Has English adopted any common morphemes from any "exotic"-type languages? By that, I'm trying to exclude our most frequent borrowings; i.e. French, Latin, and Greek, from which nearly all our suffixes and prefixes are borrowed — endings like -ance, -ette, -ience, -ium, -ology, and innumerable more. (Prefixes would be for example, anti-, circ-, princ-) However, once you escape those big 3, I find it gets a lot harder; I personally can't think of any off the top of my head. Can anyone else?
Yiddish: 'nik', as in "beatnik", no-goodnik, peacenik.
These ones are the ones I could find.
- The link brings you to a more in depth description.
- Between parentheses, you'll see the origin.
The main page that I found at the beginning is "English Morphemes ". I tried to order them in a matching order to fit your question. If you see something that doesn't fit, feel free to let me know.
-nik (slavic origin): The English suffix -nik is of Slavic origin. It approximately corresponds to the suffix "-er" and nearly always denotes an agent noun (that is, it describes a person related to the thing, state, habit, or action described by the word to which the suffix is attached). In the cases where a native English language coinage may occur, the "-nik"-word often bears an ironic connotation.
-lock (Old English): The suffix -lock in Modern English survives only in wedlock. It descends from Old English -lác which was more productive, carrying a meaning of "action or proceeding, state of being, practice, ritual".
"Shm-reduplication" (presumably Yiddish): Shm-reduplication is a form of reduplication in which the original word or its first syllable (the base) is repeated with the copy (the reduplicant) beginning with shm- (sometimes schm-), pronounced
/ʃm/. The construction is generally used to indicate irony, derision or skepticism with respect to comments about the discussed object:
He's just a baby!
Baby-shmaby. He's already 5 years old!
The construction appears to have originated in Yiddish and was subsequently transferred to English, especially urban northeastern American English, by Yiddish speaking Jews. It is now known and used by many non-Jewish English speakers.
hippietrail thinks I should point out that ur- (meaning "original", as in urtext) is another example. Dictionaries say it comes from the German but I think it was at least reinforced by the name of the ancient Sumerian city Ur.
This is a bit of a stretch, but the OED lists 'fest' -- as in 'filmfest,' 'gabfest,' and (obviously) 'oktoberfest' -- as having been borrowed from modern German. (For the apparently cognate 'festival' it offers a different etymology that passes through Old French and Medieval Latin to the Latin 'festīvus.')
If you take your rule as being any productive (makes new words easily) affix that is not from the accepted literary/scientific neologism-making affixes you alluded to (that is, allowing from also from Latin/Greek/French but still keeping to the spirit of what you asked):
- -athon: any long extended activity. From marathon < Marathon (Gr) the town in ancient Greece. - sale-a-thon, dance-a-athon. sure this is Greek but...
- du jour: From 'du jour' (Fr) 'of the day'. sure this is from French but...
Ooh, I just thought of a good one:
-borne. As in "airborne" or "seaborne". It comes from German.