Why not… Combine the power of -ig & -iĝ?!

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… It’s sheer madness,  that’s why. But it’s fun, and that’s what we’re here for.

I was trawling through the latest updates to the PMEG (because I know how to party), and found that it’s not entirely unheard of to combine the suffixes -ig & -iĝ in a word. But -ig & -iĝ are sorta like opposites, why don’t they just cancel out?

These suffixes are really useful word-building tools, so if you’re not familiar with how they work, then you can see some examples in my previous post here. Otherwise, here’s quick recap (skip if you’re familiar with -ig & -iĝ):

“g” is pronounced like “g” in “goat”, and “ĝ” is pronounced like “g” in “gem”.

[word]+ig = cause / make happen [word]

For example :

  • “morti” = “to die”
  • “mortigi” = “to kill” (literally: cause to die)

[word]+iĝ = become [word]

For example:

  • “rompi” = “to break (something)”
  • “rompiĝi” = “to become broken”  (In English we tend to just keep using “break”, basically something breaking).

So the reason one might expect the suffixes to cancel out is: you’ve got “rompiĝi” = “to become broken”, so when adding -ig (rompiĝigi) you might expect to have made: “to cause something to become broken” which seems just the same as “rompi” (to break something)!

Note that the “i” ending after the suffixes is what makes the final constructed words into verbs.

An example of both -ig & -iĝ being used in the PMEG is: formoviĝigi

What a beautiful beast of a word, eh? Break it down:

  1. movi: to move (something)
  2. formovi: to move (something) away
  3. formoviĝi: to be moved away / to become moved away
  4. formoviĝigi: to cause to be moved away / to make (something) moved away

There’s a nuanced difference of meaning between your standard formovi and formoviĝigi.

“Formovi” alone implies a direct causation: we actually moved something away. Whereas there’s room for indirect methods in “formoviĝigi”, because we’re just causing something to end up being moved, to become moved. So the addition of “ig” doesn’t quite return us to the original meaning of “formovi”.

In the PMEG’s example, the moving is accomplished through intimidation, not actual physical movement:

  • Rajdmilicanoj formoviĝigis la publikon = Yeomen made the public move away.

Well, we’ve had our fun. But, of course, we must be sensible when talking to new people. It’s usually more clear to just separate off the -ig:

  • Rajdmilicanoj igis la publikon formoviĝi

But where’s the excitement there!? I say just talk more slowly and more loudly 😀 ĥeĥe

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3 thoughts on “Why not… Combine the power of -ig & -iĝ?!

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