Secondary Suffixes

Also known as: taddhita-pratyaya (a special kind of suffix)


Now we will study the secondary suffixes. These suffixes act on anything but verb roots. Secondary suffixes can be applied to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and (sometimes) inflected verbs and complete sentences.

Changes in the final vowel

This rule is practically universal:

If the secondary suffix starts with a vowel or y, then the -a nouns lose their final vowel.

In this lesson, we will also consider a few of the -u nouns. Such nouns, as you might guess, have stems that end in -u. (We will not study the endings of these nouns, but we will learn how they are used with the secondary suffixes.) The -u nouns follow this rule:

If the secondary suffix starts with a vowel or y, then the -u of the -u nouns becomes av.

Review: what do we need to know?

As before, we must know a few things about the suffixes we're using. To review, we must know the following:

Now, here is a summary of the suffixes:

SuffixMeaningGenderVowel change
coming from Xmfnstrong
a small X; coming from Xmfnnone
the quality of X, X-nessnnone
made of X, full of Xmfnnone
coming from Xmfnnone


The meaning of the -a suffix largely depends on the type of noun it modifies. When used with some noun X, it usually means "coming from X." The first vowel is always strengthened to the strongest level.

Most of the nouns formed with this suffix are masculine, but many of them are ordinary adjectives. Thus pautra can be either a masculine noun ("grandson") or an adjective ("coming from a son").


-aka is usually used to show smallness, but it often also describes the material from which something is made.


-tva changes some noun X into "the quality of being X." In this way, it means the same thing as the English "-ness" suffix:


-maya changes some noun X into "consisting of X" or "being made of X."


The -ya suffix has various meanings. It means much the same thing as the -a suffix. But in the neuter gender, -ya usually means something like "the state of being X."