Word Formation

Part of Speech of Affixed Words

Prefixes do not alter the part of speech of the affixed word. On the other hand, suffixes do and are defined as either adjective/adverb suffixes or noun/verb suffixes.

Grammatical Affixes

  • -su: possessive adjectives
  • -li: (1) turns nouns into adjective/adverbs (of, relating to); (2) generates noun quasi-compounds
  • -mo: (1) turns adjectives into adjective/adverb-modifying adverbs; (2) generates adjective quasi-compounds
  • -ya: turns adjectives into abstract nouns
  • -gi: transitivity marker
  • -cu: intransitivity marker
  • be-: passive voice
  • du-: gerund; habitual/continuous verb aspect

Prefixes

  • aw-: absent, away [awsenti - absent]
    • awidi - leave, go away (idi - go); awglu - drink up (glu - drink); awpel - drive away (pel - drive/push, impulse/impetus)
  • awto-: auto- (automatic) [awtomati - automatic]
    • awtosahigi - autocorrect (sahi - correct, right; sahigi - correct)
  • dis-: disperse, scatter
    • disgibe - distribute (gibe - give)
  • eko-: eco-
    • ekologi - ecology (logi - specialty, discipline), ekosistem - ecosystem (sistem - system)
  • fin-: finish, to the end
    • findoxo - finish reading to the end (doxo - read); finyam - finish eating (yam - eat)
  • fron-: forwards [fronta - forehead, front]
    • fronkadam - progress (kadam - step)
  • ja-: immediately adjacent [jara - neighbor]
    • jale - just (have) (le - past tense verb particle); jaxa - about to (xa - future tense verb particle); jaledin - yesterday (din - day); jaxadin - tomorrow (din - day)
  • nen-: un-, in-, im-
    • nenmuhim - unimportant (muhim - important); nenkompleto - incomplete (kompleto - complete); nenible - impossible (ible - possible); okonenible - invisible (oko - see); imanunenible - unbelievable, incredible (imanu - believe); nensomno - insomnia (somno - sleep)
  • pos-: opposite [opos - opposite]
    • possahay - hinder (sahay - help); possukses - failure/fail (sukses - success); posdongwi - disagree (dongi - agree); posgami - divorce (gami - spouse/marry)
  • pre: here/there, present (as opposed to away, absent) [presenti - present]
    • preata - arrive (ata - come); preporta - bring, take (porta - carry)
  • ri-: re- (again)
    • rieskri - rewrite (eskri - write); riadresu - forward (adresu - address); ridoxo - reread (doxo - read)
  • ru-: retro-, re- (back) [ruke - back/rear]
    • ruata - come back, return (ata - come); ruidi - go back, return (idi - go); rugibe - give back, return (gibe - give); ruaksyon - react/reaction (aksyon - act/action)
  • xor-: begin, start
    • xorsomno - fall asleep (somno - sleep); xoraham - realize, come to understand (aham - understand)

Adj/Adv Suffixes

  • -do: in an inactive state of (turns nouns into inactive adjectives)
    • kasirudo - broken (kasiru - break); klosido - closed (klosi - close); estodo - stopped (esto - stop)
  • -ne: in the active process of (turns verbs into active adjectives)
    • somnone - sleeping (somno - sleep); interesne - interesing (interes - interest); amusane - amusing, fun (amusa - amuse)
  • -ple: multiple
    • duaple - double (dua - two); tigaple - triple (tiga - three); careple - quadruple (care - four)
  • -yum: ordinal numbers
    • unyum - first (un - one); duayum - second (dua - two); tigayum - third (tiga - three)

Noun Suffixes

  • -gon: -agon (geometric figure) [gono - angle]
    • tigagon - triangle (tiga - three); limagon - pentagon (lima - five); ocogon - octagon (oco - eight); ortogon - rectangle (orto - upright)
  • -ina: -ine
    • kafeina - caffeine (kafe - coffee)
  • -je: degree [daraje - degree, level]
    • dayje - size (day - big/large); velosije - speed (velosi - fast); telije - distance (teli - far); laoje - age (lao - old); termoje - temperature (termo - heat); gaoje - height (gao - tall/high)
  • -sa: language; animal cries [basa - language]
    • Globasa - Globasa (globa - world); Englisa - English (Engli - England); Espanisa - Spanish (Espani - Spain)
    • bwawsa - bark (bwaw - dog); myawsa - meow (myaw - cat); umasa - neigh (uma - horse); singasa - roar (singa - lion)

Function Words as Quasi-Prefixes in Compound Words

  • anti: against, counter, anti-
    • antidokya - antidote (dokya - poison); antijento - fight against (jento - fight); antiaksyon - counteract (aksyon - act/action)
  • bax: under, sub-, vice-
    • baxgeoli - subterranean (geo - earth, ground); baxpresidiyen - vice-president (presidiyen -president)
  • pas: through
    • pasdoxo - read through (doxo - read); pasjiwa - live through (jiwa - live, life); paspasa - traverse, pass through (pasa - pass)
  • ex: out
    • exidi - exit (idi - go); exporta - export (porta - carry); exnasyonli - foreign (nasyon - nation)
  • in: in
    • inidi - enter (idi - go); inporta - import (porta - carry); inhare - contain (hare - have)
  • infra: infra-, hypo-
    • infratermo - hypothermia (termo - heat); infraroso - infrared (roso - red); infraidi - descend (idi - go)
  • intre: between, inter-
    • intrenasyonli - international (nasyon - nation); intrepala - conversation (pala - speak, talk); intreaksyon - interact/interaction (aksyon - act/action); intrediskusi - dialogue (diskusi - discuss/discussion)
  • le: past
    • lefe - before (fe - at)
  • lefe: pre-, fore-
    • lefeoko - foresee (oko - see); lefeloga - foretell, predict (loga - say/tell)
  • moy: every, all
    • moyabil - almightly, omnipotent (abil - able, capable); moydinli - daily, everyday (din - day)
  • of: off (of), from, fractions
    • offolo - depend on (folo - follow); un ofdua - half, one out of two (dua - two)
  • se: self-
    • semorgi - suicide (morgi - kill); sebawe - self-defense (bawe - defense)
  • supra: above, super-, hyper-
    • suprarealsim - hyperrealistic (real - real; realsim - realistic); supraidi - ascend (idi - go)
  • ton: together, co-
    • tonaksyon - cooperate (aksyon - act/action); tonergo - collaborate (ergo - work)
  • tras: across, trans-
    • trasporta - transport/transportation (porta - carry); trasbasa - translate, interpret (basa - language, communicate through language)
  • ultra: beyond
    • ultrajiwa - survive (jiwa - life); ultranaturali - supernatural (natura - nature); ultrapasa - surpass (pasa - pass)
  • xa: future
    • xafe - after (fe - at)
  • xafe: post-
    • xafeplasi - postpone (plasi - put); xafemorculi (preferably expressed more succinctly as a prepositional phrase - xafe morcu) - postmortem, posthumous (morcu - death); xafexengili (preferably expressed more succinctly as a prepositional phrase - xafe xengi) - postpartum (xen - born; xengi - give birth)

Noun/Verb Words as Quasi-Prefixes in Compound Words

  • gami: spouse, marry; in compounds: in-law
    • gamisodar - brother-in-law, sister-in-law (sodar - sibling); gamiatre - in-laws (atre - parent)
  • hawa: air; in compounds: aero-
    • hawanavi - aircraft (navi - ship)

Adj/Adv Words as Quasi-Prefixes in Compound Words

Many adjective/adverbs may be used to create compounds. The following list includes the most commonly used adjective/adverbs in compounds.

Root adjective/adverbs are typically attached to the main root word, creating compounds. On the other hand, derived adjective/adverbs with -li (leli) are typically expressed as separate words, creating quasi-compounds.

  • bon: good; in compounds: eu-, objectively or morally good/well
    • bonata - welcome (ata - come); bonxanse - good luck (xanse - chance, luck); bonlexi - euphemism (lexi - word); bonmorcu - euthanasia (morcu - death); bonoko - observe, watch (oko - eye/see/look); bonore - listen (ore - ear/hear)
  • bur: bad; in compounds: objectively or morally bad
    • burnini - brat (nini - kid); bursolo - lonely (solo - alone); burlexi - swearword (lexi - word)
  • colo: ugly; in compounds: ugly
    • coloeskri - scribble (eskri - write)
  • cuyo: main, chief, primary; in compounds: main, chief, primary, master, arch-
    • cuyodolo - main street (dolo - street); cuyoyawxe - master key (yawxe - key)
  • day: big, large; in compounds: augmentative
    • daybon - excellent, great, awesome (bon - good); dayday - huge, gigantic (day - big, large); daylil - tiny (lil - small, little); dayxaher - metropolis (xaher - town, city); daybaytu - mansion (baytu - house)
  • fem: female
    • femgami - wife (gami - spouse); femnini - girl (nini - kid/child); femixu - woman (ixu - adult, man/woman); femwangu - queen (wangu - monarch, king/queen)
  • godo: - excessive, excessively, too much, too many; in compounds: too
    • godojaldi - premature (jaldi - early)
  • juni: young; in compounds: offspring
    • junibwaw - puppy (bwaw - dog); junimyaw - kitten (myaw - cat); junisinga - cub (singa - lion); juninini - infant, toddler (nini - kid, child)
  • kwasi: seeming(ly); in compounds: quasi-, step-
    • kwasisodar - step-brother, step-sister (sodar - sibling)
  • lama: ancient [ opp neo]
    • lamahistori - ancient history (histori - history)
  • lao: old [opp juni]
    • laoatre - ancestor, forefather, foremother (atre - parent); laonini - teen, adolescent (nini - kid, child); laodaypatre/laodaypapa - great grandfather/great grandpa (daypatre - grandfather; daypapa - grandpa)
  • leli: former; in compounds: ex-
    • leli gami - ex-spouse (gami - spouse); leli presidiyen - ex-president (presidi - preside)
  • lil: small, little; in compounds: diminutive
    • lilhaha - giggle (haha - laugh); lilbaytu - hut, cottage (baytu - house); lilnahir - stream (nahir - river)
  • mal: wrong; in compounds: mis-
    • malaham - misunderstand (aham - understand); malhesabu - miscount (hesabu - count)
  • man: male
    • mangami - husband (gami - spouse); mannini - boy (nini - kid/child); manixu - man (ixu - adult, man/woman); manwangu - king (wangu - monarch, king/queen)
  • meli: beautiful, pretty
    • melieskri - calligraphy (eskri - write)
  • midi: middle; in compounds: mid-
    • midinuru - noon (nuru - daytime); midinoce - midnight (noce - night); mididay - medium
  • neo: new; in compounds: new, neo-
    • neoklasiko - neoclassical (klasiko - classic, classical)
  • semi: sort of, kind of, partly; in compounds: half-; semi-, -ish
    • semisodar - half-brother/half-sister (sodar - sibling); semikijawi - greenish (kijawi - green)
  • total: entire, whole; in compounds: total, all-, pan-
    • totalglobali - world-wide (globa - world)

Numerals as Quasi-Prefixes in Compound Words

Numerals may also be used to create compounds.

  • unbasayen - monolingual (basa - language)
  • duacalun - bicycle (calun - wheel)

Adj/Adv Words as Quasi-Suffixes in Compound Words

  • abil: can, able; in compounds: can, -ive
    • kreaabil - creative (krea - create); okonenabil - blind (oko - see)
  • bimar: ill, sick
    • sikobimar - crazy (siko - mind)
  • bon: good
    • xetocubon - delicious (xetocu - taste); xansebon - lucky, fortunate (xanse - odds)
  • bur: bad
    • xansebur - unlucky, unfortunate (xanse - odds)
  • ible: possible; in compounds -able/-ible
    • yamible - edible (yam - eat); doxoible - legible (doxo - read); okoible - visible (oko - see)
  • fil: inclined to, prone
    • ergofil - diligent, industrious (ergo - work); fobifil - fear-prone (fobi - fear); dinifil - religious (dini - religion)
  • kal: empty; in compounds: -less
  • legakal - illegal, lawless (lega - law); ergokal - unemployed (ergo - work); pesakal - poor (pesa - money); luminkal - dark (lumin - light); yamkal - hungry (yam - eat/meal); suikal - thirsty (sui - water)
  • kolordo (kolor-do): shade, colored (See also -sim.)
    • asmankolordo - sky blue (asman - sky)
  • laye: worthy
    • xinloylaye - trust-worthy (xinloy - trust); memorilaye - memorable (memori - memory/remember); doxolaye - worth reading (doxo - read)
  • musi: must, have to; in compounds: (active) must; (passive) must be, imperative
    • active: triunfamusi - who must win (triunfa - win/triumph)
    • passive: beokomusi - must-see (oko - see; beoko - be seen)
  • peldo (pel-do): driven
    • somnopeldo - sleepy (somno - sleep)
  • pul: full; in compounds: -ful
    • kimapul - costly, pricey, expensive (kima - price); yampul - full, satiated (yam - eat/meal); jawgupul - careful (jawgu - take care); brilapul - shiny (brila - shine); pesapul - rich (pesa - money); hataripul - dangerous (hatari - danger); legapul - legal, lawful (lega - law); bawlupul - violent (bawlu - violence)
  • sim: similar; in compounds: -like, -ish, shade of color
    • dostesim - friendly (doste - friend); femsim - effeminate (fem - feminine); ninisim - childish (nini - child); realsim - realistic (real - real); dahabusim - golden (dahabu - gold)

Nouns as Quasi-Suffixes in Compound Words

  • bol: ball
    • pedabol - soccer/football (peda - foot); basketobol - basketball (basketo - basket)
  • din: day
    • Soladin - Sunday (Sola - Earth's sun); Lunadin - Monday (Luna - Earth's moon); Marihidin - Tuesday (Marihi - Mars); Bududin - Wednesday (Budu - Mercury); Muxtaridin - Thursday (Muxtari - Jupiter); Zuhuradin - Friday (Zuhura - Venus); Xanidin - Saturday (Xani - Saturn); Kristodin - Christmas (Kristo - Chirst)
  • dom: place; in compounds: place, room
    • kitabudom - library (kitabu - book); mehmandom - hostel (mehman - guest); dinidom - church, temple (dini - religion); banyodom - bathroom (banyo - bath); darsudom - classroom (darsu - lesson, class)
  • doku document
    • pasadoku - passport (pasa - pass); xencudoku - birth certificate (xen - born, xencu - birth)
  • dukan: store
    • kitabudukan - bookstore (kitabu - book); yamdukan - restaurant (yam - meal/eat); yamxeydukan - grocery store (yamxey - food)
  • ente: inanimate agent
    • medisente - medicine, medication (medis - medicine); antigutonente - analgesic, pain-killer (guton - pain)
  • fon: -phone, audio tool
    • telifon - telephone (teli - far); infon - microphone (in - speak/speech); exfon - speakers (ex - out); orefon - earphones (ore - ear); radyofon - radio transmitter (radyo - radio)
  • hole: sheath, holder
    • xamahole - candlestick (xama - candle); pamtulhole - holster (pamtul - gun)
  • grafi: recording; in compounds; recording, -graphy
    • jiwagrafi - biography (jiwa - life); radyagrafi - x-ray image (radya - radiation); teligrafi - telegram (teli - far)
  • ismo: -ism
    • kapitalismo - capitalism (kapital - capital); komunismo - communism (komun - communal); Budaismo - Buddhism (Buda - Buddha)
  • ista: -ist (meaning limited to adherent to -ism)
    • kapitalista - capitalist (kapital - capital); komunista - communist (komun - communal); Budaista - Buddhist (Buda - Buddha)
  • itis: inflammation (-itis)
    • artroitis - arthritis (artro - joint); mogeitis - encephalitis (moge - brain)
  • kaxa: container
    • anjenkaxa - safebox (anjen - safe); pesakaxa - purse (pesa - money); bezekaxa - beehive (beze - bee)
  • kef: boss, leader, chief
    • navikef - captain (nave - ship); xaherkef - mayor (xaher - city)
  • krasi: government
    • demokrasi - democracy (krasi - rule, govern)
  • kumax: (piece of) cloth
    • banyokumax - towel (banyo - bath); mesakumax - tablecloth (mesa - table); nasakumax - handkerchief (nasa - nose); muntekumax - napkin (munte - mouth)
  • lari: collective group
    • drevolari - forest (drevo - tree); insanlari - humanity (insan - human being); darsulari - course (darsu - lesson/class); mumulari - herd of cattle (mumu - bull/cow, ox); lexilari - vocabulary (lexi - word); menalari - dictionary (mena - meaning, definition); navilari - fleet of ships (navi - ship); yumawlari - plumage (yumaw - feather); dinlari - week (din - day)
  • lexi: word
    • namelexi - noun (name - name); falelexi - verb (fale - do); sifalexi - adjective (sifa - characteristic); manerlexi - adverb (maner - manner)
  • logi: specialty, study of
    • biologi - biology (bio - life/organisms); sikologi - psychology (siko - mind)
  • maso: meat
    • mumumaso - beef (mumu - bull/cow); kukumaso - chicken (kuku - hen/rooster); swinimaso - pork (swini - pig, hog); mahimaso - fish (mahi - fish)
  • medis: medicine (practice)
    • dentamedis - dentistry (denta - tooth); sikomedis - psychiatry (siko - mind); hewanmedis - veterinary medicine (hewan - animal); ninimedis - pediatrics (nini - child); pifumedis - dermatology (pifu - skin)
  • meter: measuring device
    • termometer - thermometer (termo - heat); satumeter - clock, watch (satu - hour)
  • mon: element or part of a whole
    • talujimon - snowflake (taluji - snow); watumon - period (watu - time); atexmon - flame (atex - fire)
  • mosem: season
    • bardimosem - winter (bardi - cold); bijamosem - spring (bija - seed/sow); termomosem - summer (termo - heat); xuhamosem - autumn (xuha - reap/harvest)
  • osis: pathology
    • sikoosis - psychosis (siko - mind)
  • tim: team; in compounds: team, body
    • asosyatim - association (asosya - associate); komuntim - community (komun - communal); organisatim - organization (organisa - organize); jangetim - military (jange - war); krasitim - government (krasi - rule/govern); ergotim - staff (ergo - work); oretim - audience (ore - ear/hear)
  • tora: machine, device, apparatus; in compounds: -ator, machine, device, apparatus
    • komputatora - computer (komputa - compute); liftitora - elevator, lift (lifti - lift); woxatora - washing machine (woxa - wash); tayputora - typewriter (taypu - type)
  • tul: tool
    • eskritul - writing utensil (eskri - write); katatul - knife (kata - cut); yuxitul - toy (yuxi - play/game)
  • xey: thing, object; in compounds: thing, object, substance
    • yamxey - food (yam - meal, eat); kreaxey - (a) creation (krea - create); kostruixey - building (kostrui - build)
  • yen: being (any living being or personified object); in compounds: -ist, -er, -an
    • noun/verb roots: estudiyen - student (estudi - study); danseyen - dancer (danse - dance); medisyen - physician (medis - medicate, medicine); arteyen - artist (arte - art); alimyen - teacher (alim - teach); polisiyen - police officer (polisi - police); legayen - lawyer/attoney (lega - law); poemayen - poet (poema - poem)
    • adjective roots: juniyen - young man/woman, gal/guy (juni - young)
    • nationalities: Italiyen - Italian (Itali - Italy); Mexikoyen - Mexican (Mexiko - Mexico)
    • physicians: dentamedisyen - dentist (denta - tooth); sikomedisyen - psychiatrist (siko - mind); hewanmedisyen - veterinarian (hewan - animal); ninimedisyen - pediatrician (nini - child); pifumedisyen - dermatologist (pifu - skin)

Other Noun-Noun Compounds

Many other nouns can be used to create noun-noun compounds.

rukebao - backpack
xencudin - birthday
familname - last name
kosmonaviyen - astronaut
mobilxuliyen - mechanic

Proper Noun Compounds

Proper nouns may also be joined to create compounds. They may be spelled in one of three ways as seen below.

Ceskieslovaki or CeskiEslovaki or Ceski-Eslovaki - Czechoslovakia
Serbihervatskasa or SerbiHervatskasa or Serbi-Hervatskasa - Serbo-Croatian
Kinxasakongo or KinxasaKongo or Kinxasa-Kongo - Kongo-Kinshasa

Likewise, proper nouns with utara, sude, dongu, garebi and centro may also be spelled in one of three ways.

Sudehangu or SudeHangu or Sude-Hangu - South Korea

Proper nouns with ji may also be alternatively joined as follows.

Antigwa ji Barbuda or AntigwaBarbuda or Antigwa-Barbuda - Antigua and Barbuda

Derived compounds consisting of two distinct proper nouns must be joined with a hyphen or dash.

Mexiko-Usali byen - Mexico-U.S. border

Descriptive Noun Compounds

Noun compounds such as the above may be expressed as adjectives simply by attaching the suffix -li.

xencudinli hadya - birthday gift

Alternatively, the descriptive word may be used in a prepositional phrase with fe as an equivalent of -li. In fact, this is the prefered method when the compound word already consists of three or more morphemes, such as xencudin (xen-cu-din).

hadya fe xencudin - birthday gift (literally, gift of birthday)

This method is especially useful for forming more complex descriptive noun phrases:

maydoyen fe hadya fe xencudin - birthday gift seller (literally, seller of gifts of birthday)

Object-Verb Adjectives

Object-Verb Adjectives are adjectives that consist of two nouns (object and verb) plus an adjective suffix.

mogeyamne ameba - brain-eating amoeba
fikirprovokane idey - thought-provoking idea