Diminutives

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  • Diminutives are forms of a word that show smallness or endearment and are much more common in Dutch (especially spoken Dutch) than in English. All diminutives in Dutch are formed by adding -je to the noun, and all are neuter nouns and form the plural by adding -s.

    kindje little child
    neusje little nose
    schaapje little sheep

    Nouns endings in a vowel, y, w or j; nouns that contain a long vowel or diphthong followed by r, l, or n; and nouns ending in unstressed -er, -el, and -en add -tje to form the diminutive.

    eitje little egg
    beentje little leg
    dekentje little blanket

    Nouns containing a short vowel followed by r, l, n, m, or ng add -etje.

    balletje little ball
    stemmetje little voice

    Nouns ending in unstressed -ing drop the final -g and add -kje.

    verrassinkje little surprise

    Nouns ending in -m add -pje (unless m is preceded by short stressed vowel.)

    bezempje little broom

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