✍️ Written on 2022-01-31 in 721 words.
Part of languages Esperanto


Esperanto follows the tradition of many languages to add suffixes to annotate additional meaning to words. Just like French, German, and English. One the other hand, Swahili is an exception as it prefers prefixes.

I had a random thought, I wanted to share.

Examples: Esperanto suffixes

Let us start with simple examples:

Mi loĝas en urbo.
I live in a city.

“urbo” has suffix -o. Thus we can conclude, it is a noun. We could replace the suffix with the diminutive suffix -eto (actually these are two suffixes, but their order is well-defined):

Mi loĝas en urbeto.
I live in a town.

Another set of examples:

Mi amas katoj.
I love cats.

Mi amas katidoj.
I love kittens.

And it also applies to verbs:

Mi lernas diĝita kompostado.
I learn digital typesetting.

Using the suffix -ad- we can stress the duration of an action:

Mi lernadas diĝita kompostado.
I study digital typesetting.

List: Esperanto suffixes

A small excerpt of the suffixes list is:


to indicate possibility


to indicate membership


to augment


to indicate a place designed for the given purpose


to belong to


head of, chief of


offspring of


an instrument/tool


worthy of


a country or science


person who belongs to a profession occupied with


similarity in form with the root without being the root


field of the specialist in the root


relatively full of whatever property is indicated by the stem


container or box


person characterized by the quality expressed in the root

One consequence is the idea that the words file and folder do not have different vocabularies. dosierujo (folder) is just a container for dosiero (file). From this list, you might have an idea why my digital typesetting identity is called tajpulo.

Reminder: reciprocals

Unlike English where “four” and “quarter” as vocabularies have no relation at all, Esperanto again uses suffixes. “-ono” indicates the reciprocal:

du (two)

duono (half)

tri (three)

triono (a third)

kvar (four)

kvarono (a fourth)

kvin (five)

kvinono (a fifth)

ses (six)

sesono (a sixth) …

A random thought

The question arises whether we really need a distinct suffix for reciprocals. Could we not use … membership? “kvarano” (a member of four) means “a quarter”?

Or … offspring? “kvarido” (a child of four) means “a quarter”?

Semantically speaking, could the offspring of a number be its multiplicative reciprocal?


I am not interested in proposing this concept. It was just a random, funny thought.

When researching this blog post, I also read about a claimed funfact in -as indicating that tense suffixes have been inspired by other language projects (and is not an original idea of Esperanto).