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A Grammar of Interlingua

Alexander Gode & Hugh Blair IALA 1951

Word Building

Compounding Derivation


COMPOUNDING by prefixes as well as by the combination of full-fledged words is often carried out IN CONJUNCTION WITH DERIVATION by affixes. (Cf. §155 above.) A formation like infiltrar 'to infiltrate' is not, strictly speaking, a compound of in plus filtrar but a compound derivative from in plus filtro 'filter' by means of the verbal suffix -ar. Similarly heliocentric is not a derivative from heliocentro (which does not exist) but from helio- plus centro by means of the adjectival suffix ic. Further random examples are:

See also under multiplicative numeral compounds (§128 above), a category in which compound derivatives abound. Formations of this type present no special problems. Their active use as models for new analogical formations simply entails two patterns in combination and both of these must answer the requirements for simple model features. Hence semicupio with its isolated suffix -io is not to be recommended as a model for further formations while refrescar is a perfect pattern for repatriar 'to repatriate' (from patria 'fatherland'), impipar 'to put into one's pipe' (from pipa 'pipe'), etc.

Note: In compounds of this category the second element exhibits at times a change of stem which must be observed in analogical formations. e.g. anno 'year' added to mille 'thousand' yields millennio 'millennium.'


A number of nouns and verbs yield adjectives by a process of compounding derivation in which the suffix is the simple adjectival ending (-e or nothing). Examples are:

Any one of these formations can serve as the model for further formations involving the same second element. This second element may be regarded and used as a suffix.

The compounding vowel is to be considered part of it as illustrated in the following examples:

Note: Suffixes of this kind are compounding forms of corresponding nouns and verbs. In so far as such nouns and verbs have derivatives of their own, these may likewise be used in new formations parallel to the type illustrated above. e.g., as -icole comes from the verb coler and as coler has derivatives like cultor, cultura, etc., it is possible to form parallel to all formations in -icole others in -icultor, -icultura, etc. Hence free formations like acutilingual, tonitrisonante, pinicultura, multiloquentia, igniparente, etc.


PREPOSITIONS AND CONJUNCTIONS include a number of compounds which cannot serve as models for additional formations. Strictly speaking there is no word building in regard to either of these parts of speech. Forms like depost, proque, malgrado, etc. are unique and suggest no further parallel formations.

It may be noted however that a number of prepositions correspond to parallel conjunctions in que. Examples are:

When words like considerante, excepte, etc. are used with prepositional functions, the addition of the conjunction que will make them into conjunctional locutions.

Considerante su etate, ille es multo vivace
'Considering his age, he is quite lively'

Considerante que ille es multo vetule, ille es bastante vivace
'Considering that he is very old, he is rather lively'


Prepositional and conjunctional locutions are very numerous and new ones can be formed as freely as in English.

con le exception de
'except, with the exception of'

per medio de
'through, by means of'

in respecto a
'in regard to, with reference to'

pro le beneficio de
'for the benefit of, in behalf of'

supponite que
'supposing that'


Note: As dictated by practical requirements, it is possible to use two prepositions together after the pattern of English 'in between' which differs from compound prepositions like 'into' and 'upon' merely through the separate spelling of the two elements.

Io va a in le foresta
'I go into (to in) the forest'

(Io va in le foresta
'I walk in the forest' or 'I walk into the forest')

illo cadeva a inter le libros
'It fell down (to a place) in between the books'

illa te accompaniara usque a trans le montanias
'She will accompany you to (a place) beyond the mountains'

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