Why has the German instanziieren two "i" in the word?

To instantiate sth is the process of creating or deriving an object or instance from a template or a class. You often encounter this verb in the context of object oriented programming languages, but it isn't limited to that.

In German, to instantiate is often translated etwas instanziieren with this strange double "i". It is obviously the verb of the noun Instanz. Is instanziieren correct, and if yes, why isn't it etwas instanzieren?

There are a lot of other nouns like "Replik", "Fabrikation", "Qualifikation", "Differenz" that have the verbs "replizieren", "fabrizieren", "qualifizieren", or "differenzieren". I guess they all derive back to latin "facere", "to do" or "to make", and I don't understand why "Instanz" seems different.

  • 3
    The word is derived from latin instantia. Now, I don't speak latin but it seems like the first i is part of the latin word stem. The second i is part of the German verb ending -ieren which often is used to derive a verb from such loanwords. It's really analogous to the English verb instanti <from latin> -ate <English equivalent to German -ieren> . – Roland Aug 11 '20 at 11:54
  • "I guess they all derive back to latin 'facere'": Why do you think so? Maybe they are over many stages, but they were separate words in Latin before they were borrowed by German: replicare, fabricare, qualificare, differre. All of them have no i in their stem. – amadeusamadeus Aug 11 '20 at 12:34
  • @amadeusamadeus: Sorry, I was not precise. I guess that the "-iere" suffix refers to "facere", but this is just guessing, and, to be precise, irrelevant so relevant for the question, since the problem is in the stem, not in the suffix. – Nils Magnus Aug 11 '20 at 12:44
  • @NilsMagnus Alright! I don't know of any cognation between facere and the German affix -ier- (+ -er, -en, -t and so on), but in fact it indicates that something is 'made'. – amadeusamadeus Aug 11 '20 at 19:07

The suffix here is always -ieren. The first i comes from the Latin stem.

An example: initiieren is borrow from initiare (or some derived form). The stem was left untouched, in this case even the t is kept (instead of z).

Same goes for variare –> variieren and repatriare –> repatriieren.

Other examples:

abbreviieren, affiliieren, alliieren, deviieren, dissoziieren, expropriieren, foliieren, gloriieren, liniieren, mediieren, negoziieren, plagiieren, pliieren, prämiieren, soziieren, spatiieren, spoliieren, vikariieren

As derivative suffix, -ieren is mostly used with adjectives or substantives. Also substanziieren and instanziieren aren't based on the verbs substare or instare, respectively, but on the noun forms substantia and instantia. This is why it is instanziieren. However, it's not always straightforward. E.g., Differenz derives from differentia, but still we don't say differenziieren (but differenzieren). This might be due to the fact that the stem of the verb differre which differentia is derived from doesn't end on i.

  • 4
    Ok, I understand that "instantia" is the Latin base, so that "instanti-a" is the stem and the nominative singular leading to German "instanti-ieren" or, in a more modernized form "instanzi-ieren". However, this does not work with German "Differenz" which refers to Latin "differentia" with the stem "differenti-a", but it is "differenzieren" and not "differenti-ieren" or "differenziieren". – Nils Magnus Aug 11 '20 at 12:37
  • 1
    Another interesting example is "distantia". We say "distanzieren" and not "distanziieren". – Paul Frost Aug 13 '20 at 12:57
  • @NilsMagnus RIght. – amadeusamadeus Aug 13 '20 at 20:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.