Word Formation

Grammatical Affixes

  • -li: turns nouns into adjective/adverbs (of, relating to)
     

  • -mo: turns adjectives into adjective/adverb-modifying adverbs
     

  • -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​​​

  • 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, 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); burleksi - swearword (leksi - 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]

    • 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 (singa - 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 - 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); posdongi - 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 (aksyon - act); rupel - pull (pel - drive)
       

  • termo-: heat

    • termoter - thermometer (-ter - measuring device); termokrasitul - thermostat (krasi - rule, control; -tul - device)

  • 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)

  • 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 (short for leja dina) - yesterday (dina - day)

  • lefe-: pre-, fore-

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

  • of-: forms 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)

  • 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)
       

  • xa-: future

    • xafe - after (fe - at); xaja - next (ja - immediately adjacent)​​; xadina (short for xaja dina) - 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 - bornxengi - give birth)

Adj/Adv Words as Prefixes and Quasi-Prefixes

Many adj/adv words may be used as prefixes. The following list includes the most commonly used adj/adv prefixes.

 

One-syllable adj/adv words (fem, man, no) are typically used as prefixes and thus attached to the root word. In the case of two-syllable adj/adv words, they are typically expressed as separate words and considered quasi-prefixes when associated with nouns, but attached to adj/adv words as prefixes (See midi and semi below).  

  • 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-

    • separate word with noun/verbs: midi nuru - noon (nuru - daytime); midi noce - midnight (noce - night) ​

    • attached to adjective/adverbs: mididayo - medium
       

  • 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: half-; semi-, -ish 

    • separate word with noun/verbs: semi sodar - half-brother/half-sister (sodar - sibling) ​

    • attached to adjective/adverbs: semikijawi - greenish (kijawi - green)

​​

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)

  • -do: in an inactive state of (turns nouns into inactive adjectives)

    • jugedo - 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/job); 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); 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)
       

  • -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); 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); 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)
       

  • -graf: recording [grafi - to record/recording]

    • jiwagraf - biography (jiwa - life); radyagraf - x-ray image (radya - radiation)​; teligraf - 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] (Alternatively, -ya may be used.)

    • 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); 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/organisms); sikologi - psychology (siko - mind)

  • -men: document [dokumen - document]

    • pasamen - passport (pasa - pass); ​xen(cu)men - 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 - spark (atex - fire)​

 

  • -mos: season [mosimu - season]

    • bardimos - winter (bardi - cold); bijamos - spring (bija - seed/sow); garmemos - summer (garme - warm); xuhwamos - autumn (xuhwa - 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)

  • -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]

    • termoter - thermometer (termo- - heat)

  • -tis: inflammation (-itis) or pathology (-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 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)

    • 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 adding the suffix -li to the modifying noun or adjective. 

rukeli bao - backpack

xenli dina - birthday

familli name - last name

kosmoli naviyen - astronaut

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