Practise Esperanto Affixes!

I always notice that mastery of the affixes is essential for understanding Esperanto and for speaking it fluently. The thing is that many Esperanto speakers never have a very big vocabulary… but you don’t need one if you have fully mastered the affixes. Sometimes I even wish that German or English or other languages had a reliable affix system like this, because I start a sentence and find that I’ve temporarily forgotten a word, or it’s on the tip of my tongue and I just can’t get it out. Let’s say it’s the word “konstelacio” (= constellation). If you have trouble coming up with that word in Esperanto, you can continue speaking without a noticeable stop and people won’t even know you’ve been missing a word, because you’d say something like “stelaro” (stelo+aro = star + collection = collection of stars) and that’s a perfectly fine way of expressing yourself. In fact, it’s considered good language usage to say “stelaro” instead of “konstelacio”, because it enables beginners to understand more easily, particularly if they come from a non-Indo-European language background.

Since it’s so crucial to understand agglutinated words quickly and to be able to come up with some yourself without much thinking, I’ve decided to post some exercises here for you to improve your understanding of Esperanto affixes. These are taken from various lessons of a free German Esperanto course and translated obviously. Send your answer to an Esperanto-speaking friend or wait for me to post sample solutions. I suggest you don’t do all the exercises at once but take a break after each one and spread the whole thing out over several days.

Lesson 1 taught the different word endings, -eg- (amplifies the
meaning), -in- (for females) and -ej- (place).

Exercise 1: translate the following Esperanto words to English:
peto, amika, beli, ripeto, nei, nuno, nuna, petego, benkego, ina, knabo.

Exercise 2: translate the following words to Esperanto:
school (place of learning), super easy, the regret, linguistically
(derived from “language”), tomorrow’s (as an adjective!), duty
(derived from “must”), the farewell.

Lesson 2 taught -ul- (for a person), mal- (opposite) and ek- (start
to do), as well as the ability to use these as word roots.

Exercise 3: translate these using affixes only: person, female person,
to start, the start, the opposite, the place, opposite (adjective!),

Exercise 4: translate postmorgaŭ and antaŭhieraŭ

Lesson 3 taught compound words, and re- (again/back), -ajx- (thing),
-igx- (become), -ist- (profession), -et- (weaken the meaning).

Exercise 5: translate: tea glass, light grey, apple pie, ĉiutago,
tuttaga, ree, aĵo, eta, poŝtaĵo, enamiĝi (en-am-iĝ-i), vorteto,
elaŭtiĝi (el-aŭt-iĝ-i), laŭtiĝi, mallaŭtiĝi, reverdiĝi
(re-verd-iĝ-i), kontentiĝi.

Lesson 4 taught -il- (tool), -ant- (person currently doing sth.),
-igx- (making words intransitive)

Exercise 6: translate: brochure (inform-), sender, participant, to get
dressed, order form (mend-), to have fun (amuz-), to be interested,
questionaire, the seeing person.

Lesson 5 taught ge- (both genders), -i- (for many country names), -an- (member), -ad- (gerund, long-lasting), -ar- (collection).

Exercise 7: using the affix system, build at least one new words from
each of the following: rumano, sviso, svedo, hispano, edzo, amiko,
loĝi, kisi, gazeto, Berlino.

Exercise 8: translate plimultiĝi, plirapidiĝi, vesperiĝas, mateniĝis,
proksimiĝi, enlagiĝi, elakviĝi, multegaj, la kialo, espero, la
esperanto, pollingve (pol-lingv-e), malpli, sunbrilo, ĉiama,
remalfermo, instruado, la malkompreno, sunleviĝo, malleviĝo, studado,
gratulanto, la plimultigxo, eraro, celo, restaĵo, kundancado, domano.

Lesson 6 contains a grammar summary, nothing new there.

Exercise 9: build new words with all affixes currently known. Use the
root words kanti, juna, doni, legi, trinki, lando, skribi, botelo,
lerni, rugxa, viro, granda, and build as many words as you can. When
you’re done, make sure that you have at least one example of each of
the affixes introduced so far (yes it’s possible!). The ones
introduced so far are: ek-, ge-, mal-, re-, -ad-, -aĵ-, -an-, -ant-,
-ar-, -eg-, -et-, -ej-, -igx-, -il-, -in-, -ist- and -ul- .

Lesson 7 taught the participles and -igx- (for passive), -ig- (to
make, transitive), -id- (child), -ebl- (possibility), -ajx- (for food)

Exercise 10: translate malsatantoj, kontraŭuloj, dormanto, ĝustigo,
remalsekiĝi, malplimultigi, pendigi, pendigita, respeguliĝi,
plilarĝigebla, nepagebla, retrankviliĝinte, surteriĝi, egaligi, krome,
ebla, homaro, revulo, malordigi, ordigita.

PARTICIPLE/AFFIX EXERCISE: add the right endings
– Mi surbret____ la aĉet____ libron. – I put the bought book on the shelf.
– En la ven____ semajno ŝi edz____. – In the coming week she will
marry (= become a wife)
– Pro troa lac____ Maria liber____ hodiaŭ de sia ofico. – Because of
strong fatigue Maria took a day off work today (= freed herself…)
– Inform____ sian patrinon, Frank iris en la kinejon. – After
informing his mother, Frank went to the cinema.
– Ating____ la landlimon, ni ĝust____ niajn horloĝojn. – Before
arriving at the border, we adjusted our watches.

Lesson 8 introduced pra- (fore-), dis- (dissemble), bo- (in-law), eks-
(former), fi- (morally bad), -ind- (worthy), -estr- (boss), -op- (how
many people), -em- (likes to do or often does), -ec- (property or
character trait)

Exercise 11: using only the affixes (no other word stems!), translate
the following: ancestor, away from each other, to leave a company or
club, morally bad, to lead, the property, to be worthy, the
desire/inclination to do something.

Lesson 9 introduced the entire rest of affixes: -ism- (ideology),
-obl- (multiples), -on- (a part of a number), -um- (whenever nothing
else fits), mis- (in error), -acx- (bad appearance or in a bad way),
-end- (something still left to do), -er- (a part of something), -ing-
(retainer or support), -uj- (container or tree), -cxj- (making
nicknames for men), -nj- (making nicknames for women)

Exercise 12: translate (sometimes using more than one word): four times as much, a third, two fifth, guide incorrectly, to talk bad about somebody, a book to be read, cake crumbs, wallet (from “mono”)

Exercise 13: translate to English: ujeto, aĉaĵo, arano, disigi, eksigenda, fiega, etiĝi, estrino, ilaro.

Exercise 14: explain in Esperanto: paperujo, hundaĉo, programero, sonorilo, besteto, taskaro, saĝulo, kuracilo

The 10th lesson is just a summary with a big boring text-translation as an exam. So this is it – completing all these exercises should have given you a much better grasp of the affix system.

Hope it helped!