Word-building Formula

Fancy a neat little formula for building certain types of word in Esperanto?

If you aren’t familiar with viewing Esperanto root words as having an inherent class (“object”,”quality”,”action”), then quickly read my previous post.


Imagine you are talking about a word: W. Let’s say that W is “virino” = “woman”.

And that you don’t want to just say “a woman”. You want to call attention to a particular aspect of W (the woman). We’ll call the aspect: A.

Let’s say A (our aspect) is “haro” = “hair”; we want to call attention to the woman’s hair.

Now, there’s some property of A (her hair), which distinguishes her from some other people. We’ll call this property: P, and let’s say that P is “bruna” = “brown”.

So, we want to call attention to the fact that a woman has brown hair.

In other words: we want to refer to W, making a reference to A, which is distinguishable by being P (and we want to do it in a neat little phrase).

In English, we’d say:

  • A brown-haired woman

In Esperanto, we’d say:

  • Brunhara virino

In general, this is:

  • P-A-a W-o

This is simply saying that we make the aspect A into one word with its property P, and give it the adjective ending “a” (so it can describe a noun), and we put W after it with the noun ending “o”.

This will always be talking about some word W, which has an aspect A, the distinguishing feature of which is P.

  • P should be a “quality” root (it describes a property of something)
  • A should be an “object” root (it is a particular thing with a property P)
  • W should be an “object” root (it is a particular thing, with a distinguishing aspect A)

Here’s some examples of “P-A-a”:

  • Saĝokula = wise-eyed
  • Ruĝlipa = red-lipped
  • Rapidlanga = quick-tongued

Isn’t that nice?

Sometime soon I show you what happens if P is an object root!


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