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4 Word building

Esperanto is a language with very rich word building. There is a large system of affixes. In addition, there are no phonologic alternations (compare kantaskantiskantintakanto with singsangsungsong.[28]).

Elements of Esperanto can be classified into these categories:
1) Roots (radikoj):
patrman, bongood, irgo
2) Affixes (afiksoj) – subset of roots with some specificity (see chapter 4.2)
ejplace, isma movement, to become
3) Inflectional affixes or endings (finaĵoj) (described in chapter 3):
a) category endings: o – noun, a – adjective, e – adverb, i – infinitive verb
b) declensional endings: j – plural, n – accusative
c) conjugative endings: a – present, i – past, o – future, s – indicative, nt – active participle, t – passive participle, us – conditional, u – volitive
4) Primitive words (vortetoj) – a subset of roots that do not require any category ending to form a word. However, the ending is possible.
trotoo, too many, trithree, viyou, or
fifie fiadisgusting, anstataŭinstead of, anstataŭito substitute

All Esperanto roots (without primitive words) can be classified into three categories – nominal roots, adjectival roots and verbal roots. These categories are inherent to them:
• nominal roots: homhuman, martelhammer, buterbutter, domohouse
• adjectival roots: belnice, bongood, blublue
• verbal roots: kurrun, kaptcatch, dirsay
Suffixoids[29] can be classified into these three categories too:
• nominal roots: ulperson, ejplace, iltool, infeminine
• adjectival roots: eblable, emhaving tendency, endnecessary
• verbal roots: igto cause, to become
The primitive words have different POS:
miI (pronoun), tiuthis (pron.), apenaŭscarcely (adverb), trevery (adv.), kialwhy, trathrough (preposition, sedbut (conjunction), ĉuwhether (particle)
Sometimes the category of the root is obvious, sometimes it is arbitrary set (komb – comb (v), bros – brush (n)).
If a category ending (o for a noun, a for an adjective and i for a verb) is added to the root of the same category, it does not change the meaning of it. In this case, the grammatical endings are redundant.
Theoretically, any root can be converted to any category just by assigning the ending of that category. The meaning of the result is depending on the category of the root:
1) Noun ending (o)
a) With adjectival roots – the name of the quality expressed by the root.
belabeautiful belobeauty, beautifulness
b) With verbal roots – the name of the process expressed by the root.
kurito run kuroa run
2) Adjectival ending (a) with noun or verbal roots – the quality of or relation to the concept expressed by the root.
reĝoking reĝaroyal
amito love amaamatory
3) Verbal ending (i) with nominal or adjectival roots – action or state characterized by the concept expressed by the root.
martelohammer martelito hammer, to work with the hammer
belanice belito look nice
If the meaning cannot be expressed by endings, it is necessary to use suffixes. For example, the name of the process can be expressed simply by using the noun ending only with verbal root (kuri kuro). This is impossible with roots of another category (marteli – to hammer, martelo – a hammer, not working with hammer). In this case, it is possible to use suffix ado (martelado – working with hammer). Using this suffix followed by a noun ending after a verbal root is a redundancy, but it is used to stress the fact of the process. The quality can be expressed by the suffix eco (marteleco – the quality of being a hammer, beleco = belo). For more suffixes see chapters 4.2.1 and 4.2.2.
In the following text, the roots and affixes are very often showed with their category endings. The phrase “root domo” is an abbreviation for “nominal root dom.”
As an example of word derivation I quote some words derived from the root laborito work[30]:
laborowork (n.)
laborawork (adj.)
laboreby a work
labor| istoworker
labor| ist| inofemale worker
labor| ist| arolabor (workers considered as a group)
labor| egogrand work
labor| aĵothe thing concerned with a work
labor| eblaworkable
labor| ejoworkshop, workplace
ek| laborito start to work
labor| estrothe chief of the work
labor| emalaborious
mal| labor| emalazy
labor| em| ulohard worker
labor| en| dathat has to be done
fi| laborodisgusting work
labor| iloa tool for a work
re| laborito do again, to start work again
labor| uloworker
sen| labor| ulounemployed person
labor| tagowork day
tag| laborothe work for the day

[28] Because of the origin of the words, it is possible to look at some Esperanto words as having also some phonological or orthographical changes: agi, akto, reakcioto act, action, reaction; inteligenta, intelektointelligent, intellect; etc. These forms are regarded as distinct roots. See also pseudoaffixes (4.2.5)
[29] See chapter 4.2
[30] Věra Barandovská: Esperanto pro samouky, p. 183 and Karel Kraft: Esperantsko-český slovník.