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Word formation

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In LFN, new words can be formed by adding prefixes or suffixes to existing words, or by combining two existing words as a compound noun.

It's also possible to reuse adjectives as nouns, and verbs as nouns, without adding an affix.

PrefixesEdit

Auto- means "self-" or "auto-". It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate reflexive or automatic actions:

  • respeta – respect  >  autorespeta – self-respect
  • flue – flow  >  autoflue – to wordwrap
  • adere – adhere  >  autoaderente – self-adhesive

Des- means "un-" or "dis-" in the sense of undoing an action. It forms verbs. It simplifies to de- before S, Z, X, or J:

  • botoni – to button  >  desbotoni – to unbutton
  • infeta – to infect  >  desinfeta – to disinfect
  • jela – to freeze  >  dejela – to thaw
  • sifri – to encode  >  desifri – to decode

Inter- means "inter-". It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate mutual actions or states:

  • cambia – to change  >  intercambia – to exchange
  • nasional – national  >  internasional – international

Media- means "mid-". It forms nouns that indicate the midpoint of something:

  • note – night  >  medianote – midnight
  • estate – summer  >  mediaestate – midsummer
  • punto – point  >  mediapunto – midpoint

Non- means "un-", "non-". It forms adjectives and nouns indicating opposites. It simplifies to no- before N:

  • justa – just  >  nonjusta – unjust
  • ativa – active  >  nonativa – inactive
  • nativa – native  >  nonativa – non-native
  • nesesada – necessary  >  nonesesada – unnecessary
  • crede – belief  >  noncrede – disbelief

Pos- means "post-". It forms nouns, verbs, and ajectives that refer to a time (or place) that lies after or behind (pos) another:

  • graduada – graduate  >  posgraduada – postgraduate
  • media – middle  >  posmedia – afternoon
  • alveolo – alveolus  >  posalveolal – postalveolar

Pre- means "pre-". It forms nouns, verbs, and ajectives that refer to a time (or place) that lies before or in front of (ante) another:

  • graduada – graduate  >  pregraduada – undergraduate
  • istoria – history  >  preistoria – prehistory
  • judi – judge  >  prejudi – prejudge

Re- means "re-". It forms verbs indicating a repeated action, or an action in the reverse direction:

  • comensa – to begin / to start  >  recomensa – to begin again / to restart
  • pleni – to fill  >  repleni – to refill / to replenish
  • paia – to pay  >  repaia – to pay back / to repay
  • veni – to come  >  reveni – to come back / to return

Su- means "sub-" or "under-". It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate a lower point in a hierarchy:

  • teninte – lieutenant  >  suteninte – sublieutenant
  • divide – to divide  >  sudivide – to subdivide
  • consensa – conscious  >  suconsensa – subconscious
  • indise – index figure  >  suindise – subscript
  • campion – champion  >  sucampion – runner-up

Supra- means "super-" or "over-". It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate a higher point in a hierarchy:

  • computador – computer  >  supracomputador – supercomputer
  • pasa – to pass  >  suprapasa – to surpass
  • dramosa – dramatic  >  supradramosa – overdramatic / sensational
  • fem – woman  >  suprafem – superwoman
  • natural – natural  >  supranatural – supernatural

Vis- means "vice-". It forms nouns indicating deputies:

  • presidente – president  >  vispresidente – vice-president
  • re – king  >  visre – viceroy

Bon- and mal- form good and bad (or mistaken) versions of adjectives and verbs, sometimes metaphorically. Mal- is often equivalent to "mis-" in English:

  • parla – speak  >  bonparlante – eloquent
  • vende – sell  >  bonvendeda – bestselling
  • dise – say  >  bondise – bless
  • veni – come  >  bonveni – welcome
  • acusa – accuse  >  malacusa – libel / slander
  • comprende – understand  >  malcomprende – misunderstand
  • nomida – named  >  malnomida – misnamed
  • odorosa – smelly  >  malodorosa – foul-smelling

Numbers and fractions are used as prefixes on certain words. With family members, numbers denote increasingly distant generations, like sequences of "great-" in English:

  • avo – grandfather  >  duavo – great-grandfather
  • neta – granddaughter  >  treneta – great-great-granddaughter
  • pede – foot  >  cuatropedal – quadruped(al)
  • sore – sister  >  duisore – half-sister
  • galon – gallon  >  cuatrigalon – quart

SuffixesEdit

Many suffixes start with a vowel. When such a suffix is added to a word that already ends in a vowel, the existing vowel is dropped, unless it was the only vowel in the original word:

  • fruta – fruit  >  frutosa – fruity
  • jua – game  >  jueta – toy
  • bu – owl  >  buin – owl-like

Where a suffix would create an invalid vowel sequence, the second vowel of the sequence is dropped:

  • comedia + -iste  >  (comediiste)  >  comediste – comedian

There are two exceptions to these rules:

  • tre + -i > tri
  • tre + -uple > truple

Suffix forming verbsEdit

Just like other verbs, the verbs produced by this suffix can be used both transitively and intransitively, or as nouns.

-i is added to nouns and adjectives to form verbs meaning "to become ...", "to change into ...". As a special case, this also includes verbs meaning "to emit a substance or a new part":

  • arco – arch  >  arci – to arch
  • roja – roja  >  roji – to redden
  • umida – damp  >  umidi – to humidify
  • duple – double  >  dupli – to double
  • saliva – saliva  >  salivi – to salivate
  • flor – flower  >  flori – to blossom

-i also makes verbs meaning "to use ..." (typically as a tool or device), or "to apply ..." (a substance or a convention):

  • boton – button  >  botoni – to button
  • telefon – telephone  >  telefoni – to telephone
  • sponja – sponge  >  sponji – to sponge
  • pinta – paint  >  pinti – to paint
  • nom – name  >  nomi – to name

Suffixes forming adjectivesEdit

Just like other adjectives, the adjectives produced by these suffixes can be reused as nouns denoting people or things that have the specified quality.

-in is added to a noun to create an adjective meaning "similar to ...", "-like", "-ish":

  • ami – friend  >  amin – friendly
  • enfante – child  >  enfantin – childlike / childish
  • fantasma – ghost  >  fantasmin – ghostly
  • mente – mint  >  mentin – minty
  • monstro – monster  >  monstrin – monstrous
  • serpente – snake  >  serpentin – snakelike / serpentine

-osa is added to a noun to make an adjective meaning "full of ..." or "made of ...":

  • zucar – sugar  >  zucarosa – sugary
  • oro – gold  >  orosa – made of gold
  • capel – capelos  >  capelosa – hairy
  • festa – holiday  >  festosa – festive
  • melma – slime  >  melmosa – slimy
  • jua – game  >  juosa – playful
  • caos – chaos  >  caososa – chaotic

-al is added to a noun to form a general adjective meaning "pertaining to ..." or "to do with ...":

  • fotografia – photography  >  fotografial – photographic
  • nasion – nation  >  nasional – national
  • siensa – science  >  siensal – scientific
  • averbo – adverb  >  averbal – adverbial
  • erita – inheritance  >  erital – hereditary
  • mito – myth  >  mital – mythical
  • monce – monk  >  moncal – monastic

-iste is added to a noun denoting a belief, such as a religion or a philosophy, to make a general adjective. If the noun ends in -isme, then -iste takes its place. In some words where the root is a proper noun, the noun's final vowel is retained if this produces a more international word:

  • bigamia – bigamy  >  bigamiste – bigamous
  • otimisme – optimism  >  otimiste – optimist
  • puria – cleanliness  >  puriste – puristic
  • Mitra – Mithras  >  mitraiste – Mithraist

-an is added to a few nouns denoting extents of space or time (places and eras) to form general adjectives:

  • suburbe – suburb  >  suburban – suburban
  • Victoria – Victoria  >  victorian – Victorian

-an is also one of the five standard suffixes for forming adjectives that denote languages and peoples. The other four are -es, -ica, -i, and -sce. For these adjectives, LFN uses words that sound as similar to the native names as possible: as a result, some names use a special suffix of their own, or no suffix at all, and the root is sometimes modified too:

  • Africa – Africa  >  african – African
  • Frans – France  >  franses – French
  • Elas – Greece  >  elinica – Greek
  • Arabia – Arabia  >  arabi – Arabian
  • Rusia – Russia  >  rusce – Russian
  • Europa – Europe  >  european – European
  • Deutxland – Germany  >  deutx – German
  • Britan – Britain  >  brites – British

-ica is added to a noun denoting a medical, psychological, or similar problem, to form an adjective that describes a person who has the problem:

  • catalesia – catalepsy  >  catalesica – cataleptic
  • xenofobia – xenophobia  >  xenofobica – xenophobic

-nte is added to a verb to create the active participle, an adjective that means "-ing", i.e. "such that it does (the specified action)". The active participle of es is esente:

  • ama – to love  >  amante – loving
  • depende – to depend  >  dependente – dependent
  • dormi – to sleep  >  dorminte – asleep
  • obedi – to obey  >  obedinte – obedient
  • pare – to appear / to seem  >  parente – apparent
  • es – to be  >  esente – being

Nouns ending in -nte are not used as names of actions:

  • La covrente es sur la caxa. – The lid/covering is on the box.
  • Covre la caxa es un bon idea. – Covering the box is a good idea.

-da is added to a verb to form the passive participle, an adjective that means "-ed", i.e. "such that it has or has had ... done to it":

  • ama – to love  >  amada – beloved
  • clui – to close  >  cluida – closed
  • conose – to know  >  conoseda – known
  • jela – to freeze  >  jelada – frozen
  • nesesa – to need  >  nesesada – needed / necessary
  • putri – to rot  >  putrida – rotten

One does not use -da to indicate the past tense of verbs:

  • La caxa es covreda par la tela. - at this time, the cloth covers the box.
  • La tela ia covre la caxa. - in the past, the cloth covered the box.

-able is added to a verb to make an adjective that means "-able", "capable of having ... done to it", or "worthy of having ... done to it":

  • ama – to love  >  amable – lovable
  • come – to eat  >  comable – edible
  • infla – to inflate  >  inflable – inflatable
  • loda – to praise  >  lodable – praiseworthy
  • nota – to note  >  notable – notable
  • titila – to tickle  >  titilable – ticklish

Suffixes forming nounsEdit

-or means "-er". When added to a verb, it makes a noun meaning a person who performs the specified action, often typically or habitually. When added to a noun, it makes a noun meaning a person who works with the specified thing, or plays the specified sport:

  • aida – to help  >  aidor – helper
  • deteta – to detect  >  detetor – detective
  • dirije – to direct  >  dirijor – director
  • fumi – to smoke  >  fumor – smoker
  • gania – to win  >  ganior – winner
  • jogla – to juggle  >  joglor – juggler
  • parla – to speak  >  parlor – speaker (person)
  • pexa – to fish  >  pexor – fisherman
  • carne – meat  >  carnor – butcher
  • vaso – pot  >  vasor – potter
  • futbal – football  >  futbalor – footballer
  • tenis – tennis  >  tenisor – tennis player

-ador also means "-er", but creates nouns meaning a tool or machine that performs the specified action, or works on the specified thing:

  • caldi – heat  >  caldador – heater
  • computa – compute  >  computador – computer
  • fax – fax  >  faxador – fax machine
  • lava – wash  >  lavador – washing machine / dishwasher
  • parla – speak  >  parlador – loudspeaker
  • surfa – surf / browse  >  surfador – (web) browser
  • umidi – dampen  >  umidador – humidifier

-eria is added to a noun or verb to make a noun meaning a place, often a shop, associated with the specified action or thing:

  • cafe – coffee  >  caferia – cafe
  • pan – bread  >  paneria – bakery, baker's shop
  • beli – beautify  >  beleria – beauty salon
  • campana – bell  >  campaneria – bell tower
  • fruto – fruit  >  fruteria – orchard
  • monce – monk  >  monceria – monastery
  • planeta – planet  >  planeteria – planetarium
  • xef – chief / leader  >  xeferia – headquarters

-ia is equivalent to "-ness" or "-ity" or "-ship" or "-hood" in English. It forms abstract nouns that serve as the names of qualities. When -ia is added to a word that ends in -ia, the word doesn't change:

  • ajil – agile  >  ajilia – agility
  • felis – happy  >  felisia – happiness
  • jelosa – jealous  >  jelosia – jealousy
  • neutra – neutral  >  neutria – neutrality
  • madre – mother  >  madria – motherhood
  • enfante – child  >  enfantia – childhood
  • sultan – sultan  >  sultania – sultanate
  • fria – cold  >  fria – coldness
  • vea – old / old person  >  veia – old age

Words like enfantia and sultania can denote a or time or place in which the quality exists.

The names of many fields of study also end in ia (or ica) but this is part of the root, and not a suffix. The names of the corresponding practitioners are formed with -iste. -iste is also used to form the names of believers in a religion or philosophy (as derived from the adjectival suffix -iste), the names of musicians, and the names of certain other people that end in "-ist-" internationally:

  • jeografia – geography  >  jeografiste – geographer
  • psicolojia – psychology  >  psicolojiste – psychologist
  • cimica – chemistry  >  cimiciste – chemist
  • eletrica – electricity  >  eletriciste – electrician
  • musica – music  >  musiciste – musician
  • Crixna – Krishna  >  crixnaiste – Krishnaist
  • ideal – ideal  >  idealiste – idealist(ic)
  • gitar – guitar  >  gitariste – guitarist
  • solo – solo  >  soliste – soloist
  • jornal – journal  >  jornaliste – journalist
  • sicle – cycle  >  sicliste – cyclist

-isme forms the names of belief systems, replacing -iste in the name of the believer. It also occurs in certain other words that end in "-ism-" internationally:

  • dauiste – Taoist  >  dauisme – Taoism
  • altruiste – altruist(ic)  >  altruisme – altruism
  • raziste – racist  >  razisme – racism
  • sindicatiste – syndicalist  >  sindicatisme – syndicalism
  • turiste – tourist  >  turisme – tourism
  • simbol – symbol  >  simbolisme – symbolism
  • canibal – cannibal  >  canibalisme – cannibalism

Less productive suffixesEdit

The following suffixes are only applied to specific words, as defined in the dictionary.

-eta is added to certain nouns to create a name for a version of something that has been reduced in a particular way. This includes the names of young animals and inner garments. -eta can similarly be added to a few verbs to create words for reduced versions of actions:

  • bebe – baby  >  bebeta – newborn baby
  • caro – cart  >  careta – wheelbarrow
  • imaje – image  >  imajeta – thumbnail
  • lente – lens  >  lenteta – contact lens
  • manga – sleeve  >  mangeta – hosepipe
  • mone – money  >  moneta – coin
  • orolojo – clock  >  orolojeta – watch
  • bove – cow / ox  >  boveta – calf
  • ovea – sheep  >  oveta – lamb
  • calsa – stocking  >  calseta – sock
  • camisa – shirt  >  camiseta – undershirt / T-shirt
  • jaca – jacket  >  jaceta – vest (US) / waistcoat (Br)
  • pluve – to rain  >  pluveta – to drizzle
  • rie – to laugh  >  rieta – to giggle
  • parla – to speak  >  parleta – to chat

-on is added to certain nouns to create a name for a version of something that has been augmented in a particular way. This includes the names of outer garments:

  • abea – bee  >  abeon – bumblebee
  • caxa – box  >  caxon – crate
  • dente – tooth  >  denton – fang / tusk
  • dito – finger  >  diton – thumb
  • padre – father  >  padron – patriarch / boss
  • sala – room  >  salon – living room
  • seja – chair  >  sejon – armchair
  • calsa – stocking  >  calson – tights / pantyhose
  • jaca – jacket  >  jacon – overcoat

-eta and -on are not synonyms for peti and grande: it's quite possible to have un careta grande or un salon peti. Instead, they form words with specific new meanings that can be loosely described as being smaller or larger versions of the original.

-o and -a are added to a few nouns that denote members of the family, to switch the meaning between male and female respectively:

  • tio, tia – uncle, aunt

The names of some trees are formed by changing the final -a of the name of the fruit or nut to -o:

  • pera – pear  >  pero – pear tree

-esa is added to a few nouns denoting historical male social roles to form the female equivalent:

  • prinse – prince  >  prinsesa – princess

Technical affixesEdit

International scientific and medical terms are formed from Latin and Greek sources by means of a large number of technical prefixes and suffixes. These affixes are used in LFN too, and follow LFN's rules of transcription.

The suffixes -i and -uple are used to name fractions and multiples.

Compound nouns Edit

A compound noun can be formed by combining a verb with its object, in that order. The result means a person or thing that performs the specified action on the specified object:

  • corti, ungia – shorten, nail  >  cortiungia – nail clipper
  • covre, table – cover, table  >  covretable – tablecloth
  • fura, bolsa – steal, handbag  >  furabolsa – pickpocket
  • lansa, petra – throw, stone  >  lansapetra – catapult
  • para, morde – stop, bite  >  paramorde – muzzle
  • para, pluve – stop, rain  >  parapluve – umbrella
  • pasa, tempo – pass, time  >  pasatempo – pastime
  • porta, mone – carry, money  >  portamone – wallet
  • porta, vose – carry, voice  >  portavose – spokesperson
  • brinca, dorso – hop, back  >  brincadorso – leapfrog (the game, named after its players)

LFN does not allow two consecutive nouns to form a compound. Instead, a preposition has to be placed between the two nouns. For example:

  • avia de mar – seabird
  • casa per avias – birdhouse
  • xef de polisia – chief of police

In rare cases, such an expression has a special non-literal meaning and is treated as if it was a single fixed word. For example, a leon-de-mar (sea lion) is not a lion. In such cases, the words are joined with hyphens, and any adjectives follow the second noun. Hyphens can also be used for more literal compounds when this improves clarity:

  • un leon-de-mar grande – a large sea lion
  • un leon grande de mar – a large lion from the sea
  • un avion grande de mar – a large seaplane (because a seaplane is a type of airplane)
  • un avion-de-mar grande – a large seaplane (alternative)
  • un avion de mar grande – a large seaplane (ambiguous, because it seems to be saying that the sea is large)

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