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The suffix -erik [ərɪk] is a Germanic cohering suffix making nouns from adjectives. The result is a name of a person, usually with a pejorative meaning component. The main stress in the derivation is on the same syllable as in the base word, the last syllable of the affix carries secondary stress.


  • someone having the property denoted by A

[+]Morphosyntactic and semantic properties

The suffix -erik [ərɪk] is a Germanic unstressed cohering suffix, making nouns. The result is a count noun of common gender, selecting the definite singular article de. Inputs are mainly monosyllabicGermanicadjectives: bangerik coward (< bang afraid), slimmerik smartass (< slim smart), but the spoken Dutch corpus (CGN) has also gemenerik meanie from the formally derived Germanic adjective gemeen mean and (Belgian) ambetanterik annoying person and degoutanterik disgusting person from the Romance adjectives ambetant annoying and dégoutant disgusting.

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The noun ganzerik gander, male goose (gans goose) is exceptional because the base is a noun and the derived noun refers to an animal rather than a person. The noun miauwerik cat (miauwen to meow) is exceptional as well, because the noun refers to an animal rather than a person. http://gtb.inl.nl/iWDB/search?actie=article&wdb=WNT&id=F000029&lemmodern=-erik The etymology of leeuwerik lark (see leeuwerik) and zwezerik thymus, sweatbread (see zwezerik) is unclear, but these words probably do not contain the suffix -erik.

In informal Dutch, one also finds -erik formations refering to things rather than persons, e.g. hogerik loft (< hoog high) and dieperik depth, demise (< diep deep). In this case, the input category can be verbal as well: gaperik mouth (< gapen to yawn), pafferik gun (paffen to pop).

The suffix -erik is more popular in Belgian Dutch than in the North. New formations in -erik are rare. They often sound slightly artificial (see Woord van de week: Week 32: 4 augustus - 10 augustus 2013).

[+]Phonological properties

The suffix -erik does not change the stress pattern of the stem it attaches to, but the last syllable carries secondary stress. -erik is a cohering suffix: syllabification does not respect the morphological boundary: viezerik vies-erik ['vi-zə-rɪk]. The stem of the base may not end in /r/ (cf. the general restriction on [rər] syllables): forms like *stoererik (< stoer sturdy, stout) are not attested and impossible. A solution is to insert a /d/, e.g. stoerderik sturdy person is attested.

[+]Inflectional properties

Plurals of -erik formations are in –en: (slechteriken bad guys, miauweriken cats).

[+]Morphological potential

There is no regular explicitly marked female counterpart for –erik formations: the forms can be used to refer to males and females alike. Diminutives of -erik formations are rare, but if they occcur they are predictably in -je (viezerikje little dirty fellow).There are no –erik formations occurring as left parts of compounds in the Spoken Dutch Corpus (CGN). Nouns in –erik cannot be converted into verbs.

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In the Netherlands, the informal verb vieziken to mess is attested, probably derived from viezik, a shortened variant of more common viezerik dirty fellow < vies dirty.