Got a question for you, ain’t I?

Aren’t affixes lovely? They are like the sprinkles of word building; shove some nice spongy root words together and sprinkle on the affixes. Some roots are so neat and generally useful they are all but official affixes.

You may be aware that over the many years of Esperanto’s life, many have tried to introduce new prefixes and suffixes for one reason or another. You can read about the ones that remain unofficial here (for prefixes) and here (for suffixes).

Some of those seem pretty useful, and others redundant, and some are useful for certain scientific folk. If all of those were official, can you imagine the learning load?! Getting the hang of the proper use of affixes in word building is a little trickier than just lumping roots together, so we definitely don’t want a whole barrel of them, but:

If you could have just one more affix widely used and official in Esperanto, what would you have? You could pick from the unofficial ones, or make up your own! You know you want to.

I quite enjoy one of the meanings of the unofficial suffixes, “e”. Check out meaning 2.

Say you’ve got an object, e.g. a brick (briko). And you want to say the equivalent of “brick-coloured”. You’d probably go for: “brikkolora”. Meaning 2 is exactly this. Instead of relying on suffixing the full “kolora”, you would just go “brikeo”. Short an sweet.

Only thing that bothers me, is that I’m not satisfied with my pronunciation of “e” followed by a vowel. It just feels unwieldy having to pronounce “e” as in “bet” followed by another vowel. I kinda wish “eĵ” was a suffix. Something about “brikeĵa” pleases me 😀

Though I wonder if there could be a more generally useful suffix than one that just means colour! 😛

8 thoughts on “Got a question for you, ain’t I?

  1. It always bugged me that pomujo means apple tree, when arbo is suffixy as the dickens, beginning with a vowel that way. Pomarbo. Sheesh. What was Zamenhof thinking?


  2. I think it would be fantastic to have a prefix to denote simultaneous love/hate. As in I love/hate my hometown. The prefix could also be used to denote ambiguity as in we have a great/awful government or I love/hate my job. I think this being in two minds at the same time might be a vert Irish charactheristic.


  3. Well, I will have to disagree with Lamarck: if I had the superpower of adding a suffix to Esperanto, it has to be -iĉ, if only for simmetry with -ĉj! Everything else can wait :-p

    Another thing that would be nice is not exactly a suffix, but a suffix-like “esti”, as used in Ido for the pasive voice: faresti = esti farita/ata (in Ido “esti” is “esar”, so it is a little bit shorter). –> No more ita/ata problems! 🙂


    • Are there not words already using esti in this way? I’ve seen “foresti”, “to be absent”, quite frequently; so faresti = to be made/done is, in my opinion, already understandable.

      I would rather see a suffix that does more than just let me know someone/something is male.


      • Yup! Agreed! “fariti” also technically means “to be done” as in: ĝi faritas = ĝi estas farita = it is done. That kind of verbalising of participles isn’t often done in speech though, generally it packs so much meaning into such a small place that it’s confusing. So using “esti” is just easier 🙂


  4. I’ve been reading your blog for months, though I never commented.
    I liked the unofficial suffix -e too, it reminds me of how Japanese use Kanji. But I hated -iĉ, so unnecessary.

    If I could have just one more, I’d make up my own: -es, to express possession, like in English.

    Ex: Kies hundo estas tio? – Whose dog is that?
    Then instead of replying: Tio estas la hundo de la viro.
    One could answer: La vir’es’ hundo. – The man’s dog.

    Esperanto is so fun, I guess we all have to resist the urge of inventing new stuff when using it.


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