Novial/AIL Substantival Suffixes

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Adjectival Suffixes
Novial version

Substantival Suffixes

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The formation of substantives from verbs and vice versa has given rise to a great many controversies among interlinguists, particularly between Couturat on the one hand and the defenders of the Esperanto system de Saussure and Aymonier on the other hand. Much of the dust raised in these discussions might, however, have been avoided had it not been for the curious fact that both sides agreed in taking one important point for granted, namely that all substantives, whether derived from verbs or not, must necessarily end in -o as decreed by Zamenhof. Hence all their difficulties, and their one point of agreement was really through the irony of fate the reason why they had to disagree so fundamentally. As we shall see, some of their chief difficulties disappear as soon as we give up that dogma and admit other endings in substantives. But that does not mean giving up all and any distinctive endings, only these should not serve to mark parts of speech as such, but be used as real derivative or formative elements.

The first of these endings is in Novial the same as in Esp and Ido, namely -o, but in our system it serves to denote substantives immediately derived from or connected with a verb and meaning the simple act or state denoted by the verb (nexus-substantives). In this function the ending is not entirely a priori, being found in Italian and Spanish in some substantives of that class, corresponding to verbs in -are -ar, e.g. I uso, gusto, voto, guasto, bacio, bagno, etc., corresponding to usare, etc.

The simplest case is that in which we have only one substantive, namely the verbal substantive in -o. In most corresponding words English does not distinguish the infinite from the substantive in form.

The verb may end in -a; thus we have a/o-words, e.g. sonja/o dream, basia/o kiss, marcha/o, promena/o walk, komensa/o begin, plora/o weep, pena/o take the trouble, odora/o smell, aranja/o, kalkula/o, desira/o, riska/o, espera/o hope, klosa/o, revela/o, duta/o doubt, judika judge, judiko judgement, helpa/o, fala/o fall.

Next we have verbs in -e, sb in -o, e/o-words: respekte respekto; inspekte/o, reflekte/o, introdukte/o, sugeste/o, diskuse/o, opine/o think, have an opinion, atrakte/o, neglekte/o.

While in the classes treated so far the final vowel of the verb (a, e) disappears before -o, we must keep i and u when we derive substantives in -o; thuse we have i/io-words and u/uo-words: aboli abolish, abolio the act of abolishing, demoli/io, puni/io, nutri/io, establi/io, defini/io, mari/io, expedi/io, suposi/io, komposi/io, disposi/io, edi/io, edit, editing, senti/io feel, veni/io come, dormi/io sleep.

Distribu distribute, distribuo distributing, kontribu/uo, konstitu/uo, restitu/uo, substitu/uo, evolu/uo, revu/uo, intervu/uo, solu/uo solve, the act of solving, resolu/uo, disolu/uo, absolu/uo, polu/uo pollute, -ing, diminu/uo, distribu/uo, perseku/uo, proseku/uo.

Somewhat more complicated are those cases in which we have first a substantive in -e, then a verb derived from it and ending in -a, and finally a verbal substantive formed in the usual way in -o. These e/a/o-words constitute a most important class in N, and we must give a great many examples.

In numerous words the original sb means an instrument, and the verb the natural use made of that instrument: thus brose a brush, brosa to brush (I brush, etc.), broso the simple act of brushing (as in "my hat wants a brush"). In the same way: texe loom, texa weave, mile mill, mila grind, skrue screw, berse cradle, bersa rock, -o, klefe key, -a lock, -o, mesure measure (tape or yard for measuring), -a vb, mesuro measurement, katene chain, venene venom, poison, parfume, spise spice, telefone, kovre cover, veste article of clothing, violine (-o play on the v.), flute, bisikle.

Further examples of e/a/o-words: Rule roll (e.g. of paper, F rouleau), vb rula; vbsb rulo (E roll, rolling, F roulement, D das rollen). For the first sb Ido-dictionaries have rulilo, rulbloko, rulajo--rather unnatural formations. The word rule should be kept distinct from role, F rôle--etymologically the same word.

Glue/a/o; fume/a/o smoke (the latter the act of smoking; I want a smoke after dinner); ombre/a/o shade; grupe/a/o; folie leaf, folia turn over the leaves, folio (which may also be kept as a technical term for one format); plase/a/o place; parte part, parta divide, share; drinke; kolore (kolorates = coloured people), forme, fabrike manufactory; makule stain, limite, eforte, karese, dekrete, argumente, komplimente, note, adrese (li letre es adresat a vu; not in all the meanings of E address), honore, dolore pain, questione, funktione, date, motive, pause, nombre, nome, plante.

Kante song, -a sing, -o singing, danse/a/o, konsilie advice, kritike criticism, critique. Rakonte story: li rakonte perdad kelkum in li rakonto, the tale lost in the telling.

Vote: in li voto (kand on vota), li presidente have du votes. Kopie copy, kopia, kopio copying.

Nive snow (what falls or has fallen), niva vb, nivo snowing, snowy weather; correspondingly grele/a/o hail, pluve/a/o rain.

Sange blood, sanga bleed, sango bleeding; spute/a/o spit, sudore/a/o sweat, urine/a/o. Gute drop, -a drip, trickle, -o; milke, milka to milk, milko milking.

There can be no conflict between this non-personal way of using the three endings e/a/o and the use of the endings e/o/a to denote common sex, male and female in the case of living beings, for the two classes of words are easily kept apart by their natural meanings and there is no occasion to derive verbs in -a immediately from words denoting living beings. We see the difference most clearly, perhaps, when we observe that one and the same stem may in national languages be used in two ways: words in -grafe mean persons, when there is no apparatus or instrument: geografe, etnografe (-o, -a, if sex is insisted upon)--but if there is an apparatus called in this way, the word belongs to the non-personal class: telegrafe (the apparatus), telegrafa vb, telegrafo telegraphing, and then of course telegrafere (-o, -a) or telegrafiste (-o, -a) to indicate the operator. In both cases we have derivatives in -ia for the science or art: geografia, telegrafia. (But this definition does not assist us in all cases: stenografa vb, -grafo the act, -grafere or -iste; biografa and ortografa in the same way, to write the biography of or to write orthographically; with bibliografia, -iiste there seems to be no necessity for a word in -grafe or -a; autografi adj, with -fum.)

The formation of verbs from substantives by the simple substitution of -a for the final vowel should not be tolerated except where there cannot be the slightest doubt as to the meaning of the verb thus created. In a language destines to be understood easily by people with the most diverging linguistic habits in their mother-tongues, all those idiomatic usages should be avoided which abound in all national languages with regard to verbs derived from substantives. We must therefore admit only such obvious formations as those instanced above, but should be afraid of such formations as those in E to stone (1) kill by means of stones, (2) free fruit from stones, or to wing (1) provide with wings, (2) wound in the wing; cf. also D kalben to calve, but ochsen to work like an ox. Where the meaning is clearly to provide with, the suffix -isa should be used (see Verbal Suffixes), thus armisa arm, D bewaffnen. (For if we said arma, parallelism with brosa, etc., would rather suggest the meaning 'use weapons against'.) Kronisa from krone 'crown' would therefore seem correct for 'to crown' (with kroniso coronation), but it must be admitted that 'to provide with a crown' is no fully adequate description of a coronation, and the formation krona with vbsb krono is less dangerous in our system than in Ido. Anyhow the system does not tolerate immediate verbal formations in -a from words denoting human beings, if only because with them -a is the mark of feminine sex; thus we can have no rega = to be king or rule.

It is claimed that this system is both clearer and more natural than those of Esp and Ido. Couturat felt that the free and easy way in which Esp formed sbs from vbs, and inversely, was wanting in precision, and therefore devised a series of new endings, some of them taken naturally enough from existing languages; he also restricted the field of "immediate derivation" by very severe rules. But he did not see clearly enough that his set of endings were not numerous enough to do justice to the infinite variety of human life and speech, and some of his formations are cumbrous and unnatural. As the relation of a key to the act of locking cannot be expressed by immediate derivation according to his system, he must either take klefar as the verb: then klefo is locking and klefilo a key (thus in the first edition) - or else start from klefo key, then 'to lock' is klefagar and 'locking' klefago (thus later). It is in many cases purely arbitrary, whether we start from the verb or from the name of the instrument, and Idists are hard put to it to remember whether a brush is broso or brosilo and to brush brosagar or brosar. The suffix -agar seems to vague in many words (martelagar as a transitive verb), and on the other hand -izar 'to supply with' seems often wrong: ombrizar to shade, motivizar state the motives of; it may be all right to derive nomizar from nomo name and give it the meaning "donner un nom à", but if nomar is then defined as "dire le nom de quelqu'un", it seems wrong to have the simple nomo, for the name and the act of saying the name are not identical. The suffix -ifar is also used curiously, for sangifar to bleed is not on a par with panifar to make bread. In writing Ido one is constantly confronted with the problem: am I here logical justified in using the immediate formation, or should I use a suffix and which? Skribo, skriburo, skribajo; vundo, vunduro; rezulto, rezultajo; impedo, impedivo, impedilo; edito, edituro, editado; grupar, grupifar, grupigar, grupizar . . .; which is it to be? For mill the dictionaries give muelilo, mueleyo, muelerio, mueldomo: the starting-point is muelar grind. For the sb milk we find lakto, for the vb another root melkar from D.

But if Ido's rules are too strict, those of Esp are undoubtedly too lax, as they allow any substantive to be made into a verb simply by changing the ending, and vice versa, without taking the meaning into account; each writer may thus follow the practice of his native language or his own individual fancy. Further, if from krono sb we form kroni vb to crown, what are we to do with the verbal sb coronation? Krono would be parallel to admiro for admiration and a hundred others, but of course one and the same form cannot be allowed to mean both crown and coronation. So Esperantists take the form kronado, in spite of the fact that the suffix -ad- otherwise indicates the repeated or lasting verbal action: kronado thus should mean a repeated or lasting coronation. Or else, if -ad- is allowed to mean verbal action without the notion of repetition, kronado is correct for coronation, but then we miss a suffix for repeated action. Esp theorists admit -ad- in both meanings, but if kronado is coronation, it would seem necessary to admit the possibility of having kronadado for repeated coronation, bearing the same relation to kronado as pafado to pafo shooting. It seems contrary to Z's ordinary practice to admit -ad- in the two senses. Anyhow we get out of all these dilemmas by not requiring -o in all substantives.

To form so-called "abstracts" (i.e. in my terminology predicative nexus-words) from adjectives we use the suffix -ESO, because Couturat is right: goodness means really 'the fact of being good'. This eso is thus the verbal sb belonging to es, but it may also be considered as a reflex of the suffix found in F rich-esse (E riches), faiblesse, etc. Thus richeso, febleso, vereso truth, utileso utility, blindeso, etc. Note that in national languages such words often acquire a concrete meaning: this should not be imitated, and verum and vereso should be kept distinct, see Neuter. The suffix -eso may be added to a passive participle: li venkateso de Napoleon da Wellington = li venko de Wellington super N. (defeat-victory).

Where one suffix suffices, Occ has several: altess, veritá, libertá, longore, maladie, coquetterie. No rules are given, nor can any be given, except this: first learn a few national languages, then you know from them which suffix to use. And even then the learner may hesitate, for to F longueur (whence longore) corresponds I lunghezza with the same suffix that leads to altess[check spelling]. Or is each Occidentalist free in every particular case to select the ending that pleases him best?

The simple -o is not the only suffix needed in our IAL to form substantives from verbs; another one is found very frequently in international words, namely the suffix in E opin-ion, admire-at-ion, defin-it-ion, sol-ut-ion. In order to obtain the forms best known in the civilized world, the rule in N is that the suffix -IONE takes the form

     -atione if the verb ends in -a,
     -itione if the verb ends in -i, and
     -utione if the verb ends in -u. 

This rule may also be stated in this way that -ione is added to the passive participle of all verbs except those ending in -e, in which -ione instead of the final -e. Examples: opine: opinione; diskuse: diskusione; satisfakte: satisfaktione; forma: formatione; isola: isolatione; expedi: expeditione; puni: punitione; evolu: evolutione; diminu: diminutione.

As for the meaning of the words formed in -ione, they do not like those in -o denote simply the action of the verb, but partly the result (as a whole) or the resulting state, partly the way or manner in which something is done: komunikatione, ilustratione, institutione, fortifikatione, explikatione, opinione, edukatione, rekreatione, modifikatione, konstruktione, inventione, etc. "Li letres es in lon posesione": here it would not be natural to say poseso (the act of possessing). "Lo okupad se longitem per li soluo del probleme e finalim trovad li korekte solutione." It is possible to distinguish between expedio (the sending off) and expeditione, dediko and dedikatione (the words through which li dediko is expressed).

"After multi-yari kolekto (kolektado) lo have nun belisi kolektione de piktures." "After pluri definios lo finalim arivad al sekuenti definitione." Aditione, subtraktione, multiplikatione, divisione are four branches of arithmetic; adio the (single) act of adding.

Sometimes the international usage has fixed one particular meaning on the -ion words, which is not always easy to define, but which generally is more complex than the mere -o-meaning: "per li siviliso de barbares on ofte dona a les nur li mali partes del sivilisatione." We speak of giving satisfaction and therefore say dona satisfaktione: it would not be natural to say dona satisfakto, for give the act of satisfying has no proper sense. Compare also polutione and koruptione with poluo and korupto; konvikto is the action of converying a konviktione to someone else. While lekto is 'reading' (me lekte I read), lektione means lesson or lecture.

Some words in -ione are taken over in N ready-made without any corresponding verb from which they can be derived according to these rules, e.g. okasione, emotione, sektione, funktione--some of these are themselves starting-points for new formations (vb -a). The same is the case to some extent in Ido, which has not -iono or -ationo as derivative suffix, but which has a certain number of words in -iono besides some in -aco, vb -acar, taken from national-language words in -ation in half-Russian dress, due to Zamenhof: formaco from formation (R formatsia), operaco, naraco; similarly atenco (= N atentione from atente). In other cases Ido has changed Esp -io into -iono: naciono, profesiono, prepoziciono, but without consistency: religio, ambicio. Esp as usual is even less consistent: by the side of nacio, misio, etc., it has kondicxo, okazo, and even haladzo exhalation (!).

Note that sometimes E -ion has a different meaning: precision is N presiseso.

When the product of the action is specially meant, as distinct from the way in which it is done, the ending should not be -ione, but -um added to the passive participle: fabrikatum manufactured article, kreatum, kontributum, printatum printed matter, trovatum a find, kopiatum a thing copied (distinct from kopie the copy). Cf. Neuter, on plural in -us.

Ido has the suffix -uro joined to verbal roots to denote the result or product as distinct from the act itself. We take this in the form -URE, but its use in N is much more restricted, because in many cases either the original word in -e or else a neuter participle suffices, as just remarked. But in the following cases the use of -ure is legitimate: pikture, painting, a (painted) picture, skulpture piece of sculpture, inventure, fotografure photo (while the thing photographed is fotografatum), texure thing woven.

To form names of persons occupied in some sort there are two international suffixes -ERE (D E Sc -er, F -eur)--representing also L -or and its equivalents in modern languages--and -ISTE, both of course with the sex-forms -a, -o. The former -ere is more general in its application and is used, e.g., in bakere, akompanere, charmere, rakontere, redaktere, judikere judge, ambasadere, juvelere, bankere, misionere, etc. The suffix is used also for animals and certain plants: reptere reptile, rodere rodent, klimere climbing plant. In most, but not all, cases we have a verb from which the -ere word is derived.

The second suffix, -iste, serves chiefly to form words from other substantives; it is used exclusively for human beings, in the first place for adherents of a doctrine, a system, or a party, thus generally corresponding to a word in -isme: ateiste, sosialiste, idealiste, metodiste, monarkiste, etc. Then it is used of those occupied in certain professions or sciences: artiste, dentiste, okuliste, logikiste, sientiste, spesialiste. Kantiste may be used for a professional singer, kantere for an amateur, but this distinction cannot be carried through, and in some cases the two suffixes may be used indiscriminately.

-ISME ateisme, etc.

As a variant of -ere we may consider -IERE, which is used to denote a person or thing characterized by a certain object or considered as its bearer: kurasiere, rentiere man of private means, pomiere apple-tree, sigariere cigar-holder, kandeliere candlestick. Milioniera female millionaire.

-ARIE denotes the recipient of an action, the person for whom something is destined: sendarie addressee, pagarie payee (-o, -a).

-ILO, an Esp suffix taken from certain Slavic words like pravilo rudder, combined with D schlüss-el key, from schliessen shut, E gird-le; it is used to denote a tool or instrument for doing what is indicated by a verb: skriptilo any kind of writing instrument, ludilo plaything, sondilo sounding-line, probe, komunikilo means of communicating, ornilo ornament.

Note that our e/a/o-words make it possible to have simpler forms for many Esp and Ido ilo-words; in N -ilo is used only where it is absolutely necessary to start from the verb. Note also the technical words in -tor with the same meaning: transformatore, motore, traktore, ventilatore; these, however, do not justify a Novial suffix -ore or -tore to be added to any stem, as these words are too special.

-IA denotes the domain, province, or country of someone. It is used for the names of countries: Anglia England (Angle Englishman or -woman), Fransia, Rusia; in some cases the name is formed from the name of a town: Luxemburgia from Luxembourg, Aljeria from Alger (and some names with this ending must be taken as non-derived for our purposes: Austria, Australia, whence the inhabitant -iane). Further, patria native country, and from emperero emperor, rego king, duko duke, episkopo bishop we form the words empereria empire, regia kingdom, dukia duchy, episkopia diocese, etc. A further application is seen when from words like filosofe, geologe, astronome, anatome, we form words for the spiritual domain of these men, i.e. their sciences: filosofia, geologia, astronomia, anatomia, etc. From printere printer, lavere launder, chapelere hatmaker, we form printeria printing-office, laveria laundry, chapeleria hat factory, etc. And finally from such a word as pomiere apple-tree we may form pomieria apple-orchard. Cf. kompania, Consonants above.

-TORIE place where something is done: laboratorie, lavatorie, observatorie, dormitorie, auditorie. (Sanatorie should properly be sanisatorie.) Koquatorie kitchen.

-AJE something made of, consisting of, having the character of: lanaje woollen goods, lignaje woodwork, infantaje childish act (F enfantillage), plantaje plantation (F D plantage), boskaje boscage, plumaje plumage, kruelage (act of) cruelty.

Idists will please notice that this suffix does not cover their -ajo, which is mostly expressed by our -um: grasum, komunikatum, komunikendum.

-EDE, a kind of combination of F -ée (cuillerée spoonful) and S -ada (cucharada), is used to denote the quantity which fills something: kulierede, manuede handful, bokede mouthful.

-ARO a modification of the suffix L -arium (herbarium), I S -ario, F -aire (vocabulaire), E -ary (glossary) to denote a collection, group, set of things or person; it is generally a comprehensive term: homaro mankind, formularo comprehensive formulary, vortaro the whole vocabulary of a language or the stock of words available, libraro library. (N.B. -arie is used in a different sense, see above.)

-IDE descendant, originally taken from Greek Atreide, son of Atreus, Peleide, extended in modern times to Napoleonide, etc. We may say regide (-o, -a) for one of royal birth, and also Semide, Israelide, though it is more in accordance with international usage to say Semite, Israelite, which are not formed with any of our suffixes and are rather to be considered as ready-made words taken over as wholes, like dinamite synamite, melanite and other chemical terms with the same ending. For Abderite we say Abderane, for Moabite Moabane, for Jacobite Jacobane, etc.

-YUNE, from the adj yuni young, is used as a suffix in compounds like bovyune (-o, -a) calf, hanyune chick, katyuno male kitten, etc. In some cases diminutives may be used in the same sense, but we may say, for instance, that a grown pony is a kavalete, though not a kavalyune.