Derivational Suffixes

You can modify the meaning of any root by adding a derivational suffix. The new root+suffix compound then acts as if it were a root itself, and can be modified further by adding more derivational suffixes.

There are 137 derivational suffixes. Only some are explained here; see the dictionary for the rest.

The Most Important Derivational Suffixes

Table 4.10. The Most Important Derivational Suffixes


-Te- is the main question word (well, question affix). This is the normal way to ask questions, other than yes-no questions. (See Sentence Modifiers for yes-no questions.) -Te- requests more information about the root it is attached to.

Example 4.26. Questions and Answers

Who are you?
Aitea ho?
Unspecified+question+same surprise?
Atta tiha pa aiteua?
You+agent change-location+action belief unspecified+question+goal?
Why did you go?
Ouxulo eaeun pa fuaateihe fuaateta?
Ouxu+of learned+change-to belief person+question+beneficiary person+question+agent?
Who taught Ouxu to whom?

-Na- converts the root to mean anything other than its original meaning. -Po- converts it to mean specifically its opposite.

Example 4.27. Negation and Opposites

Pa xitnaa.
Belief red+not+same.
It's non-red.
Pa xitpoa.
Belief red+opposite+same.
It's the opposite of red (perhaps cyan).

-Hig- and -hug- act as demonstratives. If you've fallen into the snake pit, you can use them to distinguish this snake that's about to strike from that snake that's still relatively far. -Hig- is for nearby things, and should be your default choice if it doesn't matter (unlike English, where "that" is often the default choice). -Hug- is for more distant things.

Example 4.28. This

What's that?

-Le- is similar to "a" in "a frog can jump" or "some" in "some frogs are poisonous". It means that you're not talking about any specific object; you're making a generic statement.

Example 4.29. A Generic Statement

Uxetlexe pa laaofxu.
Frog+indefinite+whole belief poison+part.
Some frogs are poisonous.