Word Formation

Grammatical Affixes

  • -li: turns nouns into adj/adv words (of, relating to)
     

  • -ya: adjectives into abstract nouns and other uses 
     

  • -gi: transitivity marker
     

  • -cu: intransitivity marker 
     

  • -ne: turns verbs into active adjectives

  • -do: turns verbs into passive adjectives

  • -su: possessive adjectives
     

  • be-: passive voice
     

  • du-: gerund, habitual/continuous aspect

Prefixes​​​

  • aw-: away [awsen - absent]

    • awidi - leave, go away (idi - go)​​; awglu - drink up (glu - drink); awpel - drive away (pel - drive, impulse/impetus)
       

  • bon-: good, eu- [bono - good]

    • bonata - welcome (ata - come)​; bonxanse - good luck (xanse - chance, luck); bonsoba - good morning (soba - morning); bonleksi - euphemism (leksi - word); bonmorcu - euthanasia (morcu - death); bonoko - observe/look/watch (oko - eye/see); bonore - listen (ore - ear/hear)

  • bur-: objectively or morally bad [buru - bad]

    • burnini - brat (nini - kid); bursolo - lonely (solo - alone); burleksi - swearword (leksi - word)
       

  • col-: ugly [colo - ugly]

    • coleskri - scribble (eskri - write)

  • day-: augmentative [dayo - big/large]

    • daybono - excellent, great (bono - good); daydayo - huge (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]

    • fronpel - push​ (pel - drive)
       

  • gal-: wrong, mis- [gale - wrong]

    • galaham - misunderstand (aham - understand)​​; galhesabu - miscount (hesabu - count)

  • haw-: aero- [hawa - air]

    • hawnavi - airplane​ (nave - ship)

  • jun-: young, offspring [juni - young]

    • junbwaw - puppy (bwaw - dog); junmyaw - kitten (myaw - cat)​; junsinga - cub (sinha - lion); junnini - infant, toddler (nini - kid, child)
       

  • lam-: ancient [lama - old, opp newe]

    • lamhistori - prehistory (histori - history)

  • law-: old [lawo - old, opp juni]

    • la​watre - forefathers and foremothers (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]

    • possayda - hinder (sayda - help); possuces - failure/fail (suces - success); posdongi - disagree (dongi - agree); posgami - divorce (gami - spouse/marry); posnaturali - artificial (naturali - natural)

  • pre-: here (as opposed to away) [presen - present/here]

    • preata - arrive​ (ata - come); preporta - bring (porta - carry/take)
       

  • re-: re- (again)

    • reeskri - rewrite​ (eskri - write)​; readres - forward (adres - address); redoxo - reread (doxo - read)

  • ru-: retro-, re- (back) [ruke - back/rear]

    • ruata - come back (ati - come); ruidi - go back (idi - go); rugibe - give back (gibe - give); ruaksyon - react (aci - act); rupel - pull (pel - drive)
       

  • xor-: begin, start [xoru - begin/start]

    • xorfe - from (fe - at); xorki - since (ki - conj that); xorsomno - fall asleep (somno - sleep); xoraham - realize (aham - understand); xorlebas - put on (lebas - wear/clothing)

  • yur-: in-law [yuri - philosophy/science of law]

    • yursodar - brother-in-law, sister-in-law (sodar - sibling); yuratre - in-laws (atre - parent)​

Function Words as Prefixes

  • anti-: against, counter, anti-

    • antidokya - antidote (dokya - poison); antijento - fight against (jento - fight); antiaksyon - counteract (aksyon - act)

  • 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-

    • infragarmeya - hypothermia (garmeya - heat); infraroso - infrared (roso - red); infraidi - descend (idi - go) ​
       

  • intre-: between, inter-

    • intrenasyonli - international (nasyon - nation/country); intreloga - conversation (loga - speak); intreaksyon - interact/interaction (aksyon - act/action); intrediskuti - dialogue (diskuti - discuss, discussion)

  • le-: past

    • lefe - before (fe - at); leja - last, previous (ja - immediately adjacent)ledina (leja dina) - yesterday (dina - day)

  • lefe-: pre-, fore-

    • lefeoko - foresee (oko - see); lefeloga - predict (loga - say/tell, speak)​
       

  • of-: fractions (off, out of)

    • (un) ofdua - half, one out of two (dua - two)​

  • supra-: above, super-, hyper-

    • suprarealsim - hyperrealistic (real - real; realsim - realistic); supraidi - ascend (idi - go)
       

  • ton-: together, co-

    • tonaksyon - cooperate (aksyon - act); tonergo - collaborate (ergo - work); tonis - company/accompany (is - be)

  • tras-: across, trans-

    • trasporta - transport, transportation (porta - carry); trasatlanti - transatlantic (atlanti - Atlantic); trasbasa - translate, interpret (basa - language)

  • ultra-: beyond

    • ultrajiwa - survive (jiwa - life)​; ultranaturali - supernatural (natura - nature)​​; ultrapasa - surpass (pasa - pass)
       

  • xa-: future

    • xafe - after (fe - at); xaja - next (ja - immediately adjacent)​​; xadina (xaja dina) - tomorrow (dina - day)

  • xafe-: post-

    • xafeplasi - postpone (plas - 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 - bornxengi - give birth)

Adj/Adv Words as Prefixes and Quasi-Prefixes

Any adj/adv word may be used as a prefix. The following list includes the most commonly used adj/adv prefixes.

 

One-syllable adj/adv words (fem, man, no) are typically (but not strictly) used as prefixes and thus attached to the root word. On the other hand, two-syllable adj/adv words are typically (but not strictly) expressed as separate words and considered quasi-prefixes. 

  • cuyo: main, chief, primary, arch-

    • cuyo angel - archangel (angel - angel); cuyo dolo - main street (dolo - street); cuyo yawxe - master key (yawxe - key)

  • kwasi: quasi-, step-

    • kwasi sodar ​- 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-

    • midi nuru - noon (nuru - daytime); midi noce - midnight (noce - night) ​
       

  • no-: un-, in-, im-

    • nomuhim - unimportant (muhim -important); nokompleto - incomplete (kompleto - complete)
       

  • seli (or se-) self

    • seli bawey - self-defense (bawey - defense); semorgi - suicide (morgi - kill)​
       

  • semi: semi-, -ish (with adj/adv roots), half-

    • semi kijawi - greenish (kijaw - green); semi sodar - half-brother/half-sister (sodar - sibling) ​

​​

Adj/Adv Suffixes

  • -bel: -able/-ible [short for be-X-bil: be- - passive particle; -bil - can/-ive]

    • yambel - edible (yam - eat); doxobel - legible (doxo - read); (no)okobel - (in)visible (oko - see)
       

  • -bil: (active) can/-ive; (passive) -able/-ible [abil - ability/can]

    • active: kreabil - creative (krea - create)​; nookobil - blind (oko - see

    • passive: beyambil - edible (yam - eat)​; bedoxobil - legible (doxo - read); (no)beokobil - (in)visible (oko - see)

  • -ple: multiple

    • duaple - double (dua - two); tigaple - triple (tiga - three)​; careple - quadruple (care - four) ​

  • -kal: empty, -less [kali - empty]

    • legakal - illegal, lawless (lega - law); sabarkal - impatient (sabar - patience); ergokal - unemployed (ergo - work/job); pesakal - poor (pesa - money); luminkal - dark (lumin - light)

  • -lay: worthy of [laye - value/worth]

    • xinloylay - trust-worthy (xinloy - trust); memorilay - memorable (memor - 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); fobimey - fear-prone (fobi - 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)
       

  • -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 (hatar - danger); abilpul - able, capable (abil - can, able)​; legapul - legal, lawful (lega - law); sabarpul - patient (sabar - patience); bawlupul - violent (bawlu - violence

  • -sim: -like [similar - 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); basketebol - basketball (baskete - 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)
       

  • -dom: place, room [dome - place built for specific purpose]

    • kitabudom - library (kitabu - book); mehmandom - hostel (mehman - guest); dinidom - church, temple (dini - religion); bimaryendom - hospital (bimar - sick; -yen - being); banyodom - bathroom (banyo - bath); darsudom - classroom (darsu - lesson, class)
       

  • -fon: -phone, tool for speech sound [fono - speech sound]

    • telifon - telephone (teli - far); logafon - microphone (loga - speak/speech); orefon - earphones (ore - ear)​; radyofon - radio transmitter (radyo - radio)
       

  • -hol: sheath, holder [hole - sheath]

    • xumahol - candlestick (xuma - candle); pamtulhol - holster (pamtul - gun)
       

  • -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] (Alternatively, -ya may be used. With time, -je may become archaic.)

    • dayoje or dayoya - size (dayo - big/large); velosije or velosiya- speed (velosi - fast); telije or teliya - distance (teli - far); lawoje or lawoya - age (lawo - old); lamaje or lamaya - age (lama - old); garmeje or garmeya - temperature (garme - hot/warm); gaoje or gaoya - 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 - hive (beze - bee)
       

  • -kef: boss/leader [kefa - boss]

    • navikef - captain (nave - ship); nasyonkef - head of state (nasyon - nation); xaherkef - mayor (xaher - city)​

 

  • -kras: government [krasi - rule, govern]

    • demokras - 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); leksilar - vocabulary (leksi - word); menalar - dictionary (mena - meaning, definition); navilar - fleet of ships (navi - ship); yumawlar - plumage (yumaw - feather); dinalar - week (dina - day)

  • -logi: specialty, study of [ologi - specialty]

    • biologi - biology (bio - life/DNA-based organisms); sikologi - psychology (siko - mind)

  • -men: document [dokumen - document]

    • pasamen - passport (pasa - pass); ​xen(ya)men - birth certificate (xen - born, xenya - birth)

  • -mon: element or part of a whole [mono - item, unit of a whole]

    • talujimon - snowflake (taluji - snow); watumon - period (watu - time); atexmon - spark (atex - fire)​

 

  • -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)

  • -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]

    • garme(je)ter or garme(ya)ter - thermometer (garme - warm/hot, garmeje/garmeya - temperature)

  • -tis: inflammation (-itis) or pathological state (-osis) [itis - inflammation]

    • artrotis - arthritis (artro - joint); sikotis - psychosis (siko - mind)
       

  • -tim: team, body [time - team]

    • asosyatim - association (asosya - associate); komuntim - community (komun - communal); organistim - organization (organis - organize); jangetim - military (jange - war); krasitim - 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)

  • -yen: being (any living form 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)

    • physiciansdentaciyen - dentist (denta - tooth); sikociyen - psychiatrist (siko - mind); hewanciyen - veterinarian (hewan - animal); niniciyen - pediatrician (nini - child); pifuciyen - dermatologist (pifu - skin)


Compounds

Compounds may not be formed by simply joining two nouns, the way English often does. Instead, they are formed by turning the first noun into an adjective using the suffix -li.

rukeli bao - backpack

xen(ya)li dina - birthday

familli name - last name

kosmoli naviyen - astronaut

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