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

mi kitaba letre. – I write a letter.
letre e kitaba misaje. – A letter is a written message.
mi luba tu su kitaba. – 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. Compound words can be made in two ways in Pandunia.

  1. Open compounds are written as separate words. Ex. tomato 'tomato' + sos 'sauce = tomato sos** 'tomato sauce'.
  2. Closed compounds are joined to form a single word. Ex. poste 'mail' + kan 'place for working, office, workshop, etc.' = postekan 'post office', mei 'beautiful' + ta 'quality' = meita 'beauty'.

There is little difference between these two ways, open compounds and closed compounds. In principle, open compounds may be written together as closed compounds, and closed compounds may be written separately as open compounds. Both ways can work well. However, normally affixes (that are listed below) are written together into closed compounds and other joined words are written as open compounds.


Affixes, i.i. prefixes and suffixes, are very important and give great flexibility to the language. They are joined 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'
   +    li       'adjectival suffix'
= pandemili      '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'


-di 'object of action' : loga 'speak' → loga di baxa 'spoken'

-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'

-li 'like or characteristic of what is denoted by the previous word' : insan 'human being' → insanli 'human, what is charasteristic of human beings'
dosti 'friend' → dostili 'friendly, like a friend'
sosi 'society' → sosili 'social'

-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'