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Word derivation

Making new words from existing words is called word derivation. Often a new word is made by adding a prefix or suffix, such as un- and -ness in English. For example, unhappy and happiness are derived from the root word happy.

New words can be built freely in Pandunia! Pandunia has a word derivation system that is regular and productive.

Zero Derivation

Zero derivation means conversion of a word of a certain word class to a different word class without any change in form. This is very common in Pandunia, where most words don't belong to any fixed word classes. Instead, the word class is determined by the word's place in the sentence.

For example, the word hali can function equally as an adjective (blank or void), noun (a blank) and verb (to make blank or to get blank).

tu ha hali papir, he? – Do you have some blank paper?
don mi un hali! – Give me a blank!
tu mus hali vo lexi. – You must blank out that word.

Likewise, the word kitabe can function as a verb (to write), a noun (a writing) and adjective (written or textual).

mi kitabe letre. – I write a letter.
letre es kitabe misaje. – A letter is a written message.
mi ame tu su kitabe. – I love your writings.

Compound Words

A compound word is a word that is formed of two or more simpler words in order to yield a new meaning. words can be made easily in Pandunia just like in many natural languages.

Either just write the that words you want to combine next to each other, like tomato 'tomato' + sos 'sauce' = tomato sos 'tomato sauce', or simply join them together, like poste 'mail' + kan 'place for working' = postekan 'post office'.

The former is called an open compound and the latter a closed compound. There is little difference between open compounds and closed compounds. Compound words that are stable and fixed tend to be written together, whereas new compound words tend to be written separately.

When words are joined together, the final -e of the base word disappears if it is followed by a suffix that starts with a vowel. For example kriste 'Christ' + isme 'creed' = kristisme 'Christianity'. Vowels other than e can't be deleted. For example, a remains in the following compound: lama 'lama' + isme 'creed' = lamaisme 'lamaism'.

This is almost all you need to know to make compound words. Apart from these, there are a few special, internationally known compound words rooted in Greek, where an -e- sound at the end of the first word turns into -o- to combine it with the next word. For example:
fote 'light' + grafe 'image' = fotografe 'photograph'
deme 'people' + kratia 'rule' = demokratia 'democracy'
This kind of Greek compounds could be sometimes written as normal closed compounds, like fotegrafe and demekratia, and it should not be considered an error because the difference is minimal and harmless.


Affixes, i.e. prefixes and suffixes, are very important and give great flexibility to the language. They are joined or merged to the base word.

For example, the word Geia 'planet Earth' consists of the base word gee 'earth, ground' and the collective noun suffix -ia.

       gee       'earth, ground'
   +   -ia       'collective noun suffix'
=      Geia      'planet Earth, Gaia'

Two or more roots can be put together to make compound words. The last root is the most meaningful part in the compound and the preceding roots only modify its meaning.

       pan       'all'
   +  deme       'people, public'
   +  -ike       'adjectival suffix'
= pandemike      'pandemic'

The connecting vowel -o- is inserted between the elements in Greek compounds.

       deme      'people, public'
   +    -o-      'connecting vowel for Greek compounds'
   +  krate      'rule, govern'
   +    -ia      'collective noun suffix'
= demokratia     'democracy'

      terme      'temperature'
   +    -o-      'connecting vowel for Greek compounds'
   +  metre      'measure'
   +    -er      'agent or apparatus'
= termometrer     'thermometer'

Pandunia has adopted international prefixes, including a-, de-, pro-, re- and su- among others, in order to re-create many international words as native Pandunia words.

         a-      'to, toward'
   +   cese      'pass'
=     acese      'get past to, access'

       pro-      'forward, to the front'
   +   cese      'pass'
=   procese      'pass forward, process'

        re-      'back to'
   +   cese      'pass'
=    recese      'pass back, recede'

        de-      'away, off'
   +   cese      'pass'
=    decese      'pass away, die'

        su-      'good, well'
   +   cese      'pass'
=    sucese      'go well, succeed'

Note that these prefixes are used only in compound words that really mean the sum their parts. Fossilized words whose meanings are no longer the sum of their parts, like evolution (originally 'rolling out') and revolution (originally 'rolling back'), are not compound words in Pandunia.


a- 'to oneself' :
cepe 'take, catch' → acepe 'take to oneself, accept'
lige 'tie' → alige 'tie to oneself, ally'

an- 'opposite, un-, in-' :
human 'human' → anhuman 'unhuman' deiste 'theist' → andeiste 'atheist'
tabakiste 'smoker' → antabakiste 'non-smoker'
kluze 'close' → ankluze 'unclose, open'
uzebil 'usable' → anuzebil 'unusable'

be- 'the passive recipient of an action, -ed, -ee' :
cepe 'take, catch' → becepe '(be) caught'
krede 'trust' → bekrede '(be) trusted, trustee'

de- 'away, off' :
cepe 'take, catch' → decepe 'take away, remove'
duce 'lead, conduct' → deduce 'lead away, deduce'
parte 'part, chip' → departe 'part away, chip off'
kode 'code' → dekode 'decode, remove coding'
tape 'plug, cap, stopper' → detape 'unplug, remove the plug, cap or stopper'

ex- 'out' :
cepe 'take, catch' → excepe 'take out, except'
jete 'thrust' → exjete 'thrust out, eject'

in- 'in, into, in-, en-' :
jete 'thrust' → injete 'thrust in, inject'
kluze 'close, shut' → inkluze 'close in, enclose, include'

kon- 'together' :
strute 'structure' → konstrute 'construct, put together'

per- 'thoroughly, completely' : fete 'make, do' → perfete 'perfect, completely done'

pos- 'after' :
poze 'put, pose' → pospoze 'put after, postpone'

pre- 'before' :
poze 'put, pose' → prepoze 'put before, prepend'
dite 'tell' → predite 'foretell, predict'
vide 'see' → previde 'foresee, preview'

pro- 'onward, forth' :
poze 'put, pose' → propoze 'put forward, propose'
voke 'call, summon' → provoke 'call forth, provoke'

re- 'back' :
ate 'to act' → reate 'to act back, react'
turne 'to turn' → returne 'to turn back'

ri- 'again, repeatedly' :
forme 'to form' → riforme 'to reform'

su- 'good, well' : cese 'pass, go by' → sucese 'go well, succeed'
rupe 'appearance, looks' → surupe 'good-looking'


-aje 'thing made of or consisting of' :
bage 'bag' → bagaje 'baggage, luggage'
forme 'form' → formaje 'format, formation'
kore 'core' koraje 'guts, the things in the core'
mise 'send' → misaje 'something sent, message'
fase 'face' → fasaje 'facade, frontage'
limon 'lemon' → limonaje 'lemonade'

-al 'belonging or related to' :
fine 'end' → final 'final, related to the end'
karne 'flesh' → karnal 'fleshly, related to flesh'

-an 'one who belongs to, one who has membership in' :
Amerike 'America' → amerikan 'American'
Italia 'Italy' → italian 'Italian'
Rusia 'Russia' → rusian 'Russian'
Paris 'the city of Paris' → parisan 'Parisian'
kristia 'Christendom' → kristian 'Christian'
hume 'earth, soil' → human 'earthling' and, by extension, 'human being'

-ate 'do, act' :
rote 'wheel' → rotate 'rotate, turn like a wheel'

-ation = -ate + -ion 'doing, action' :
anime 'to animate' → animation 'animation, animating'
rote 'wheel' → rotation 'rotation, turning like a wheel'

-bil 'that can be done' :
vide 'see, view' → videbil 'one that can be seen, visible'
uze 'use' → uzebil 'one that can be used, usable'

-eme 'distinct meaningful element' :
fone 'speech sound' → foneme 'phoneme, distinct speech sound'
lexe 'word' → lexeme 'lexeme'

-(e)r 'doer, agent, -er' :
beke 'bake' → beker 'baker'
lide 'lead' → lider 'leader, the one who leads'
filsofe 'think deeply' → filsofer 'philosopher'
sapate 'shoe' → sapater 'shoemaker'
muskete 'musket' → musketer 'musketeer'
kase 'cash box, cash register' → kaser 'cashier'

-(e)ria 'place for making, producing or selling; profession' :
beker 'baker' → bekeria 'bakery'
perfume 'perfume' → perfumeria 'perfumery'
piza 'pizza' → pizaria 'pizzeria, pizza place'
enjener 'engineer' → enjeneria 'engineering'

-ta '-ness, state of being' :
dai 'big, great' → daita 'greatness'
longte 'long' → longta 'length'

-ia 'collection of, aggregation of' :
human 'human being' → humania 'humanity, mankind, all the human beings as a group'
kriste 'Christ' → kristia 'Christianity, all Christians as a group'
filsofe 'view, outlook, life wisdom' → filsofia 'philosophy, the discipline of wisdom'

This ending is often used in place names, especially in country names. However it is not always used. There are also a lot of country names that do not end in -ia.

-ia 'area, region, country' :
arabe 'Arab, Arabic' → Arabia 'Arabia'
rus 'Russian, Ruski' → Rusia 'Russia'
turke 'Turk, Turkish' → Turkia 'Turkey'
itale 'Italic, Italian' → Italia 'Italy'
Asia 'Asia'
Indonesia 'Indonesia'

-ike 'that which is like' :
un 'one' → unike 'only, sole, single'
makin 'machine' → makinike 'machine-like, mechanical'

-ime 'the most, superlative' :
pre 'fore, front' → prime 'foremost, prime'
extre 'outside, exterior' → extrime 'outermost, extreme'

-ion 'action, process' :
dite 'say' → dition 'saying, diction'
rotate 'turn like a wheel' → rotation 'rotation, turning'

-iste 'person who tends to behave or think in a certain way, adherent of an ideology or religion' :
alkol 'alcohol' → alkoliste 'alcoholic, alcoholist'
dee 'god' → deiste 'theist, one who believes in existence of a god or gods'

-isme 'ideology, way of thinking, way of living, ism' :
alkol 'alcohol' → alkolisme 'alcoholism'
dee 'god' → deisme 'theism'

-ive 'inclined to' :
ate 'act, perform' → ative 'active, inclined to act'
exploze 'explode' → explozive 'explosive'

-ize 'furnish or equip with' : aure 'gold' → aurize 'to gild, to coat with gold'

-or 'apparatus, device, machine' :
trate 'drag, haul' → trator 'tractor'
fotografe 'photograph' → fotografor 'photograph apparatus, camera'

-ule 'diminutive, indicating small size or youth' :
kume 'mound, hill' → kumule 'hillock, heap, pile'
node 'knot' → nodule 'nodule, small lump'

-ure 'result or product' :
kulte 'cultivate (a way of life)' → kulture 'culture'
mixe 'mix' → mixure 'mixture'

Affixes for chemistry

-al 'aldehyde' :
metanal 'formaldehyde, methanal'

-an 'alkane group' :
metil 'methyl' → metan 'methane'

-ate 'salt or ester' :
sulfe 'sulfur' → sulfate 'sulfate'

-en 'alkene group' :
meten 'methen'

-il 'alkyl group' :
bute 'butter' → butil 'butyl'
metan 'methane' → metil 'methyl'

-in 'alkyne group' :
metin 'methyne'

-ite 'salt or ester' :
sulfe 'sulfur' → sulfite 'sulfite'

-ol 'alcoholic compound' :
etan 'ethane' → etanol 'ethanol'

-on 'ketone group' :
propan 'propane' → propanon 'propanone'

-os 'sugar' :
frute 'fruit' → frutos 'fructose'
malte 'malt' → maltos 'maltose'