Derivational morphology

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In Dothraki there are several consistent examples of derivational morphology.

Contents

Agentive

/-(a)k/

The agentive suffix in Dothraki is /-k/ or /-ak/ (if the stem ends with a consonant). So to form an agent (one who performs an action) out of verb you simply take the stem of the verb and add the agentive suffix. For example the verb dothralat means to ride so the agent noun dothrak must mean rider. This is analogous to the suffix /-er/ in English where when you go from the word "ride" to "rider" or "teach" to "teacher" etc.

Examples:

  • dothralat (to ride) -> dothrak (rider)
  • ifat (to walk) -> ifak (foreigner)
  • lajat (to fight) -> lajak (warrior)

Compare to English: -er

Similative

/-ven/

The similative suffix is used to derive a word that indicates likeness or resemblance. This can closest be compared to the suffix -like in English (as in "catlike") though it's not used exactly the same way. In Dothraki the similative suffix is /-ven/. An example of this can be found in the word vezhven which means great but that's of course just a metaphorical meaning of the word. The literal meaning is derived from the word vezh (stallion) plus the similative suffix so a more literal translation would be something like "stallionlike".

Examples:

  • vezh (stallion) -> vezhven (great)
  • san (heap, much) -> samven (numerous)

here we see that derivational affixes may sometimes introduce a sandhi; san has changed to sam to ease the pronunciation

Compare to English: -like

Durative

/v(i)- -(e)r/

The durative circumfix /v(i)- -(e)r/ is used to denote when the action of a verb is done continuously for a period of time without interruption. For example the verb tihilat means to look at or to glance at. When you add the circumfix you get the word vitihirat which instead means to watch or observe, and thus implies looking at something for an extended period of time. Derivational morphology affects the stem of the word, so the infinitival suffix -(l)at is attached after the circumfix.

Examples:

  • tihilat (to look at) -> vitihirat (to observe)
  • elat (to go) -> verat (to travel)

In English there are no affixes with similar meaning.

Diminutive

/-i/

A diminutive is the form of a noun that denotes smallness which at the same time can be a term of endearment which is why the diminutive form in a lot of languages is used for nicknames. In Dothraki the diminutive is formed by adding the suffix /-i/ to nouns that end with a consonant. For example lajak means warrior so the word lajaki can mean "little warrior". (The suffix /-i/ is also used to denote plural and genitive).

Examples:

  • lajak (warrior) -> lajaki (little warrior)

Compare to English: -(l)ette, -(s)ie, -ling

Augmentative

/-(s)of/

An augmentative is the form of a noun that denotes great size. In Dothraki the augmentative is formed by the suffix /-(s)of/. For example the word vezh means stallion which means the word vezhof instead means "great stallion". This also works metaphorically. We have the word fire which means ring. When we add the suffix we get firesof which literally mean something like "great ring" but in the Dothraki language this is the word they use for "year".

Examples:

  • vezh (stallion) -> vezhof (great stallion)
  • fire (ring) -> firesof (year)

Compare to English: grand-, over-, super-

Collective

/-asar/, /-eser/, /-isir/, /-osor/

The collective of a noun is when you form a larger group of out a single entity. In Dothraki this is done by various suffixes that depends on the last vowel of the word that is being changed. For example with the word fonak (hunter) the final vowel is an /a/ so the collective suffix would be /-asar/. The resulting noun would be fonakasar which means hunting party. Similarly we have the word oqet which means sheep and the collective noun would be oqeteser which means flock of sheep. Zir means bird and the collective noun zirisir means flock of birds. The word for dog is jano so the collective noun janosor means pack of dogs.

Examples:

  • fonak (hunter) -> fonakasar (hunting party)
  • oqet (sheep) -> oqeteser (flock of sheep)
  • zir (bird) -> zirisir (flock of birds)
  • jano (dog) -> janosor (pack of dogs)

In English there are no affixes with similar meaning.

Negative

/e(s)- -(s)a/

This reverses the meaning of the verb.

Examples:

  • azhat (to gift) -> esazhalat (to take back)

Compare to English: un-

Resultive

/-(i)kh/

This construction forms a noun that is in some way the result of another noun or verb. For example the word elzat means "to respond". Taking the resultive of this gives us the word elzikh which means "response" which is the result of responding.

Examples:

  • dothralat (to ride) -> dothrakh (a ride)
  • elzat (to respond) -> elzikh (response)
  • lame (mare) -> lamekh (mare's milk)
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