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The suffix -el can derive verbs from other verbs. The derived verbs denote a repetition of the action of the base form, for example: koche to cough > kochelje to cough constantly, hinkje to limp > hinkelje to hop. In a few cases, the suffix can be involved in stacking with the likewise frequentative suffix -k. An example is driuw-k-el-je to float slowly from driuwe to float, although an alternative analysis is also available.

Other verbal suffixes with an iterative or frequentative function are -er and -k.

[+]General properties

The suffix -el derives verbs from other verbs, denoting a repetition of the action of the base form. The base form often has an iterative or frequentative function already, so the derivation only serves as a reinforcement of this function. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
bidde to pray biddelje to beg for
wjukje to wing wjukkelje to flutter
hippe to hop hippelje to hop
gnibje to nibble gnibbelje to nibble on
ride to drive ridelje to tremble
wippe to hop wippelje to wobble
weve to weave wevelje to sway
stoarte to crash stoartelje to stumble
rûze to make a noise rûzelje to rustle
ferwoastje to destroy ferwoastelje to destroy
It is questionable whether one can always speak of synchronic derivations in these cases. The relation between derivation and base form is opaque anyhow in kwatte to spit > kwattelje to scribble and skowe to slide > skoffelje to shuffle.

It should be noted that most base verbs inflect according the weak verbs of class I. After suffixation, they switch to class II (for verbal inflection, see weak verbs.

Another suffix -el

There is another suffix -el that derives adjectives from verbs.

[+]Relation to the suffix -er

Next to the suffix -el [əl] is a comparable suffix -er, which can also derive verbs from other verbs. There is no clear rule for the choice between the use of -er or -el. One could say that verbs of which the base form ends in /r/ get the suffix -el (for example soarje to simmer > soarrelje to keep something simmering) and that verbs of which the base form ends in /l/ get the suffix -er (for example op-en-delje to go up and down > op-en-delderje to screw). Base forms ending in a different consonant do not have such a clear rule, however.

Sometimes, the forms with -el and -er are interchangeable:

Table 2
Base form Derivation
sypje to seep sipelje / siperje to seep through
knûkje to get creased knûkelje / knûkerje to crease
stuitsje to be stopped stuitelje / stuiterje to stumble
kipe to topple over kipelje / kiperje to topple

The suffix -k likewise indicates iterativity. The suffixes -k and -el can be stacked, in that order, although this phenomenon is quite rare. The only cases are far-k-el-je to go boating (from farre to sail) and driuw-k-el-je to float slowly from driuwe to float. In addition, we have trip-k-el-je to trip, next to the forms tripkje and trippelje with the same meaning (but the base form trippe is extremely rare).

An alternative analysis could be to derive these "double" forms from derivations with the suffix -k. For example, we would then get the development farre > far-k-je > far-k-el-je. In this way, the assumption of stacking is not necessary.


This topic is mainly based on Hoekstra (1998:142).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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