some verbs in -ierje are not completely non-native. Learned words may become formally corrupted and acquire new meanings.

akkedierje (‘to trade, deal’, < french accorder), kummedierje (‘to command, challenge’), räwwedierje (‘to revise, correct’), säkkelierje (‘to drink a lot’, < french circuler la bouteille), uutrezenierje (‘to work out a plan’)

Other verbs in -ierje are based on native words.

huzierje (‘to house’), wunderierje (‘to be amazed’)
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