It is therefore reasonable to seek an answer to the selection between -ar and -nik in the phonological area.
In other words, the choice between -ar and -er follows the phonotactic rules and has nothing to do with -nik.
The suffix -nik, on the other hand, can be placed after a non-palatalized as well as a palatalized consonant.
Since the suffix -nik can follow any consonant, palatality does not play a role here.
Looking back at the question of the possible motivations for the choice of -ar and -nik, we conclude that there is no positive evidence to support the phonological motivation.
In terms of semantics, the suffixes -ar and -nik require investigation of their meanings.
In contrast, a word with the suffix -nik, again, can denote a male human as well as a thing.
popjelnik 'ashtray' < popjel 'ash' From these examples we can assume that the suffix -nik primarily denotes a thing, but there is another example to reinforce this view.
Although such secondary derivations occur infrequently, it is safe to assume that the morpheme -nik means a thing.
The suffix -ar denotes a male human and -nik denotes a thing inherently.
This hypothesis would be convincing if the semantic motivation were to work on the selection of -ar and -nik. In [section]5.3.2, we look at the secondary derivation, that is, the combination of -ar-nik and -nik-ar, more precisely in order to ascertain this view.
In [section]5.3.1, we posited that -ar denotes a male human and -nik denotes a thing generally.
Once -nik is attached to those derived nouns, however, they obtain a different meaning although the association to the meaning of the stem remains.
Viewing the hypothesis in (13) through the lens of this analysis, we can see that semantic motivation is the most plausible in terms of the selection between -ar and -nik. In the next subsection, we will look at further examples in English as a supporting explanation from cognitive accounts.
If we apply this cognitive explanation to the Sorbian suffix, it is likely that our hypothesis in (13), that -ar denotes a male human and -nik denotes a thing inherently, is correct.