I’ve been playing around with making words in Esperanto recently. Been daydreaming in conversations with people. Every word they say that I don’t know in Esperanto, I try to make it, using what I do know in Esperanto.
Out of my playing, I’ve stumbled on a useful set of steps for making a particular kind of word (much like this previous post, check it out, it’s neat!).
So, do you by now know what I mean by a “quality” root? If not see this post.
Today we’ll be using quality roots, and these:
- pli = more (see this post for more details)
- malpli = less (“mal” is a prefix that reverses the meaning of things)
- igi = suffix meaning “to cause/make <root>”, e.g. “boli” = “boil”, but “boligi” = “to cause to boil”
- iĝi = suffix meaning “to become <root>”, e.g. “pala” = “pale”, but “paliĝi” = “to become pale”
Now, say you’ve got a quality root in its adjective form, like this:
- bela = beautiful
- longa = long
- vasta = extensive, vast, wide
You can do a neat thing with them. Using this formula:
Things in brackets show alternatives! So you get a few choices here. The idea is, you’ve got some quality, like “beautiful”, and you want to make a verb which means: to become, or cause someone/something to be, more or less that quality:
- beli = to be beautiful
- plibeligi = to embellish (literally: to make more beautiful)
- plibeliĝi = to grow/become more beautiful
- malplibeligi = to make less beautiful
- malplibeliĝi = to become less beautiful
This saves you some work:
- Mi estas bela, sed… = I am beautiful, but…
- ŝi volas igi min (esti) pli bela
- ŝi volas plibeligi min
They mean roughly “she wants to make me more beautiful”. But look at the second one! So neat! So neat in fact, that I wasn’t sure on the structure of the above. I think the “esti” is optional. The long way around would be then “estigi min pli bela”. Also note that “beligi” would mean “make beautiful”.
Sometimes, all this adding of “ig” and “malpli” etc. makes the words really long, so sometimes we use shorter forms. Look at these two:
- plilongigi = (literally) to make more long
- longigi = (literally) to make long
There is a clear theoretical difference. 1 implies something is already long, and you are making it longer, and 2 says nothing about how long it was, but you’re now making it long (maybe like English, the omission of “pli” might mean that the thing wasn’t long or beautiful until you made it so). But in practice, this distinction matters little, and often the shorter word will be used. Especially when you get to “malplilongigi”, you might just say “mallongigi”. See this PMEG page for this note, and more “ig” examples.
Here’s a few more I like:
- plilongigi = to lengthen (to make longer)
- plivastigi = to extend (to make more extensive)
- verdigi = to colour green (to make green)
- plilarĝigi = larĝigi = to widen
- malplivarmigi = to cool down/ to cool (something)