o yis     Word derivations

O Yis has a rich system of derivation by means of affixes, allowing nouns to be created from verbs (nominalisation), verbs to be formed from nouns (activation), and nouns to be formed from other nouns (derivation).

Activation: forming verbs (from nouns)

To form new verbs from existing nouns, various prefixes can be added to the noun:

i-, ix- i-, ix- act in the manner of X
N-, Ne- ŋ-, ŋe- activities associated with X
a-, ab- a-, ab- do X
ak- ak- become X
at- at- remain X
cl-, cla- cl-, cla- build/make/fabricate X
po-, poc- po-, poc- unmake/take apart/destroy X

Additional verbs have in the past been formed from nouns through the process of prefixing postpositions to the noun; in most cases the postposition loses its initial vowel as part of the process. This is an older method of activation - it is rarely used nowadays to form new words - and many of the verbs that were formed by this process have suffered a degree of semantic drift, often to the extent that the semantic meaning of the verb bears little or no resemblance to the lexical appearance of the word.

Nominalisation: forming nouns from verbs

Almost all nominalisation strategies involve the addition of a suffix to a verb. The following suffixes are all used to derive new nouns:

-hem -hem abstract reflection of X
-jac -jac concrete representation of X
-tej -tej person who does X
-et, -get -et, -get person who experiences X
-xal -xal person to whom X is done
-ct, -yct -ct, -yct place where X occurs
-Deg -dzeg tool for performing X
-ib, -nib -ib, -nib something generated by X
-jor -jor time when X occurs

Derivation: forming nouns from other nouns

Many nouns are derived from other nouns through suffixing. In many cases the suffixes used to be nouns in their own right, but time and usage have eroded them to their current state:

-teje -teje people associated with X
-camp -camp businesses associated with X
-tvaN -tvaŋ profession or study of X
-bas -bas collections of X
-uTer -utzer negative, opposite of X
-boj -boj primeval, original X
-kej -kej progenitor of X
-cleep -clép successor of X

The following suffixes all deal with the physical appearance of an object. O Yis often uses simile as part of the word formation process, for instance harfdib (linked dog) translates as engine, turbine - a reference to the haulage and carrying work performed by dogs in many Istran settlements:

-dib, -dibbo -dib, -dibbo linked, chained together
-Del -dzel long, thin, tapered
-reN, -areN -reŋ, -areŋ globular, round, spherical
-Tap, -aTap -tzap, -atzap sharp, pointed
-qer, -qero -qer, -qero branching, forking
-cly -cly web-like
-kvix -kvix tall, thin
-mes, -emes -mes, -emes flattened (horizontal)
-ros, -eros -ros, -eros flattened (vertical)
-aN, -kaN, -aNDo -aŋ, -kaŋ, -aŋdzo flattened on one side
-roez -roez radial
-mirg -mirg bilateral, mirrored
-gyil -gyil box or cube-like
-esp, -kesp -esp, -kesp ring-like
-biq -biq miniature
-vaD -vadz giant
-Ner -ŋer thin, skeletal
-log -log padded, fat, obese
-him -him dense, heavy
-bek -bek light, lightweight
-klojD -klojdz unformed, dissolved
-xeb -xeb liquid, oily
-lad -lad liquid, watery
-gos -gos solid, hard
-jam -jam smoothed, formed
-kyib -kyib rough, natural
-mer -mer translucent


O Yis permits words to compound, with the head word going at the start of the compound. A compound word will generally take the same articles as the head word, though on occasion the word may be assigned to a different noun class on semantic grounds. If a word is routinely used to modify head nouns then it may erode over time to form a derivational suffix - this often involves the simplification of vowel nucleuses and the partial loss of consonant codas, sometimes in unpredictable ways.

For the most part, O Yis speakers prefer not to compound head words and modifiers, relying instead on modifying articles to do the work of linking the words together or, alternatively, modifying the head word with a relativised phrase:

This page was last updated on Tecubestuu-17, 531: Ïmyuu-74 Gevile