See also: t. je





From earlier -tjen, from Middle Dutch -kijn, from Old Dutch -kīn, which is the ancestor of the suffixes -ke, -ken, -tje (and its subvarieties: -je, -etje, -pje, -kje) and Afrikaans -tjie ([ci]). All forms descend from the Proto-West Germanic *-ikīn, *-ukīn, itself a double diminutive produced by combining Proto-West Germanic *-ik, *-uk + *-īn. The change from k to tj is the result of a palatalization of -kijn in North Holland in the 13th or 14th century.[1] Cf. also German -chen, English -kin.


  • IPA(key): /tjə/, [t͡ɕə], [cə], [çə][2]
  • Audio:(file)



-tje n (plural -tjes)

  1. Appended to a noun (or occasionally another part of speech), making it diminutive.

Usage notes

  • The use of this suffix is very productive in Dutch and has led to the creation of quite a few lexicalized forms, i.e. the diminutive has acquired a meaning of its own.
  • Sometimes attached to given names, yielding two possible outcomes:
  • Informally, this suffix may be attached to adjectives to yield a noun that is not necessarily diminutive, but has derogatory and/or familiar connotations: e.g.s slimpie (smart person) from slim (smart), gekkie (crazy person, oddball) from gek (crazy), bijdehandje (smart alec) from bijdehand (smart, pedantic) and jonkie (young 'un) from jong (young).
  • The suffix takes different variant forms according to the stress and final consonant or vowel of the root it is added to. This is mostly due to assimilation of the suffix to the previous consonant. Note that in each case, the actual sound that the word has matters, not the letter(s). Loanwords that retain a silent -e therefore behave as though they ended with the letter before it.
  • In informal speech, -ie, -pie and -kie may be used instead of -je, -pje and -kje. This substitution is mandatory in a number of words, particularly in diminutives derived from an adjectival base (such as gekkie, jonkie, and so forth).

Derived terms



  • Afrikaans: -tjie


  1. ^ A. van Loey, "Schönfeld's Historische Grammatica van het Nederlands", Zutphen, 8. druk, 1970, →ISBN; § 186
  2. ^ Collins, Beverley, Mees, Inger M. (2003) The Phonetics of English and Dutch, 5th edition, Brill Publishers, →ISBN, page 193