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The prefix a- is a non-native prefix, and can only be added to non-native adjectives. Its semantics is negative: the derivations refer to the opposite of the base form. An example is sosjaal social > asosjaal antisocial. The prefix is not productive.

[+]General properties

The non-native prefix a- can only be added to non-native adjectival bases. If the adjective has an initial vowel, the prefix gets an extra /n/, resulting in the allomorph an-. An example is organysk organic > anorganysk anorganic. Examples are given in the table below:

Table 1
Base form Derivation
sosjaal social asosjaal antisocial
kultureel cultural akultureel uncultured
organysk organic anorganysk inorganic
selekt select aselekt random
seksueel sexual aseksueel asexual
The native negative prefix ûn- can attach to native as well as non-native base forms, and competes with the prefix a- to a certain extent. It may be assumed, however, that negated forms with a- are often loaned in their entirety. This can be compared to what is happening with respect to the non-native negative prefix yn-.

[+]Phonological properties

The prefix is pronounced as [a:]. The prefix does not attract stress, so the main stress remains on the adjective of the base, for example in aseksuEEL or asoSJAAL.


This topic is based on Hoekstra (1998:78).

  • Hoekstra, Jarich1998Fryske wurdfoarmingLjouwertFryske Akademy
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