In the Swedish language, there are lots of different avledningar, or bound morphemes that you can add to words to change their part of speech as well as their function in a given context. Some examples of avledningar are:
- för- (when unemphasized)
And there are many more. But two avledningar that have been particularly useful to me in speaking Swedish are -aktig (pronounced /’ak:tig/) and -mässig (pronounced /’mes:ig/).
So what do these suffixes mean? Well, -aktig could be translated as the English suffix -like, as in ‘cat-like’ (kattaktig) or ‘machine-like’ (maskinaktig). What’s interesting here is that Swedish also has the suffix -lig, which comes from the same place that the English -like comes from, but has a much closer connection to English -ly in meaning. In the case of English, -ly was an early grammaticalization of the word like, and with time its form and meaning as a suffix has changed. More recently, the same word like has been grammaticalized a second time (which is why we still pronounce it [lajk]) to mean what -like means today as a suffix.
Here’s an example of a word with the suffix -aktig in a sentence:
Michael Phelps är verkligen fiskaktig när han simmar. – Michael Phelps is really fish-like when swims (lit. when he swims).
-mässig is also a very useful avledning. It corresponds to the English suffix -wise:
Svenskabloggen på Transparent.com har mycket att erbjuda innehållsmässigt. – The Swedish Blog at Transparent.com has a lot to offer content-wise.
There is a suffix -vis in Swedish which comes from the same place as -wise, but it is not used in the same way. For example, gradvis isn’t exactly the same as ‘grade-wise’ or ‘degree-wise’, but rather means ‘gradually’ or ‘bit by bit’.
Hope I have been able to enrich your Swedish vocabulary! Good luck using these avledningar!