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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 kitabu can function as a verb (to write), a noun (a writing) and adjective (written or textual).

mi kitabu letre. – I write a letter.
letre e kitabu misije. – A letter is a written message.
mi ame tu su kitabu. – 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.

Two or more words can be put together to make a compound word. The last word is the most meaningful part in the compound and the words that come before it only modify its meaning. For example, an 'un-, the opposite of' + demi' 'the people' + krati 'rule' = andemikrati 'undemocratic'.


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.

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'
   +  demi       'people, public'
   +   -ka       'adjectival suffix'
= pandimika      'pandemic'

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

       demi      'people, public'
   +  krati      'rule, govern'
   +     -a      'collective noun suffix'
= demikratia     'democracy'

      termi      'temperature'
   +  metre      'measure'
   +     -r      'agent or apparatus'
= termimetrer     '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'
   +   ces-      'pass'
=     acese      'get past to, access'

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

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

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

        su-      'good, well'
   +   ces-      '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-' :
deusim 'theism' → andeusim 'atheism'
tabakuja 'smoker' → antabakuja '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' :
bina 'build' → konbina 'assemble, combine'

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' vide 'see' → previde 'foresee, preview'

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

re- 'back' :
ati 'to act' → reati 'to act back, react'
pulse 'to push' → repulse 'to push 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'


-je 'thing made of or consisting of' :
baga 'bag' → bagaje 'baggage, luggage'
forma 'form' → formaje 'format, formation'
kore 'core' koreje 'guts, the things in the core'
misi 'send' → misije 'something sent, message'
fase 'face' → faseje 'facade, frontage'

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

-ma 'distinct meaningful element' :
fone 'speech sound' → fonema 'phoneme, distinct speech sound'
lexi 'word' → lexima 'lexeme'

-r 'doer, agent, -er' :
baka 'bake' → bakar 'baker'
lide 'lead' → lider 'leader, the one who leads' muskete 'musket' → musketer 'musketeer'
trate 'drag, haul' → trater 'tractor'

-ria 'place for making, producing or selling; profession' :
bakar 'baker' → bakaria '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'
long 'long' → longta 'length'

-ia filsofi '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' :
arabi 'Arab, Arabic' → Arabia 'Arabia'
rus 'Russian, Ruski' → Rusia 'Russia'
turki 'Turk, Turkish' → Turkia 'Turkey'
itali 'Italic, Italian' → Italia 'Italy'
Asia 'Asia'
Indonesia 'Indonesia'

-sim 'ideology, way of thinking, way of living, ism' :
deu 'god' → deusim 'theism'
konsana 'collective production' → konsanasim 'communism'

-vi 'inclined to' :
ati 'act, perform' → ativi 'active, inclined to act'

-do 'level or degree' :
dai 'big, great' → daido 'size'
kurva 'curve, bend' → kurvado 'curvature'