How To Use Italian Suffixes

Italian is a language that allows for the use of suffixes to describe the root word and expound on the quality of the term being expressed. This makes the Italian language very expressive and versatile in terms of coming up with a unique word for every possible adjective that could be added to a root word.

There are plenty of suffixes used in the Italian language. This article will discuss in part a few of the most well used and most familiar suffixes. Here are some of them:


Adding -ino to the end of a root word would communicate that the word being described is something tiny or little. For the root ucello for instance meaning "bird," adding -ino as a suffix to come up with ucellino means that the new term means "little bird." The same is true for the suffix -etto. The Italian word casa for house will translate as "small house" if the suffix were added to the end to form the word casetta. There can be some exceptions however, as the word dottore means doctor in Italian. Adding the -ino suffix will now make the translation to English as "little doctor." In terms of context, the word dottorino actually refers to a recent medical school graduate.


The suffix -one denotes something of great size. Thus, if the word naso which means "nose" in Italian were to be augmented with a suffix -one to form nasone, the word formed would translate as a "big nose." Probably not the most polite of comments, but it just shows that Italian can simplify the usual adjective plus noun clusters that usually occur in the English language. Other examples include the combination of libre (book) and the suffix -one to form librone ("big book") and donnone ("a larger than usual woman").


Adding -accio to the end of the word denotes something foul or negative about the word that's being embellished with the suffix. Thus, the Italian words tempaccio literally translates to foul weather. The same goes for the term giornataccia which means bad hair day. The suffix -astro likewise communicates a negative connotation. Words such as medicastro would mean that someone is practicing as a medical specialist under false pretenses. It might be confusing though that the suffix -astro can mean something else if it is added at the end of an adjective. When used in this fashion, the suffix becomes the equivalent to the informal English suffix -ish. Therefore, the Italian term for red, rossa, translates to "reddish" once the suffix -astro is added to form the word rossastro.

Learning a new language can be quite challenging, but knowing about the suffixes in Italian can definitely be an aid in broadening one's vocabulary when it comes to the Italian language. The suffixes are at the core of the word generation engine that the language is. Additionally, the suffixes make the language sound more snappy, romantic and undeniably sexy.


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