In this lesson we will learn about how you can derive new words in Esperanto.
We have seen that in Esperanto nouns end in -o, verb infinitives in -i, adjectives in -a, and adverbs in -e.
Esperanto has been designed to be a language comprised of root words that can be used in conjunction to create countless words. Individual roots remain unchanged. One way to derive new words is by simply changing the ending of the word. For example, laca ('tired') can become laci ('to be tired'); hundo ('dog') can become hunda ('dog-like').
Despite this, one of the forms is the basic or fundamental form, with the others derived from it. For example, laca is the basic word, not laci, and hundo is the basic form, not hunda. There are three types: objects and abstractions (with the basic form in -o), actions (with the basic form in -i), and characteristics (with the basic form in -a). Often, it is clear to which type a root belongs, but this is not always the case (for example, kombi means 'to comb' and kombo means 'combing', not 'a comb'. Below are several examples, with the base form in bold.
Some of the below have rather complicated meanings that are more easily and clearly expressed in other ways, and will therefore be very uncommon. They are nevertheless grammatically correct. The idea of the table below is to introduce the principle of creating new words by changing the ending.
|laco||tiredness||laci||to be tired||laca||tired||lace||tiredly|
|hundo||dog||hundi||to act like a dog||hunda||of a dog||hunde||like a dog|
|ŝtono||stone||ŝtoni||to be like (a) stone||ŝtona||of a stone||ŝtone||like a stone|
|kombo||(the) combing||kombi||to comb||komba||combing (adj.), referring to the (single) act of combing||kombe||combingly|
|laŭto||loudness||laŭti||to be loud||laŭta||loud||laŭte||loudly|
|havo||possession, the 'act' of having||havi||to have||hava||characterized by having (adj.)||have||characterized by having (adv.)|
|ideo||idea||idei||to exist as an idea||idea||existing as an idea||idee||as an idea|
esti + adjective?
Words such as laci mean more or less the same thing as "esti + adjective" (i.e. laci = esti laca). There exists a difference: If identifying a more-or-less unchanging characteristic, then "esti + adjective" is used; if the characteristic is of a more temporary nature "stem + -i" is used. We will go into this distinction in a later lesson.
Aside from deriving one part of speech from another, new words can be formed by putting two or more words together. The first word usually drops its part-of-speech ending, unless the resulting word would be difficult to pronounce: dormi + ĉambro → dormĉambro (bed room, lit. sleeping room); birdo + kanto → bird(o)kanto (bird song). The effect of the order of the compounded words is the same as in English, compare kantobirdo (songbird). This way, one can quickly multiply the number of concepts one can refer to. Conjugation such as pluralization (-j) or objectification (-n) is unchanged and is appended to the final -o or -a (e.g. dormĉambroj, kantobirdoj).
We have already seen the word al to refer to a destination, for example in "Mi iros al la parko.", where it is translated as "to". Like English "to", al is also used indicate the indirect object of a verb.
|Examples of indirect objects in English|
|indirect objects in bold, direct objects in italics|
|He gave me a book|
He told a story to me.
He told me a story.
They gave me a new idea.
It seems a good thing to me.
Note that in English "to" is sometimes left out. In Esperanto it must always be used.
|Mi donis al ŝi libron.||I gave her a book / I gave a book to her.|
|Ŝajnis al mi, ke li ne povas iri al la parko.||It seemed to me that he cannot go to the park.|
Here are more words to play with and memorize.
|aŭtuno||autumn / fall|
|Bonan tagon.||Good day.|
|Bonan matenon.||Good morning.|
|Bonan vesperon.||Good evening.|
|Bonan nokton.||Good night.|
|Ĝis (la) revido.||See you later.|
|Dankon.||Thanks.; Thank you.|
|Koran dankon!||Many thanks!; Thank you very much!|
|You can help expand this section.|
Let's play some more with the affixes from the previous lessons:
- Go through the words in this lesson and tack on mal-, -ulo, and -ino. What do they mean? (answers)