Russian affixes in Yiddish


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are from Weinreich (1958: 378–380) (see also Reershemius 2007) (cited by (Reershemius 2007). Weinreich (1958: 378) notes that the following seven potential cases of borrowed affixes have “rather limited distribution in the lexicon [and] are limited to a relatively small number of words each”, therefore they are not counted here: ‑še ‘feminizer’, ‑čik ‘endearing’, and the four ‘pejoratives’ ‑ak, ‑áč, ‑éts, and ‑l’ák, ‑nák. The remaining thirteen borrowed affixes, given in the following, are said to be “highly productive” (Weinreich 1958: 378). Weinreich (1958: 378) notes that there are “many others”, without giving further details.


3 feminine noun derivation

ke ‘feminine’, e.g. lérerke ‘woman teacher’

ixe ‘feminine form of animal and (pejorative) personal names’, e.g. léjb‑ixe ‘lioness, Leyb’s wife’

ńítse ‘feminine form of personalizing or agentive nouns’, e.g. ejšes‑íš‑ńítse ‘adulteress’


2 (pejorative) adjectivizers

ske, e.g. oriman‑ske ‘fit for a pauper’

‑(ev)ate, e.g. tam‑evate ‘dull’


3 noun‑noun derivation

-arné ‘place name mildly contemptuous’, e.g. xasidarné ‘gathering place for khasidim’

ńik ‘personalizing or agentive derivation’, e.g. jišufńik ‘village Jew’

úk ‘pejorative, especially for names of occupations’, e.g. šuster‑úk ‘contemptible cobbler’


3 endearing vocatives/diminutives

‑(e)ńu, e.g. kínd‑eńu ‘dear child’

‑ink(e), used with nouns, e.g. múm‑inke ‘dear aunt’, with adjectives, e.g. dos rójt‑ink‑e kíšele ‘the little red (endearing) pillow’, with verbs, e.g. šlóf‑inke‑en ‘to sleep (nursery‑talk)’, with adverbs, e.g. pamél‑ink‑es ‘slowly (endearing)’, and with at least one interjection, e.g. gváld‑ink‑es ‘heavens!’

‑ičk, used (also) with adjectives, e.g. der ált‑ičk‑er man ‘the old (endearing) man’


1 privative prefix, “incipiently productive” (Weinreich 1958: 378) and syntagmatically related to the personalizing or agentive derivational suffix ‑ńik in the sense that it “seems to be limited to constructions with ‑ńik in pejorative vocabulary” (Weinreich 1958: 378).

bez‑ ‘without’, e.g. bez‑bušńik ‘shameless person’


1 verbalizers of interjections

ke‑ ‘verbalizer’, e.g. bom‑ke‑n ‘to say “bom”’