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

  • -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
  • -su: possessive adjectives
  • be-: passive voice
  • du-: gerund; habitual/continuous verb aspect

Prefixes

  • ami-: in-law [gami - spouse/marry]
    • amisodar - brother-in-law, sister-in-law (sodar - sibling); amiatre - in-laws (atre - parent)
  • aw-: away [awsen - absent]
    • awidi - leave, go away (idi - go); awglu - drink up (glu - drink); awpel - drive away (pel - drive/push, impulse/impetus)
  • bon-: good, eu- [bono - good]
    • bonata - welcome (ata - come); bonxanse - good luck (xanse - chance, luck); bonsoba - good morning (soba - morning); bonlexi - euphemism (lexi - word); bonmorcu - euthanasia (morcu - death); bonoko - observe, watch (oko - eye/see/look); bonore - listen (ore - ear/hear)
  • bur-: objectively or morally bad [buru - bad]
    • burnini - brat (nini - kid); bursolo - lonely (solo - alone); burlexi - swearword (lexi - word)
  • col-: ugly [colo - ugly]
    • coleskri - scribble (eskri - write)
  • day-: augmentative [dayo - big/large]
    • daybono - excellent, great, awesome (bono - good); daydayo - huge, gigantic (dayo - big, large); daylile - tiny (lile - small, little); dayxaher - metropolis (xaher - town, city); daybaytu - mansion (baytu - house)
  • dis-: disperse, scatter
    • disgibe - distribute (gibe - give)
  • fin-: finish, to the end [fini - finish, end]
    • finfe - until (fe - at); finki - until (ki - conj that); findoxo - finish reading to the end (doxo - read); finyam - finish eating (yam - eat); findinalar - weekend (dina - day, dinalar - week)
  • fron-: forwards [fronta - forehead, front]
    • fronkadam - progress (kadam - step)
  • gal-: wrong, mis- [gale - wrong]
    • galaham - misunderstand (aham - understand); galhesabu - miscount (hesabu - count)
  • haw-: aero- [hawa - air]
    • hawnavi - aircraft (navi - ship)
  • jun-: young, offspring [juni - young]
    • junbwaw - puppy (bwaw - dog); junmyaw - kitten (myaw - cat); junsinga - cub (singa - lion); junnini - infant, toddler (nini - kid, child)
  • lam-: ancient [lama - old, opp newe]
    • lamhistori - prehistory (histori - history)
  • law-: old [lawo - old, opp juni]
    • lawatre - ancestor, forefather, foremother (atre - parent); lawnini - teen, adolescent (nini - kid, child); lawdaypatre/lawdaypa - great grandfather/great grandpa (daypatre - grandfather; daypa - grandpa)
  • lil-: diminutive [lile - little/small]
    • lilhaha - giggle (haha - laugh); lilbaytu - hut, cottage (baytu - house); lilnahir - stream (nahir - river); lilroso - pink (roso - red)
  • mel-: beautiful [meli - beautiful]
    • meleskri - calligraphy (eskri - write)
  • new-: neo- [newe - new]
    • newklasiko - neoclassical (klasiko - classic, classical)
  • pos-: opposite [opos - opposite]
    • possahay - hinder (sahay - help); possuces - failure/fail (suces - success); posdongwi - disagree (dongi - agree); posgami - divorce (gami - spouse/marry)
  • pre-: here/there (as opposed to away) [presen - present]
    • preata - arrive (ata - come); preporta - bring, take (porta - carry)
  • ri-: re- (again)
    • rieskri - rewrite (eskri - write); riadres - forward (adres - 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 [xoru - begin, start]
    • xorfe - from (fe - at); xorki - since (ki - conj. that); xorsomno - fall asleep (somno - sleep); xoraham - realize, come to understand (aham - understand)

Function Words as Prefixes

  • 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)
  • daw-: through
    • dawdoxo - read through (doxo - read); dawjiwa - live through (jiwa - live, life); dawpasa - 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); intrediskuti - dialogue (diskuti - discuss/discussion)
  • le-: past
    • lefe - before (fe - at); leja - last, previous (ja - immediately adjacent); ledina - yesterday (dina - day)
  • lefe-: pre-, fore-
    • lefeoko - foresee (oko - see); lefeloga - foretell, predict (loga - say/tell)
  • moy-: every, all
    • moyabilpul - almightly, omnipotent (abil - ability); moydinali - daily, everyday (dina - day)
  • nen-: un-, in-, im-
    • nenmuhim - unimportant (muhim - important); nenkompleto - incomplete (kompleto - complete)
  • of-: forms fractions (off, out of)
    • un ofdua - half, one out of two (dua - two)
  • se-: self-
    • semorgi - suicide (morgi - kill); sebawey - self-defense (bawey - 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); trasatlanti - transatlantic (Atlanti - Atlantic); trasbasa - translate, interpret (basa - language, communicate through language)
  • ultra-: beyond
    • ultrajiwa - survive (jiwa - life); ultranaturali - supernatural (natura - nature); ultrapasa - surpass (pasa - pass)
  • wal-: without (not having)
    • walergo - unemployment (ergo - work); walbarix - drought (barix - rain); walsomno - insomnia (somno - sleep)
  • xa-: future
    • xafe - after (fe - at); xaja - next (ja - immediately adjacent); xadina - tomorrow (dina - day)
  • 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)

Adj/Adv Suffixes

  • -ble: -able/-ible [short for be-X-bil]
    • yamble - edible (yam - eat); doxoble - legible (doxo - read); (nen)okoble - (in)visible (oko - see)
  • -bil: (active) can/-ive; (passive) -able/-ible [abil - ability/can]
    • active: kreabil - creative (krea - create); nenokobil - blind (oko - see)
    • passive (preferably expressed with -ble, as seen above): beyambil - edible (yam - eat); bedoxobil - legible (doxo - read); (nen)beokobil - (in)visible (oko - see)
  • -do: in an inactive state of (turns nouns into inactive adjectives)
    • gujedo - broken (juge - break); klosido - closed (klosi - close); estodo - stopped (esto - stop)
  • -kal: empty, -less [kali - empty]
    • legakal - illegal, lawless (lega - law); sabarkal - impatient (sabar - patience); ergokal - unemployed (ergo - work); pesakal - poor (pesa - money); luminkal - dark (lumin - light)
  • -lay: worthy of [laye - value/worth]
    • xinloylay - trust-worthy (xinloy - trust); memorilay - memorable (memori - memory/remember); doxolay - worth reading (doxo - read)
  • -lor: shade [kolor - color]
    • asmanlor - sky blue (asman - sky)
  • -mar: ill, sick [bimar - sick]
    • sikomar - crazy (siko - mind)
  • -mey: inclined to, prone [meylu - inclination, tendency/tend to]
    • ergomey - diligent, industrious (ergo - work); hawfumey - fear-prone (hawfu - fear); wajibumey - responsible (wajibu - responsibility, obligation); dinimey - religious (dini - religion)
  • -mus: (active) must; (passive) must be, imperative [musi - must]
    • active: triunfamus - who must win (triunfa - win/triumph)
    • passive: beokomus - must-see (oko - see; beoko - be seen)
  • -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)
  • -pul: -ful [pule - full]
    • kimapul - costly, pricey, expensive (kima - price); jawgupul - careful (jawgu - take care); brilapul - shiny (brila - shine); pesapul - rich (pesa - money); hataripul - dangerous (hatari - danger); abilpul - able, capable (abil - can, able); legapul - legal, lawful (lega - law); sabarpul - patient (sabar - patience); bawlupul - violent (bawlu - violence)
  • -sim: -like [similer - similar]
    • dostesim - friendly (doste - friend); femsim - effeminate (fem - feminine); ninisim - childish (nini - child); realsim - realistic (real - real)
  • -wol: wanting [wole - want]
    • somnowol - sleepy (somno - sleep); yamwol - hungry (yam - eat/meal); suiwol - thirsty (sui - water)

Noun Suffixes

  • -bol - ball [bola - ball]
    • pedabol - soccer/football (peda - foot); basketobol - basketball (basketo - basket)
  • -ci: branch of medicine [medici - medici/medicate]
    • dentaci - dentistry (denta - tooth); sikoci - psychiatry (siko - mind); hewanci - veterinary medicine (hewan - animal); ninici - pediatrics (nini - child); pifuci - dermatology (pifu - skin)
  • -din: day [dina - 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, room [dome - place built for specific purpose]
    • kitabudom - library (kitabu - book); mehmandom - hostel (mehman - guest); dinidom - church, temple (dini - religion); banyodom - bathroom (banyo - bath); darsudom - classroom (darsu - lesson, class)
  • -fon: -phone, tool for speech sound [fono - speech sound]
    • telifon - telephone (teli - far); palafon - microphone (pala - speak/speech); orefon - earphones (ore - ear); radyofon - radio transmitter (radyo - radio)
  • -hol: sheath, holder [hole - sheath]
    • xumahol - candlestick (xuma - candle); pamtulhol - holster (pamtul - gun)
  • -grafi: recording [grafia - to record/recording]
    • jiwagrafi - biography (jiwa - life); radyagrafi - x-ray image (radya - radiation); teligrafi - telegram (teli - far)
  • -i: denotes endearment, affection
    • mamai - mommy (mama - mom); papai - daddy (papa - dad)
  • -ismo: -ism
    • kapitalismo - capitalism (kapital - capital); komunismo - communism (komun - communal); Budaismo - Buddhism (Buda - Buddha)
  • -ista: -ist (meaning limited to "adherent to -ism") [Compare with -yen]
    • kapitalista - capitalist (kapital - capital); komunista - communist (komun - communal); Budaista - Buddhist (Buda - Buddha)
  • -je: degree [daraje - degree, level]
    • dayoje - size (dayo - big/large); velosije - speed (velosi - fast); telije - distance (teli - far); lawoje - age (lawo - old); lamaje - age (lama - old); termoje - temperature (termo - heat); gaoje - height (gao - tall/high)
  • -kan: store [dukan - store]
    • kitabukan - bookstore (kitabu - book); yamkan - restaurant (yam - meal/eat); yamxeykan - grocery store (yamxey - food)
  • -kax: container [kaxa - case]
    • anjenkax - safebox (anjen - safe); pesakax - purse (pesa - money); bezekax - beehive (beze - bee)
  • -kef: boss/leader [kefa - boss]
    • navikef - captain (nave - ship); xaherkef - mayor (xaher - city)
  • -krasi: government [krasia - rule, govern]
    • demokrasi - democracy
  • -kum: cloth for specific purpose [kumax - piece of cloth]
    • banyokum - towel (banyo - bath); mesakum - tablecloth (mesa - table); nasakum - handkerchief (nasa - nose); muntekum - napkin (munte - mouth)
  • -lar: collective group [lari - collection]
    • drevolar - forest (drevo - tree); insanlar - humanity (insan - human being); darsular - course (darsu - lesson/class); mumular - herd of cattle (mumu - bull/cow, ox); lexilar - vocabulary (lexi - word); menalar - dictionary (mena - meaning, definition); navilar - fleet of ships (navi - ship); yumawlar - plumage (yumaw - feather); dinalar - week (dina - day)
  • -logi: specialty, study of [logia - specialty]
    • biologi - biology (bio - life/organisms); sikologi - psychology (siko - mind)
  • -men: document [dokumen - document]
    • pasamen - passport (pasa - pass); xencumen - birth certificate (xen - born, xencu - birth)
  • -mon: element or part of a whole [mono - item, unit of a whole]
    • talujimon - snowflake (taluji - snow); watumon - period (watu - time); atexmon - flame (atex - fire)
  • -mos: season [mosimu - season]
    • bardimos - winter (bardi - cold); bijamos - spring (bija - seed/sow); termomos - summer (garme - warm); xuhamos - autumn (xuha - reap/harvest)
  • -sa: language; animal sounds [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)
  • -sis: pathology [osis - pathology]
    • sikosis - psychosis (siko - mind)
  • -so: meat [maso - meat]
    • mumuso - beef (mumu - bull/cow); kukuso - chicken (kuku - hen/rooster); swiniso - pork (swini - pig, hog); maciso - fish (maci - fish)
  • -ter: measuring device [meter - measure]
    • termojeter - thermometer (termoje - temperature); satuter - clock, watch (satu - hour)
  • -tis: inflammation (-itis) or pathology (-osis) [itis - inflammation]
    • artrotis - arthritis (artro - joint); mogetis - encephalitis (moge - brain)
  • -tim: team, body [timu - team]
    • asosyatim - association (asosya - associate); komuntim - community (komun - communal); organistim - organization (organis - organize); jangetim - military (jange - war); krasiatim - government (krasi - rule/govern); ergotim - staff (ergo - work); oretim - audience (ore - ear/hear)
  • -tor: -ator, machine, device [motor - motor/engine]
    • komputator - computer (komputa - compute); liftitor - elevator, lift (lifti - lift); woxator - washing machine (woxa - wash); taypitor - typewriter (taypi - type)
  • -tul: tool [tule - tool]
    • eskritul - writing utensil (eskri - write); katatul - knife (kata - cut); yuxitul - toy (yuxi - play/game)
  • -xey: thing, substance [xeyu - thing]
    • yamxey - food (yam - meal, eat); kreaxey - (a) creation (krea - create); kostruixey - building (kostrui - build); medicixey - medication/medicine (medici - medicate/medicine, as a practice)
  • -xi: word [lexi - word]
    • namexi - noun (name - name); falexi - verb (fale - do); sifaxi - adjective (sifa - characteristic); manerxi - adverb (maner - manner)
  • -yen: being (any living being or personified object), -ist, -er, -an [yene - being]
    • noun/verb roots: estudiyen - student (estudi - study); danseyen - dancer (danse - dance); mediciyen - physician (medici - medicate/treat); arteyen - artist (arte - art); alimyen - teacher (alim - teach); polisiyen - police officer (polisi - police); yuriyen - lawyer/attoney (yuri - philosophy/science of law); poemayen - poet (poema - poem)
    • adjective roots: juniyen - young man/woman, gal/guy, teen to early 20s (juni - young)
    • nationalities: Italiyen - Italian (Itali - Italy); Mexikoyen - Mexican (Mexiko - Mexico)
    • physicians: dentaciyen - dentist (denta - tooth); sikociyen - psychiatrist (siko - mind); hewanciyen - veterinarian (hewan - animal); niniciyen - pediatrician (nini - child); pifuciyen - dermatologist (pifu - skin)

Compounds with Modifying Adjective/Adverbs and Numerals

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.

  • cuyo: main, chief, primary, arch-
    • cuyodolo - main street (dolo - street); cuyoyawxe - master key (yawxe - key)
  • kwasi: quasi-, step-
    • kwasisodar - step-brother/step-sister (sodar - sibling)
  • fem-: female
    • femgami - wife (gami - spouse); femnini - girl (nini - kid/child); femixu - woman (ixu - adult, man/woman); femwango - queen (wango - monarch, king/queen)
  • leli: ex-, former
    • leli gami - ex-spouse (gami - spouse); leli presidiyen - ex-president (presidi - preside)
  • man-: male
    • mangami - husband (gami - spouse); mannini - boy (nini - kid/child); manixu - man (ixu - adult, man/woman); manwango - king (wango - monarch, king/queen)
  • midi: mid-
    • midinuru - noon (nuru - daytime); midinoce - midnight (noce - night); mididayo - medium
  • semi: half-; semi-, -ish
    • semisodar - half-brother/half-sister (sodar - sibling); semikijawi - greenish (kijawi - green)
  • total: total, all-, pan-
    • totalglobali - world-wide

Numerals may also be used to create compounds

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

Proper Noun Compounds

Proper nouns may 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

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

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

Likewise, the nouns in proper nouns with -li may also be alternatively joined.

Sudeli Hangu or SudeHangu or Sude-Hangu

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

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

Quasi-Compounds with Modifying Nouns

Unlike proper nouns, common nouns may not be joined to form compounds. Instead, quasi-compounds are formed by adding the suffix -li to the modifying noun.

rukeli bao - backpack
xenculi dina - birthday
familli name - last name
kosmoli naviyen - astronaut
mobilli xuliyen - mechanic

Descriptive Noun Quasi-Compounds

Noun quasi-compounds such as the above may be expressed descriptively in prepositional phrases using fe.

The preposition fe can be seen as the equivalent of -li. Since -li is used for turning nouns into adjectives, fe may be likewise be used with quasi-compounds.

hadya fe xenculi dina - birthday gift (literally "gift of birthday")

A noun phrase such as the above may in turn be modified using fe as follows:

maydoyen fe hadya fe xenculi dina - birthday gift seller (literally "seller of gifts of birthday")

Verb-Object Adjective Phrases

Verb-Object Adjective Phrases are complex adjective phrases that are also formed using fe as follows:

ameba yamne fe moge - brain-eating amoeba idey provokane fe fikir - thought-provoking idea