GRAMMAR
Spelling and pronunciation · Sentences · Nouns · Determiners · Pronouns · Adjectives · Adverbs · Verbs · Prepositions · Conjunctions · Questions · Clauses · Numbers · Word formation · Abbreviations · Punctuation

Word formation

In Elefen, new words can be formed by adding prefixes or suffixes to existing words, or by combining two existing words as a compound noun.

It’s also possible to reuse adjectives as nouns, and verbs as nouns, without adding an affix.

Prefixes

When a prefix ending with a consonant is added to a word that starts with the same consonant, this consonant is only written once (inter+rede  →  interede,​ non+nesesada  →  nonesesada).

Anti- means “anti-”. It forms adjectives and nouns that indicate opposition:

Auto- means “self-” or “auto-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate reflexive or automatic actions:

Des- means “un-” or “dis-” in the sense of undoing an action. It forms verbs. It simplifies to de- before S, Z, X, or J:

Inter- means “inter-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate mutual actions or states:

Media- means “mid-”. It forms nouns that indicate the midpoint of something:

Non- means “un-”, “non-”. It forms adjectives and nouns indicating opposites:

Pos- means “post-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that refer to a time (or place) that lies after or behind (pos) another:

Pre- means “pre-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that refer to a time (or place) that lies before or in front of (ante) another:

Re- means “re-”. It forms verbs indicating a repeated action, or an action in the reverse direction:

Su- means “sub-” or “under-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate a lower point in a hierarchy:

Supra- means “super-” or “over-”. It forms nouns, verbs, and adjectives that indicate a higher point in a hierarchy. It simplifies to supr- before A:

Vis- means “vice-”. It forms nouns indicating deputies:

Bon- and mal- form good and bad (or mistaken) versions of adjectives and verbs, sometimes metaphorically. Mal- is often equivalent to “mis-” in English:

Numbers and fractions are used as prefixes on certain words. With family members, numbers denote increasingly distant generations, like sequences of “great-” in English:

Suffixes

Many suffixes start with a vowel. When such a suffix is added to a word that already ends in a vowel, the existing vowel is dropped, unless it was the only vowel in the original word:

Where a suffix would create an invalid vowel sequence, the second vowel of the sequence is dropped:

There are two exceptions to these rules:

Suffix forming verbs

Just like other verbs, the verbs produced by this suffix can be used both transitively and intransitively, or as nouns.

-i is added to nouns and adjectives to form verbs meaning “to become …”, “to change into …”. As a special case, this also includes verbs meaning “to emit a substance or a new part”:

-i also makes verbs meaning “to use …” (typically as a tool or device), or “to apply …” (a substance or a convention):

Suffixes forming adjectives

Just like other adjectives, the adjectives produced by these suffixes can be reused as nouns denoting people or things that have the specified quality.

-in is added to a noun to create an adjective meaning “similar to …”, ”-like”, ”-ish”:

-osa is added to a noun to make an adjective meaning “full of …” or “made of …”:

-al is added to a noun to form a general adjective meaning “pertaining to …” or “to do with …”:

-iste is added to a noun denoting a belief, such as a religion or a philosophy, to make a general adjective. If the noun ends in -isme, then -iste takes its place. In some words where the root is a proper noun, the noun’s final vowel is retained if this produces a more international word:

-an is added to a few nouns denoting extents of space or time (places and eras) to form general adjectives:

-an is also one of the five standard suffixes for forming adjectives that denote languages and peoples. The other four are -es, -ica, -i, and -sce. For these adjectives, Elefen uses words that sound as similar to the native names as possible: as a result, some names use a special suffix of their own, or no suffix at all, and the root is sometimes modified too:

But those who prefer it can simply add -an to any country name:

-ica is added to a noun denoting a medical, psychological, or similar problem, to form an adjective that describes a person who has the problem:

-nte is added to a verb to create the active participle, an adjective that means ”-ing”, i.e. “such that it does (the specified action)”. The active participle of es is esente:

Nouns ending in -nte are not used as names of actions:

-da is added to a verb to form the passive participle, an adjective that means ”-ed”, i.e. “such that it has or has had … done to it”:

One does not use -da to indicate the past tense of verbs:

-able is added to a verb to make an adjective that means ”-able”, “capable of having … done to it”, or “worthy of having … done to it”:

Suffixes forming nouns

-or means ”-er”. When added to a verb, it makes a noun meaning a person who performs the specified action, often typically or habitually. When added to a noun, it makes a noun meaning a person who works with the specified thing, or plays the specified sport:

-ador also means ”-er”, but creates nouns meaning a tool or machine that performs the specified action, or works on the specified thing:

-eria is added to a noun or verb to make a noun meaning a place, often a shop, associated with the specified action or thing:

-ia is equivalent to ”-ness” or ”-ity” or ”-ship” or ”-hood” in English. It forms abstract nouns that serve as the names of qualities. When -ia is added to a word that ends in -ia, the word doesn’t change:

Words like enfantia and sultania can denote a time or place in which the quality exists.

The names of many fields of study also end in ia (or ica) but this is part of the root, and not a suffix. The names of the corresponding practitioners are formed with -iste. -iste is also used to form the names of believers in a religion or philosophy (as derived from the adjectival suffix -iste), the names of musicians, and the names of certain other people that end in ”-ist-” internationally:

-isme forms the names of belief systems, replacing -iste in the name of the believer. It also occurs in certain other words that end in ”-ism-” internationally:

Less productive suffixes

The following suffixes are only applied to specific words, as defined in the dictionary.

-eta is added to certain nouns to create a name for a version of something that has been reduced in a particular way. This includes the names of young animals and inner garments. -eta can similarly be added to a few verbs and adjectives to create words for reduced versions of actions and qualities:

-on is added to certain nouns to create a name for a version of something that has been augmented in a particular way. This includes the names of outer garments:

-eta and -on are not synonyms for peti and grande: it’s quite possible to have un careta grande or un salon peti. Instead, they form words with specific new meanings that can be loosely described as being smaller or larger versions of the original.

-o and -a are added to a few nouns that denote members of the family, to switch the meaning between male and female respectively:

The names of some trees are formed by changing the final -a of the name of the fruit or nut to -o:

-esa is added to a few nouns denoting historical male social roles to form the female equivalent:

Technical affixes

International scientific and medical terms are formed from Latin and Greek sources by means of a large number of technical prefixes and suffixes. These affixes are used in Elefen too, and follow Elefen’s rules of transcription.

When a preposition is used as a technical prefix, it follows the same rule as supra-: if it has two or more syllables and ends with a vowel, and the rest of the word starts with the same vowel, this vowel appears only once (contra+ataca  →  contrataca).

The suffixes -i and -uple are used to name fractions and multiples.

Compound nouns

A compound noun can be formed by combining a verb with its object, in that order. The result means a person or thing that performs the specified action on the specified object:

If the object begins with a vowel, this is retained unless it’s the same as the final vowel of the verb, as in portavion.

Elefen does not allow two consecutive nouns to form a compound. Instead, a preposition has to be placed between the two nouns. For example:

In rare cases, such an expression has a special non-literal meaning and is treated as if it was a single fixed word. For example, a leon-de-mar (sea lion) is not a lion. In such cases, the words are joined with hyphens, and any adjectives follow the second noun. Hyphens can also be used for more literal compounds when this improves clarity:

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