1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Esperanto
  4. >
  5. Order of affixes


Order of affixes

Is there an order to affixes in Esperanto? Or does it not matter? For example, are knabineto and knabetino both grammatically correct and do they both mean the same thing?

June 4, 2015



I don't know about exactly that example, but a more pronounced example of how the order of suffixes changes meanings may be seen with the difference between:

arbo - tree

arbaro - forest

arbareto - small forest, or a grove, etc.

But, switch the suffixes around, and you get:

arbetaro - a forest of tiny trees (bonsais as far as the eye can see e.g.)


I love that there's a word for a bonsai forest!


Brilliant, so you put them in an order which conveys your intended meaning. Brilliant, logical, and very creative!


Thinks So by extension:

Viro - man

Viraro - a crowd (of men)

Virareto - a small crowd (of men)

Viretaro - a crowd of (male?) dwarfs!

How much further can I take this?

Geviretaroj - a (mixed gender) crowd of dwarfs

Geviretidaroj - a (mixed gender) crowd of dwarf babies

Geviretidarejoj - a place for a (mixed gender) crowd of dwarf babies (dwarf creche perhaps?)

Definitely getting silly now, but I can't quite resist so . . .

Malgeviretidarejoj - anywhere that isn't a dwarf creche

I wonder how much of the above is actually right. Maybe someone with more experience could comment?


Sadly, I don't fall into that category, but I hope someone else does because I want to know too.

(I think geviretidarejoj would be more than one dwarf crèche, though.)

If you haven't already come across it, this page is a very fun explanation of how (some of) the affixes of Esperanto can be used to create new words out of one route: http://www.esperanto.ie/en/zaft/zaft_13.html

My personal favourite would be ljamareĝidoj, children of the llama king, which presumably one could also turn into ljamareĝinidoj, children of the llama queen. Or even ljamareĝinidojejo, which would presumably mean a crèche for royal llamas, specifically royal llamas in a matriarchal society.

Esperanto is fun :D


Atentu! Ljamareĝinidejo, vi forgesis formeti -oj antaŭ ol aldoni -ejo.


Ha, dankon! Mi ankoraŭ lernas. Mi memoros! :D


I added the -j because I thought it was always needed with the ge- prefix, but I agree that it does look plural. Shrugs Not sure what the right answer is.


I think if you're talking about the individuals concerned then it probably needs to be plural, because (generally) you need more than one invidual to have a group containing more than one gender. If you are talking about one crèche that has girls and boys in, I don't think that would need to be plural.

I think maybe if you were referring to a crèche for dwarf boy babies and a separate crèche for dwarf girl babies, then it would need the plural ending for the ge...

Does that make sense? My head hurts 8-o or I should be using my Esperanto, so la kapo doloras min!


Wonder no more. Every one of those words is valid Esperanto. Although whether or not some of them would be understood by your listeners without significant pauses of varying lengths might be another story...

Remember: just because you can make a word, doesn't mean you have to. :-)


True, but having started it was oddly hard to stop!


As a personal guideline, I try to limit myself to 4 (or 5 in extreme need) non-rootword, derivational morphemes per word, otherwise it's hard to parse. In the above example, I'd most definitely stop at geviretidaroj, and maybe even geviretaroj (ge'vir'et'ar'o'j). For geviretidarejoj...I'm not sure I'd even have occasion to use such a concept much less put it into words ;).
As for your last, remember that 'mal-' means specifically the OPPOSITE of X, not just "not X", e.g. nerugxa could mean yellow or purple as well as green, whereas malrugxa (if you're thinking of the color wheel) is specifically green...


I think -ineto is preferred over -etino. Or at least seems to be more common.

Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.