Morphology Dutch Word Structure

All word classes in Dutch contain both simplex (monomorphemic) and complex (polymorphemic) words. The latter include not only derivations and compounds, but also derivational compounds.

Compounds are very frequent in both spoken and written Dutch (see section 14.5, Polymorphemic words). They generally have the same categor-ial status as the last element (the first element then appears to function as a semantic adjunct to the second), though compound nouns in particular may be at variance with this general principle. Examples of compound nouns are (a) vuilnisman 'refuse collector', arbeidersdochter 'workman's daughter', werkman 'workman', allemansvriend 'everybody's friend', binnenpretje 'private joke', all of which belong to the regular type with a noun as their second element, the first element of the compound belonging either to the same or to another word category; and (b) deugniet 'good-for-nothing', weetal 'know-it-all', vrijaf 'day off, in which neither element is a noun in its own right. The elements of nominal compounds may be linked together with either of the elements s or d(n) (written <s> and <en> or <e> respectively, both are originally genitive markers). Whether a 'linking sound', and if any, which one is used, is a matter of the lexicon.

Ik'/jijzelf 'I myself - you yourself, elkander 'each other', iedereen 'everybody' are pronominal. Many of these compounds have been reinterpreted as monomorphemic words in the course of history, e.g. welk 'which', iemand 'somebody'.

Examples of compound adjectives are mierzoet 'extremely sweet', ingoed 'extremely good', aartslelijk 'very ugly', and geelgroen 'yellowish green'. The second element is always an adjective, the first one may belong to different word classes. Most adverbs and particles, such as nagenoeg 'practically', vrijwel 'all but', voorlangs 'across in front', and huiswaarts 'home' are semantically opaque, i.e. their meaning can only partly be derived from that of the components.

As in most European languages, numerals are formed on the basis of the very limited set of nine names of units, nine names of tens, elf 'eleven', twaalf 'twelve', honderd 'hundred', duizend 'thousand', and a set of 'learned' words with -joeri and -jard as a second element (e.g. miljoen '(a) million', triljard '(a) trilliard'). No remnants of a vigentesimal system survive. From 'thirteen' to 'ninety nine' numbers are formed by having units precede tens (the system that also persists in English numbers from 13 to 19). From 21 upwards units and tens (always in that order) are connected by en 'and': vijftien 'fifteen', but vijfentwintig 'five-and-twenty'. Hundreds and thousands are followed by tens and units (if necessary combined in the way described above), e.g. honderd (en) vijfentachtig '185'. Multiples of a hundred, a thousand, etc., are formed by a compound of the specifying number + honderd, etc. (e.g. vijfentwintighonderd/duizend/miljoen lit. 'five-and-twenty hundred/thousand/ million').

A special subcategory of compounds in Dutch is formed by pre- and postposition, e.g. doorheen 'throughout', vanuit 'starting from', vanaf 'from ... onwards'. Some of these combinations may be split by the noun phrase with which they combine, thus forming 'circumpositions', e.g. om (het huis) heen 'all around (the house)' (for further discussion see section 14.4, Adpositional phrases).

Compound nouns and verbs have the accent mostly on the first constituent. In most adjectives and numerals stress is not fixed at all: it varies according to the syntactic pattern in which the compound is incorporated. All other compounds typically have the accent on the last component.

Derivatives are both frequent and formally extremely diverse. They may contain prefixes (e.g. be-legeren 'beleager'), suffixes (e.g. beleger-aar 'besieger') and circumfixes; e.g. ge-boef-te 'riff-raff. As neither *geboef nor

*boefte exist as words in their own right, it is clear that ge ... te as a whole is added to foe/'rascal'.

Prefixes do not, in general, take the main word stress, though the negative on- does so in nouns, and optionally in adjectives. Suffixes fall into three categories. Most suffixes of Germanic origin leave the stress pattern of the stem word intact, e.g. lantwoord 'answer' - lantwoord-je 'answer (dim.)'. Some suffixes draw the main stress towards the last syllable of the stem or the last element of a compound or derived word, e.g. 1 algebra - alge'bra-isch 'algebra - algebraic', xafstand - afstand-elijk 'distance - distant', bonder-boar - wonder1 baar-lijk 'wonderful - miraculous'. There is a third class of predominantly (though not exclusively) loan suffixes; derivations with these require main stress on the suffix itself, e.g. Handvoogd - landvoogd- 'es 'governor - governess', xkoning - koning- lin 'king - queen'.

The gender of derived nouns is regular. Thus all diminutives are neuter, irrespective of the stem word, words with the suffix -ing are feminine (or nonneuter in those dialects which have given up the masculine-feminine dichotomy), and words with the prefix ge-, as well as those with the circumfix ge-... -te are neuter.

It is possible to derive ordinals by suffixing cardinal numbers with alternatively -de or -ste\ the latter suffix is used in eerste '1st', achtste '8th', and from twintigste '20th' upwards.

Derivational compounds consist of two or even more words, which are linked together by a suffix, and thus acquire word status. Instances are eenogig 'one-eyed' (= (een+oog)+ig), meersyllabig 'polysyllabic' (= (meer+syllab(e))+ig), tweederangs 'second rate' (= (tweede+rang)+s), doordeweeks 'commonplace' (= door+de+week)+s). To this class may also be added such words as bijdehand 'smart' (= 'bij+de+hand'), vanmorgen 'this morning' (= 'van+morgen'), which formally consist of a prepositional phrase, but have taken, like comparable concatenations with suffixes, fixed word stress on the last component.

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