A Grammar of Vabungula

Part 4.2 - Prefixes and Suffixes

In many cases it is not easy to classify a Vabungula root as exclusively a prefix or a suffix, since many roots can be used as both. However, there are certain roots that function primarily or even exclusively as prefixes or suffixes. Here are some of the most common ones:


do - good, holy; up
na - bad, evil; down
da - cause; -able
fa - do 
(note: sometimes the difference between da- and fa- 
 becomes blurred)
e - abstract (as opposed to concrete)
ên - abstract, usually relating to social concepts
fida - un---able
le - intensive
on - whole, entire
fi/fwi - not, un-
si - small
ja - large
ci - between, inter-
ke - similar to, quasi
la - at; towards
mu(l) - become
sa - having; (in adjectives made from verbs: tending to perform the action of ...)
su - (in adjectives made from transitive verbs: tending to receive the action of ...)
tu - this
 - that
va - on
vo - before
ta - behind
ze - same
za - change into
džu - give; (transitive)
džû - take; (intransitive)
o - various abstract applications, such as:  

   forming relatives from interrogatives:

   kam? = what?
   okam = what, that
   lam? = where?
   olam = where

   various function words:

   oda = regarding
   odapro = as far as ... is concerned
   ogabu = at all
   ogas = in fact, as a matter of fact (from gas = real)
   okenim = on the one hand
   oni = don't you know
   one = in comparison

   making temporal adverbs from nouns:

   olarêm = one day (from larêm = day)
   ohalarêm = one evening (from halarêm = evening)
   omislarêm = one morning (from mislarêm = morning)


   oglûno = wow! (from glûno = surprise)
   oklêd = please! (from klêdeg = ask for)
   onamag = oh dear! (from namagûs = problem)
   onapê = excuse me! (from napêgu = apologize)

   impersonal verbal prefix:

   ogula = it is said, they say (from agula = say, speak)
   ofalê = it is done, they do (from falê = do)

Notes on prefixes:

1) The prefix e can appear as en when preceding a root beginning with a vowel:    

enûn (instead of eûn, root = ûn) "aspect". 
      Root ûn = "part". 

2) The prefix ên appears in a corrupted form en in the following words:

endimêk     (instead of êndimêk) "rule, regulation."
endiragul   (instead of êndiragul) "law".
endirafamul (instead of êndirafamul) "constitution".
endisimu    (instead of êndisimu) "restrict, curtail".

3) džu- and džû-:

The basic meaning for džu- is "to take" and džû- "to give", derived from the words džumba (take) and džûmba (give) respectively. The word džula ("to put"), however, uses a corrupted version of the root džû-. Thus the prefix džu- in many cases has the meaning of "putting" or "placing", a concept which is far removed from "taking". In the case of the word pair džudot (hang) and džûdot (hang), the only difference is that the former is transitive, i.e., requires a direct object, whereas the latter is intransitive. Thus after you džudot your coat in the closet, it džûdot's there until you fetch it again. Džû- in this case functions as an intransitive counterpart to the transitive verb formed by džu-. In other words, the džû- in džûdot has nothing to do with the word džûmba (to take), but rather was formed as a counterpart to contrast with the džu- in džudot, which in turn is a corruption of the prefix džû-. This apparent contradiction leads to what can seem to be a rather haphazard use of the prefixes džu- and džû-.


(a)l - general nominal suffix
   kûlûnal = resistance (kûlûn = resist)
   negosal = curiosity (negosa = be curious)
a/s/as - general verbal suffix
   menaka = be angry (menak = anger)   
   glûnos = be surprised at (glûno = surprise)
   flogas = invite (flogal = invitation) 
ke - adjectival suffix
   menake = angry (menak = anger)   
   bolake = clean (bola = clean (verb)) 
   - passive suffix for verbs
   falêke = done (falê = do)   
   agulake = said (agula = speak, say) 
se - participle suffix ("who is --ing",
     or "who ---s")
   agulase = who is speaking (agula = speak)   
   falêse = who is doing (falê = do) 
te - adverbial participle suffix ("-ing")
   masate = going (masa = go)   
   komate = flying (koma = fly) 
(a)n - gerund suffix 
   nifan = thinking (noun) (nifa = think)   
   fagêmlên = working (noun) (fagêmlê = work)
jêl - nominative suffix (for adjectives)
   afadejêl = a rich person, a rich one (afade = rich (adj.))
   nêmajêl = a weak person, a weak one (nêma = weak (adj.))
kel - nominative suffix (for passives of transitive verbs)
   fisankel = an excluded person, an excluded one (fisan = exclude)
   džûdonikel = an honored person, an honored one (džûdoni = honor)
sum - person 
   mêkacfusum = baker (mêkacfu = bake)   
   edobisum = artist (edobi = art)
nidž - a branch of science 
   zonidž = mathematics (zo = number)
   nelûnzonidž = geometry 
     (nelon = shape, ûnda = part, zo = number)
   akamenidž = chemistry (akamel = chemical) 
   dwajênidž = geology (dwajên = earth)
   kaminidž = physics (kamo = thing, imag = event)
   muhasinidž = astronomy (muhasil = star) 
leg - any kind of hard substance or object
   kakleg = stone (kak = hard)
   pênleg = tooth (pêntês = mouth)
   cepleg = nut (cepi = fruit)
   suleg = bone (sum = human)
   figaleg = metal (figas = artificial)
   tuwaleg = ivory (tuwadže = elephant) 
uc - sharp pointed objects, 
     such as claws, fangs, horns, hooks
   arguc = claw (armon = hand)
   njuc = horn (nimoka = head)
   oluc = hook (olkalûn = crescent) 
ic - new; child
   famêlic = invent (famêlêt = make)
   sumic = child (sum = person) 
(m)ic - pain 
   nagmic = hurt
   pênlegmic = toothache (pênleg = tooth)
   pumic = ache (pumalê = smooth) 
ak - sudden action
   fûgezak = jerk ( = sudden, gezama = move)
   fûmislak = gasp ( = sudden, islûn = breathe)
   sajdak = hesitate (sajdo = remain) 
on - whole 
   sumon = body (sum = person)
   falon = assemble (falê = do)   
   haljon = destroy (halja = kill)
lar - time 
   kaclar = summer (kace = hot)   
   kiralar = future (kira = after)
lam - place 
   murafalam = bank (murafa = money)   
   sekarlam = forest (sekara = tree)
žau - back and forth motion 
   fagežau = wag (fagežu = shake)   
   fûmažau = jump up and down (fûmado = jump)
nok - rounded knob-like shape or object 
   neagonok = knoll (neago = hill)   
   mazanok = knee (mazaka = leg) 
   talnok = knot (talac = tie)
pe - body part
   vope = chest (vo = front)   
   surape = heart (sumirap = blood) 
lapê - completion of action 
   famulapê = finish up writing (famu = write)   
   hamekalapê = burn all up (hameka = burn)
kamo/kam/ka/ko - thing, object
   komakamo = airplane (koma = fly)   
   džulakamo = table (džula = put)   
   dwademaka = shovel (dwadema = dig)  
   hamêsko = stove (hamês = cook)
mok - container, vessel, box 
   daramok = pitcher (dara = pour)   
   skematamok = trunk (car) (skemaska = car, ta = behind)
vûs - cloth, clothing 
   aldovûs = curtain (aldozûm = window)   
   armovûs = handkerchief (armon = hand)
mûl - "-ism"
   sumidirmûl = democracy (sumi = people, dira = leader)   
   lasusalmûl = communism (lasunig = public, sal = possession)

Notes on suffixes:

1) The stress generally falls on the last syllable for nouns formed by the nominal suffix -(a)l, although there are many exceptions.

2) A small number of nouns have the rare nominal suffix -a (or -la). The main ones are:

karala      ("difference", from kar = "different")
dala        ("fall", from "da" = "to fall")
džûsafa     ("hold", from "džûsaf" = "to hold, grasp")
lonoêma     ("beginning", from "lonoêm" = "to begin")
famima      ("dream", from "famim" = "to dream")
franka      ("importance", from "frankale" = "important")
jasilara    ("while", from "jasilar" = "a while")
kêmdwašila  ("patriot, nationalist", 
              from "kêmdwaši" = "patriotic, nationalistic")

There are other nouns that end in a (or other vowels), but the a in these cases is part of another root and does not represent the nominal suffix a.

3) The suffixes in the word pair karas/karal is in direct contradiction to the general rule: karas is the noun ("food"), and karal is the verb ("eat").

Adjectives formed by prefix sa- or su- and suffix -ke

There are two classes of adjectives formed from verbs appended with suffix -ke, one that is formed with the prefix sa- and one formed with the prefix su-.

1) "SAxxxKE" active adjectives.

Prefixing to sa- to a verb produces an adjective that describes an attribute of tending to be the agent or the subject of the verb:

damuna      "harm"       sadamunake      "harmful"
dojani      "respect"    sadojanike      "respectful"
fêl         "obey"       safêlke         "obedient"
gulen       "express"    sagulenke       "expressive"
nigo        "know"       sanigoke        "knowledgeable"
nidesomu    "suspect"    sanidesomuke    "suspecting", "have a suspicious nature"

2) "SUxxxKE" passive adjectives.

Prefixing to su- to a transitive verb produces an adjective that describes an attribute of tending to receive or be the direct object of the transitive verb:

džûdoni     "honor"      sudžûdonike     "honorable"
nakafûm     "hate"       sunakafûmke     "detestable"
tula        "pity"       sutulake        "pitiful"
klego       "doubt"      suklegoke       "doubtful"
madžoga     "forgive"    sumadžogake     "forgivable"
šimonû      "like"       sušimonke       "likeable"

Grammar of Vabungula | Alphabet | Nouns | Pronouns | Adjectives | Prepositions | Conjunctions | Verbs | Interrogatives | Word Order | Word Formation | Roots | Prefixes and Suffixes | Miscellaneous | Numbers | Word Studies | Miscellaneous Discussions | Basic Vocabulary | DICTIONARY | English Index | Vabungula in Cyrillic | Gospel of John | Gospel of Mark | Book of Revelation | Babel Text | Story of Peter Rabbit | Grammar Notes | Vocabulary | Three Little Pigs | Vocabulary | Jack and the Beanstalk | Three Bears | Old Woman and Pig | Frog Prince | Poppy Seed Cakes | Jolly Tailor | Little Prince | Boris Sergunenkov | Relativity | Jokes | Vabungula Main Page | Languages | Bill Price Home Page

Page last modified on November 10, 2015
Vabungula is an artificial language invented by Bill Price in 1965.
Vabungula co nûsk mugola famêlêtke onudž Bill Price larla alara idekuzorekol.
Copyright © 1999 by Bill Price
 graphic.gif (2326 bytes)