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Adjective as base

If a suffix is added to an adjective in order to create a noun, basically two things can happen. In the first place, the adjective itself can be nominalized, and hence the property it denotes as well. A typical suffix to perform this task is -ens. Thus from the adjective griengreen we can derive the noun grienensgreenness, which means something like 'the property of being green'.

In the second place, the derivation can also apply to an external entity that has the described property. Here it is not only the predicate that is nominalized, but the suffix rather binds an argument of the predicate. In the propositional schema "x is A", the nominalization also applies to the argument x, not only to A, as in the case of grienens above. Take as an example the adjective lomprude. The suffix -ert can derive personal nouns, resulting in lompertlout, which denotes a person that is rude. Not only are persons attributed a specific property, also things, locations, and what may be described as circumstances.

This pattern shows a certain parallellism with what is going on with verbs. There the nominalization of the verb itself results in an action noun. But the nominalization could also be directed at one of the verb's arguments, yielding, for instance, agent nouns or patient nouns.

The most frequent suffixes to nominalize a property are -ens, -heid and -ichheid. They show a certain complimentary distribution, which is the reason why they are treated here in one topic. The suffix -ens is exclusively a property nominalizer; -heid and -ichheid may also be used more concretely. In that case, they usually denote certain circumstances that have the relevant property. Something comparable applies to the unproductive suffixes -dom, -skip and -te. This has a variant -tme that is typically used in an elevated style. The idiosyncratic suffix -de also belongs to this category. Non-native bases have the non-native suffix -iteit.

Many of the adjective nominalizations denoting a person have a pejorative connotation. This applies to -ert, -es, the typical Frisian twins -sma and -stra and in a sense also to -ling and to the diminutive suffix -DIM. More neutral are -e and -en and its variant -enien, suffixes that could be considered to represent lexicalized instances of nominal ellipsis. In addition, -e has as a special function that it may also form female inhabitant names. The suffix -ist is restricted to non-native bases.

Derivations denoting things can be related to the suffixes -DIM, -ing, -ling, and, quite rarely so, -en. The suffix -iteit is for non-native bases, although this rule has two exceptions. For locations, -e, -enij, -ing and -te may be used. Somewhat more abstract are circumstances, which can be referred to with the help of -heid, -ichheid, -te and -tme.


More details about the suffixes can be found by following the corresponding links, below presented in alphabetical order:

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