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Noun to adjective: Suffixation

 
 
Noun-to-adjective suffixation is the combination of a noun stem and a suffix to form a new adjective. There are different types of noun-to-adjective suffixation:

Without umlaut

This is the most frequent type of noun-to-adjective suffixation. Examples:

Gold + en = golden
Fehler + haft = fehlerhaft
Schaum + ig = schaumig
Heuchler + isch = heuchlerisch
Glück + lich = glücklich
Gewalt + los = gewaltlos
Plan + mäßig = planmäßig
Furcht + sam = furchtsam

German suffixes that can form new adjectives without umlaut:

en erig ern haft
ig isch lich los
mäßig sam sch


Regional Variants





With umlaut

Some suffixes cause the stressed vowel a, o or u of the stem to be umlauted:

Blatt + erig = blätterig
Holz + ern = hölzern
Zufall + ig = zufällig
Aufstand + isch = aufständisch
Stunde + lich = stündlich

All suffixes that can cause umlaut are German:

erig ern ig isch
lich




Regional Variants





With linking element

In some cases, a linking element is inserted between the noun stem and the suffix. The most frequently used linking elements are: linking element en and linking element s. Other linking elements are rarely used.

Held +
en
+ haft = heldenhaft
Tat los tatenlos
Zahl mäßig zahlenmäßig
 
Frühling +
s
+ haft = frühlingshaft
Veranwortung los verantwortungslos
Gefühl mäßig gefühlsmäßig
 
Kraft +
e
+ mäßig = kräftemäßig
Kind +
er
+ los = kinderlos
Verstand +
es
+ mäßig = verstandesmäßig

Suffixes that can be used with a linking element:

haft los mäßig


Combined derivation

Some suffixes form new adjectives from combinations of an adjective and a noun or a noun and a noun:

zart + Glied + (e)rig = zartgliederig
zartgliedrig
zwei Monat lich zweimonatlich
alt Vater isch altväterisch
Silber Haar ig silberhaarig

Suffixes used in combined derivation:

erig ig isch lich


Foreign suffixes

Foreign suffixes are usually only added to nouns of foreign origin.

Funktion + al = funktional
Musik + alisch = musikalisch
Atom + ar = atomar
Kultur + ell = kulturell
Karneval + esk = karnevalesk
Instinkt + iv = instinktiv
Nerv + ös = nervös

All foreign suffixes:

al alisch anisch ar
är arisch atisch ell
esk etisch ial id
iell in inisch istisch
itisch iv ös orisch
ual uell

 
Features:

Foreign suffixes often cause (mostly foreign) stem variations between the noun stem and the adjective stem:
  • Deletion of the ending:
    The following endings are regularly deleted when a foreign suffix is added:
    -a    Lepra + ös = leprös

    Vagina al vaginal







    -e
    Tabelle + arisch = tabellarisch

    Bakterie ell bakteriell







    -ie
    Harmonie + istisch = harmonistisch

    Theorie etisch theoretisch







    -um
    Ultimatum + iv = ultimativ

    Zentrum al zentral







    -us
    Fiskus + alisch = fiskalisch

    Uterus in uterin

    Other endings are, for example: o (Mexico - mexikanisch), ität ( Universität - universitär), os (Pathos - pathetisch), ien (Dalmatien - dalmatinisch)
  • Modification of the ending:
    Often the ending of a foreign noun is modified when a foreign suffix is added. Examples:
    Nomen + al = nominal
    Margo + al = marginal
    Theater + al = theatral
    Molekül + ar = molekular
    Muskel + är = muskulär
    Florenz + inisch = Florentinisch
    Qualität + iv = Qualitativ






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