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11. 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, un-happy and happi-ness 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 have hali papir, he? – Do you have some blank paper?
don mi un hali! – Give me a blank!
tu mus hali da lexe. – You must blank out that word.

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

mi kitab letre. – I write a letter.
letre es kitab misaje. – A letter is a written message.
mi love yu se kitab. – 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. The last word is the most meaningful part in the compound and the preceding words only modify its meaning. New compound words can be created freely and easily in Pandunia. There are two types of compound words in Pandunia, open compounds and closed compounds.

An open compound is simply a series of base words put next to each other. They are written separately and there is a space between each words. For example, tomato 'tomato' + sos 'sauce' = tomato sos 'tomato sauce',

Closed compounds are written together and there is no space between the words. For example, poste 'mail' + kan 'place for working' = postekan 'post office'. Typically closed compounds include affixes. Affixes are word-like units that have special properties. Some of them are not stand-alone words, they can only appear as part of another word.

Pandunia's system of word derivation is designed to produce compound words that look and/or sound so close to international words that they are easy to recognize. They are not meant to be identical with words in English or in any other language, because international words tend to be written and pronounced in more or less different ways from language to language, anyway. In fact, many compound words are built in a different way in Pandunia than in European languages, though the results usually look mostly similar.


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

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'
   +   sese      'go, pass'
=     asese      'get past to, access'

       pro-      'forward, to the front'
   +   sese      'go, pass'
=   prosese      'pass forward, process'

        re-      'back to'
   +   sese      'go, pass'
=    resese      'pass back, recede'

        de-      'away, off'
   +   sese      'go, pass'
=    desese      'pass away, die'

        su-      'good, well'
   +   sese      'go, pass'
=    susese      'go well, succeed'

Note that these internatioal 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'), are not compound words in Pandunia.

Many suffixes have two forms, one that begins with a vowel and one that begins with a consonant. The vowel-initial form is used when the base word ends in a consonant or in the vowel -e, which disappears before the suffix. Below we add the vowel-initial suffix -ik to a base word that ends in -e.

        fize       'body'
   +     -ik       'adjectival suffix'
=      fizik       'bodily, physical'

The consonant-intial form is used when the base word ends in any other vowel except -e. Below we add the consonant-initial suffix -tik to a base word that ends in another vowel.

        tema       'theme, topic'
   +    -tik       'adjectival suffix'
=    tematik       'thematic, topical'

The vowel-initial suffix -ik and the consonant-initial suffix -tik are alternative forms of one and the same underlying suffix, (t)ik, which has an optional initial sound. The surface form of the suffix depends on the properties of the base word.

Another suffix with two forms is (o)krate. Its vowel-initial form is -okrate and its consonant initial form is -krate. So this time the optional sound is a vowel (and not a consonant as in (t)ike).

Below we add this suffix to a base word that ends in -e.

        deme      'people, public'
  + (o)krate      'rule, govern'
  +      -ia      'collective noun suffix'
=  demokratia     'democracy, rule by the public'

Next we add the suffix to a base word that ends in another vowel.

       media      'the media'
  + (o)krate      'rule, govern'
  +      -ia      'collective noun suffix'
= mediakratia     'mediacracy, rule by the media'



The prefix a- means that the action brings the agent and the object together.

sepe 'take, catch' → asepe 'take to oneself, accept'
liga 'tie' → aliga 'tie to oneself, ally'


The prefix an- means being or doing the opposite of the base word.

deiste 'theist' → andeiste 'atheist'
alkolike 'alcoholic' → analkolike 'unalcoholic'
homan 'human' → anhoman 'unhuman'
tabakiste 'smoker' → antabakiste 'non-smoker'
kluze 'closed' → ankluze 'unclosed, open'
uzabil 'usable' → anuzabil 'unusable'


The prefix de- means that the action is directed away from or off something.

sepe 'take, catch' → desepe 'take away, remove'
dute 'lead, conduct' → dedute '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'


The prefix dis- means that the action is directed apart or in many directions.

trate 'draw' → distrate 'draw apart, distract'
turbe 'whirl, spin' → disturbe 'disturb'


The prefix dus- adds a quality of badness to the base word.

funte 'function' → dusfunte 'malfunction, dysfunction'
rupe 'appearance, looks' → dusrupik 'bad-looking, ugly'
forme 'form' → dusforme 'malform'


The prefix ex- means that the action is directed outside from something.

sepe 'take, catch' → exsepe 'take out, except'
jete 'thrust' → exjete 'thrust out, eject'


The prefix in- means that the action is directed into something.

jete 'thrust' → injete 'thrust in, inject'
kluze 'close, shut' → inkluze 'close in, enclose, include'

kon- ~ kom-

The prefixes kon- and kom- mean 'together'. There are two forms of this prefix. The form kom- is used when the following word begins with a b, p or m, and the form kon- is used in all other cases.

tene 'hold, keep' → kontene 'keep together'
stru 'build, structure' → konstru 'construct, put together'
patia 'suffering' → kompatia 'suffering together, compassion'


The prefix per- means that something is done completely, entirely or all the way through.

fete 'make, do' → perfete 'perfect, completely done'
uza 'use' → peruza 'use up'


The prefix pos- means that something is after in time or order.

pozi 'put, pose' → pospozi 'put after, postpone'
prodution 'production' → posprodution 'post-production'


The prefix pre- means that something is before in time or order.

pozi 'put, pose' → prepozi 'put before, prepend'
dite 'tell' → predite 'foretell, predict'
vize 'see' → previze 'foresee, preview'


The prefix pro- means that something is moved onward or into the open.

pozi 'put, pose' → propozi 'put forward, propose'
voka 'call, summon' → provoka 'call forth, provoke'


The prefix re- means that something is done back or in the opposite direction than originally.

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


The prefix ri- means repetition or doing again.

forma 'form' → riforma 'form again, reform'
nate 'be born' → rinate 'be born again'
pleye 'play' → ripleye 'play again, replay'

sin- ~ sim-

The prefixes sin- and sim- mean '(for, to or at) the same'. There are two forms of this prefix. The form sim- is used when the following word begins with a b, p or m, and the form sin- is used in all other cases.

kronik 'timely, temporal, chronic' → sinkronik 'synchronic, happening at the same time'
metria 'measurement' → simmetria 'symmetry, equal measurements'
patia 'suffering' → simpatia 'feeling ~ suffering the same, sympathy'
mixe 'mix' → simmixe 'mix together, blend'


The prefix su- adds the quality of goodness into the base word.

sese 'pass, go by' → susese 'go well, succeed'
rupe 'appearance, looks' → surupik 'good-looking'



The suffix -aje means something that is made of or something that consists of the thing indicated by the base word.

bage 'bag' → bagaje 'baggage, luggage'
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 ~ -ial

The suffix -al means that something belongs to or is related to the thing or person indicated by the base word.

fine 'end' → final 'final, belonging to the end'
universe 'universe, everything' → universal 'universal, something that concerns everything and everyone'
karne 'flesh' → karnal 'fleshly, related to flesh'

When -al is suffixed to a base word that ends in -ia, the endings merge together into -ial.

dunia 'world' → dunial 'worldly'
imperia 'empire' → imperial 'imperial'
nasia 'nation' → nasial 'national'
sosia 'society' → sosial 'societal, social'

-an ~ ian

The suffix -an denotes someone that is a member of a community, such as a country, city or a club. When this suffix is added to a base word that ends in -ia, they merge together into -ian.

Amerika 'America' → amerikan 'American'
Italia 'Italy' → italian 'Italian'
Rusia 'Russia' → rusian 'Russian'
Paris 'the city of Paris' → parisan 'Parisian'
kristia 'Christendom' → kristian 'Christian'


The suffix -bil means that something is possible or able to be done.

vize 'see, view' → vizebil 'one that can be seen, visible'
uza 'use' → uzabil 'one that can be used, usable'


This rarely used suffix means a fundamental unit in the system of things that is indicated by the base word. For example, lexeme ('lexeme') is the fundamental unit in the system of lexe 'words'. For example spoke and spoken are individual words but they represent the same underlying fundamental unit, which is speak in its basic form.

fone 'speech sound' → foneme 'phoneme, distinct speech sound'
lexe 'word' → lexeme 'lexeme, fundamental unit of a family of words'
mite 'myth' → miteme 'mytheme, an archetypal story'

-ente ~ -nte

The suffix -(e)nte means 'one who does the action of the base word'.

es 'to be' → esente 'a being, one who is'
loga 'to talk' → logante 'a talking one, one who talks'

-er ~ -ter

The suffix -(t)er means 'a person who is occupied with the action of the base word'. It implies often but not always a professional occupation.

ate 'to do, to act' → ater 'doer, actor, one who does or acts'
bake 'to bake' → baker 'baker'
lide 'to lead' → lider 'leader, the one who leads'
filsofe 'to think deeply' → filsofer 'philosopher'
sapate 'shoe' → sapater 'shoemaker'
muskete 'musket' → musketer 'musketeer'
kase 'box, cash box' → kaser 'cashier'

-eria ~ -teria ~ ria

This suffix is the combination of -(t)er + -ia. It means the place for making, producing or selling the thing that is indicated by the base word.

bake 'to bake' → bakeria 'bakery'
perfume 'perfume' → perfumeria 'perfumery'
enjener 'engineer' → enjeneria 'engineering'

In some rare cases this suffix is trimmed into -ria.

piza 'pizza' → pizaria 'pizzeria, pizza place'

-et ~ -let

The suffix -(l)et expresses 'small size'.

pake 'pack' → paket 'packet'
kase 'case' → kaset 'cassette'
sigar 'cigar' → sigaret 'cigarette'

-fa ~ -ifa

The suffix -(i)fa means to make or turn into the thing that is indicated by the base word.

mei 'beautiful' → meifa 'make beautiful, beautify'
komple 'complex' → komplifa 'make complex, complexify'
long 'long' → longifa 'make long, lengthen'
un 'one' → unifa 'yhdistää'
klare 'clear' → klarifa 'make clear, clarify'

-file ~ ofile

The suffix -(o)file means 'extraordinary or abnormal liking of something'.

Rus 'Russia' → rusofilia 'Russophilia, strong liking of Russia or Russians'

-fobe ~ ofobe

The suffix -(o)file means 'extraordinary or abnormal dislike of something'.

Rus 'Russia' → rusofobia 'Russophobia, strong dislike of Russia or Russians'


The suffix -ia has a variety of meanings, but fundamentally it means a collective of things or a community of people.

nese 'island' → nesia 'archipelago'
lexe 'word' → lexia 'vocabulary'
homan 'human being' → homania 'humanity, mankind, all the human beings as a group'
kriste 'Christ' → kristia 'Christianity, all Christians as a group'

This ending is often used in place names, especially in country names. However it is not always used, and there are also many country names that do not end in -ia.

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

The suffix -ia is also used in names of scientific disciplines, where it can be understood as collection of scientific knowledge and practices.

kime 'chemical' → kimia 'chemistry'
filsofe 'view, outlook, life wisdom' → filsofia 'philosophy, the discipline of wisdom'
loje 'to study and reason systematically' → lojia 'systematic study, logic'
biolojia 'biology, systematic study of organic life'
geolojia 'geology, systematic study of the ground'

-ik ~ -tik

The suffix -(t)ik means something that is characterized by the thing or quality indicated by the base word.

baze 'base, basis' → bazik 'basic'
fize 'body' → fizik 'physical'
un 'one' → unik 'only, sole, single'
makin 'machine' → makinik 'machine-like, mechanical'
tema 'theme' → tematik 'thematic'


The suffix -ime means something that is in the position or rank that is indicated by the base word.

un 'one' → unime 'the first'
pre 'fore, front' → prime 'foremost, prime'
extre 'outside, exterior' → extrime 'outermost, extreme'

-ion ~ -tion

The suffix -(t)ion means 'an action or process'. ate 'act' → ation 'action'
dite 'say' → dition 'saying, diction'
konsume 'consume' → konsumion 'consumption'
rota 'wheel; to turn like a wheel' → rotation 'turning, rotation'

-isme ~ -tisme

The suffix -(t)isme means an ideology, a way of thinking or a way of life.

alkol 'alcohol' → alkolisme 'alcoholism'
ative 'active' → ativisme 'activism'
dee 'god' → deisme 'theism'

-iste ~ -tiste

The suffix -(t)iste means a person who tends to behave or think in a certain way or an adherent of an ideology or a religion.

alkol 'alcohol' → alkoliste 'alcoholic, alcoholist'
ative 'active', → ativiste 'activist'
dee 'god' → deiste 'theist, one who believes in existence of a god or gods'

-ita ~ -ta

The suffix -(i)ta creates abstract nouns that represent a quality or a state.

nove 'new, novel' → novita 'newness, novelty'
un 'one' unita 'oneness, unity'

-ium ~ -um

The suffix -(i)um means 'chemical element'.

kali 'base, alkali' → kalium 'kalium'
Kurikurium 'curium, the chemical element named after Marie Curie'
Einsteineinsteinium 'einsteinium, the chemical element named after Albert Einstein'

-ive ~ -tive

The suffix -(t)ive means someone who tends to do what the base word says. ate 'act, perform' → ative 'active, inclined to act'
exploze 'explode' → explozive 'explosive'
dika 'point at, indicate' → dikative 'indicative'

-ize ~ -tize

The suffix -(t)iza means 'to furnish or equip with something'.

aure 'gold' → auriza 'to gild, to coat with gold'
makin 'machine' → makiniza 'to mechanize, to equip with machinery'

-krate ~ okrate

The suffix (o)krate means 'to rule, govern'.

deme 'people, public' → demokratia 'democracy, rule by the people'
tekne 'technology' → teknokratia 'technocracy, rule by the technology'
media 'the (mass) media' → mediakratia 'mediacracy, rule by the media'


The suffix -los means 'lacking'.

helpe 'help' → helpelos 'helpless'
peni 'penny' → penilos 'penniless'

-metre ~ ometre

The suffix (o)metre means 'measurement'.

terme 'temperature' → termometrer 'temperature measurer, thermometer'
sim- 'same' → simmetria 'equal measurements, symmetry'

-nome ~ onome

The suffix (o)nome means 'arrangement, management'.

astre 'celestial body' → astronomia 'astronomy'
agre 'farming' → agronomia agronomy


The suffix -one indicates great size.

bol 'ball' → bolon balloon'

-or ~ -tor

The suffix -(t)or means an apparatus, device or machine for doing the work that is incidated by the base word.

trate 'drag, haul' → trator 'tractor'
fotografe 'to photograph' → fotografor 'photograph apparatus, camera'

-ul ~ -kul

The suffix -(k)ul means a 'concentration of something'.

kume 'mound, hill' → kumul 'small hill, hillock, heap, pile'
bande 'band, group of things tied together' → bandul 'bundle'
mira 'stare in awe' → mirakul 'wonder, miracle'

-ur ~ -tur

The suffix -(t)ur means something that is the result or product of the action that is indicated by the base word.

kulte 'cultivate (a way of life)' → kultur 'culture'
mixe 'mix' → mixur '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'