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Suffix (from the Latin suffixum "[below] attached"; occasionally postfix ; in traditional grammar also suffix ) is a term used in linguistics , especially linguistic morphology . A suffix is ​​an affix (dependent word component) that follows its respective base - in contrast to the prefix that precedes its base. Examples of suffixes are word formation morphemes such as -ung (in Bild-ung ) and -heit (in beauty ) or inflection morphemes such as the genitive ending -s in the form of (the) girl-s .

The term suffix does not mean that such an element has to be at the end of a word, because several successive steps of suffix addition (suffixing) are possible for a word , for example in the plural word form beauties the suffixes -heit and - s sequential: -heit a suffix to the base is nice and -en is a suffix to the base beauty .

"Suffix" and "Suffix"

The terms suffix and syllable belong to different grammatical levels: Suffixes are units of morphology , syllables are units of sound structure . The morphological and phonetic subdivisions of a word do not have to match. For derivative suffixes it is rather the rule that the syllable formation does not respect the boundary between stem and affix:

morphological limit: "Acht + ung"
00000000f Syllable border: "Caution"

In more recent scientific literature , the term suffix is therefore used less often and more often criticized.


There are suffixes of different grammatical meanings. The best-known German suffixes are:

  • -arm, -bold, -chen, -de, -e, - (er / el) egg, -el, -er, -like, -heit / -keit / -icht, -ian / jan, -i, - in, -ism , -leer, -lein, -ler, -ling, -los, -ner, -nis, -reich, -rich, -s, -sal, -schaft, -sel, -t, -tel, -tum, -ung, -full

Suffixes are divided into different categories :

Diminutive suffixes (diminutive)

Adjectival suffixes

  • -lich ( male from man, female from woman, domestic from house ), -lik ( Low German ).
  • -isch ( quarrelsome from Zank, Swabian from Swabia and Swabia, Hessian from Hesse and Hesse, Norwegian from Norwegians and Norway )
  • -ig ( agitated by (oneself) agitating, busy by business )
  • -bar ( curable from heal, terrible from fear )
  • - careful ( careful of worry, fearful of fear )

gender- defining suffixes

  • In the High German and Upper German dialects, the suffix -in is a feminine moviering suffix for the formation of feminine terms from other nouns.
    • It can be found particularly regularly in derivatives with "-er" ( teacher, head, wig maker, tailor, player , etc.) as well as other nouns ( candidate, cook, landlady , etc.). The suffix -in can be traced back to a common Germanic suffix group with different levels of ablaut; from Old High German -in , -inna ; from Middle High German -īn (Old High German vro and vrowin ), -inne , in Alemannic the -n is omitted: Schnideri , Mülleri , Lehreri , (›the‹ teacher: d'Lehreri ). In Low German there is a feminine suffix -sch (Neiersch - seamstress)
    • outdated, regional: High and Upper German suffix for feminization in family names : Müllerin, Neuberin, Schneiderin . Often in connection with the defining article "Die Neubauerin".
    • High and Upper German suffix for job titles and titles with the meaning "Frau des ..." (miller, pastor) . In Low German there is a feminine suffix -sche and -sch instead (Lierersch, Börgermeestersch - wife of the teacher, the mayor)
    • for females: she-bear, fox, bitch, rabbit
  • The suffix -er or -r can be found e.g. B. at derivations as Chamberlain of chamber or wizards by magic , but also in deriving a masculine noun of a feminine (slender) .

Nominalization suffixes

  • High German -heit , -keit , -ung , -nis ( meanness from common, cheerfulness from cheerful, hope from hope, darkness from dark )
  • Low German: -heit, -keit, -en in Northern Low German , -hait, -kait, -ijë / -ungë in East Westphalian
  • -de: collective suffix that u. a. Forms nouns from verbs, e.g. B. joy to look forward, building to building.

Suffixes from foreign words

In languages ​​with inflected language structures

In Russian

In addition to the grammatical level, relationships are also expressed with suffixes, for example in Russian Car , Carevič , Carevna , Carica , Carok .

Diminutive suffixes in Russian:

  • Masculine: -ik, -čik, -ok / -ek, -ec, -išk- etc. (e.g. "domik" from "dom" ("house"))
  • Feminine: -ka, -onk-a / -enk-a, - (i) ca, -ink-a etc. (e.g. "tropinka" from "tropa" ("path"))
  • Neutra: -ik-o, - (i) ce, -yšk-o etc. (e.g. "oblačko" from "oblako" ("cloud"))

Augmentative suffix in Russian:

  • Masculine and neuter: -išče (e.g. "domišče" from "dom" ("house"))
  • Feminine: -išča (e.g. "borodišča" from boroda ("beard"))

Adjectival suffixes in Russian:

  • -enn, -jan (n) (e.g. serebrjanyj "silver")

gender-defining suffixes in Russian:

  • -ka, (i) -ca, -inja, -ga (e.g. boginja "goddess")

Nouns suffixes in Russian:

  • -ost ', -anie (e.g. radost' "joy")
  • Acting subject suffix:
-nik, -tel '(e.g. učitel' "teacher")

Collective suffixes in Russian:

  • -stvo, -va (e.g. listva "leaves")

Non-adult suffix:

  • -ënok (e.g. slonënok "elephant cub")


  • -ica, -inka (e.g. krupinka "grain")

Form-forming suffixes:

  • -t '(e.g. pet' "sing")

In languages ​​with agglutinating language structures

In these languages, the suffixes are also used for grammatical differentiation, but they cannot be changed and are simply strung together.

In languages ​​with an isolating language structure

Isolating languages ​​tend to only have free morphemes, so some of the suffixes listed here are also independent words.

Plural suffixes:

  • 們 men, Mandarin, plural for people and living beings (may only be used if the plural is not already evident from other sentence elements)
  • 哋 dei6, Cantonese, plural suffix for the personal pronouns
  • 等 [Script is not tied to a specific language], Classical Chinese, plural suffix for personal pronouns
  • 들 dŭl, Korean, plural suffix for nouns

(Vietnamese has a reverse word structure, here the plural is indicated by the prefixes 眾 chúng and 各 các)

Dimunitive suffixes:

  • 子 zi, Mandarin, literally “son” or “child”, is so weakened in its meaning that it often only serves to clarify monosyllabic nouns. Not used in dialects with a large number of syllables, such as Cantonese. Increasingly only a nominal suffix.
  • 兒 he, Mandarin, literally “son”, also weakened in its meaning, and now more of a stylistic device that is used especially in Beijing Mandarin. Limited to the northern dialects.
  • 仔 zai2, Cantonese, literally “son” or “child”, belittling of nouns.

Adjective suffixes:

  • 的 de, Mandarin, adjective suffix for adjectives consisting of more than one syllable before a noun, after an adverb of the degree (very, extreme, etc.) it is omitted.
  • 嘅 ge3, Cantonese, Wu and others, use the same as 的, probably from 個 go3 (piece)
  • 嗰 ko5, Gan (贛), use like 的, Attention: This symbol means "those" in Cantonese (嗰 go2)

Gender suffix:

  • 乸 naa2, Cantonese, female suffix: 雞 乸 gai1 naa2 hen

Place names

Suffixes also play an important role in place names. They form localities z. B. from plant names ( Eschede "Eschenort", Fehrbellin "Weidenort" to Slavic verba "Weide") or residents ' names from personal names (eg Göppingen "with the people of Geppo"). Patronymic suffixes indicate the name of the founder or an important person in the place name (patron), e.g. B. Rochlitz to the Slavic first name Rochol, Jülich (← Juliacum ) after Julius Caesar . A significant part of these place name suffixes are originally not suffixes, as these are actually basic words that can also be used on their own (for example -hausen, -heim, -hof ) and each with the first part of the name (the defining word ) compounds (compositions) form. However, since they have often been blurred beyond recognition in the course of history (e.g. -heim to -em, -en, -um ), they can no longer be differentiated from suffixes, so that in many cases only the oldest documentary ones Allow documents to be reliably assigned.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Suffix  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: suffix  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Richard Wiese: The Phonology of German. Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 57 (English).
  2. Heinz Riesel: Morphology-Didactic Probing - First Inventories and Perspectives for a Qualitative Turnaround. In: Ursula Bredel , Hartmut Günther (Hrsg.): Orthography theory and spelling lessons. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2006, p. 49, ISBN 978-3-11-092119-9 .