STRUCTURAL FORMULA: SUFFIX AND PREFIXJanuary 31, 2022
“Activating ideas” activize verbs.
- Here, the verb remains separate ( the verb is separate from the activating idea)
The “activated faculty” modifies verbs.
- Here, the verb is joined (the activated faculty is joined to the verb).1
The activating idea is called the prefix (“that which is fixed before” – pre means “before”).
The activated faculty is called the suffix (“that which is fixed afterwards”).
In all the classical and organized languages of the world, there is a universal system of creating new words with the help of prefix, root verb and suffix, sometimes with only the root verb and the suffix.
The word suffix is derived sub + fix. Sub means “below” or “following” or “under”:
inspector sub-inspector judge sub-judge terranean subterranean marine submarine
Suffix means “that which comes after” – after the root verb. For instance, -ion, -al, -ty, etc.
donation, option, reception withdrawal, renewal, revival, survival purity, honesty, safety, security
In Sanskrit a suffix is called pratyaya (প্রত্যয়), which [literally] means “faith”. (A synonymous Sanskrit term is vishvása, (বিশ্বাস)2 There are approximately 722 suffixes in Sanskrit. Some instances: tvác (ত্বচ্), lyap (ল্যপ্), lyút (ল্যুট্ ), ghaiṋ (ঘঞ্), kta (ক্ত), etc.
A list of noun-words thus formed is given below:
ROOT VERB + SUFFIX WORD FORMED
act + ion = action opt + ion = option except + ion = exception quest + ion = question deviate + ion = deviation dismiss + al = dismissal remove + al = removal withdraw + al = withdrawl propose + al = proposal deny + al = denial betray + al = betrayal state + ment = statement punish + ment = punishment postpone + ment = postponement govern + ment = government advertise + ment = advertisement ship + ment = shipment judge + ment = judgement pay + ment = payment desctibe + tion = description prescribe + tion = prescription rectify + tion = rectification qualify + tion = qualification intend + tion = intention extend + tion = extension go + ing = going come + ing = coming run + ing = running read + ing = reading write + ing = writing In Sanskrit, sic or siṋc (সিচ্ or সিঞ্চ্) means to water, to irrigate, to sprinkle. Now if the noun-suffix -lyut́ is added to the verb sic, we get the word secana (সেচন – sic + lyut́). Similarly if another noun-suffix, -ghaiṋ, is added to sic, we get seka (সেক) or seca (সেচ) (as in abhiśeka, অভিষেক, or jalaseca, জলষেচ). If the suffix -kta (ক্ত) is added to the verb sic we get sikta (সিক্ত – “irrigated”, “watered”, “sprinkled”).
Ni (নি) – sic + kta = niśikta (নিষিক্ত), nisikta (নিসিক্ত). (This means “infused”.) Upa (উপ) – sic + lyut́ = upasecana (উপসেচন). This has two meanings: “sprinkling” and “clarified butter”. Pari (পরি) – sic + kta = parisikta (পরিসিক্ত). This means “well-irrigated”.
Every object in this creation has vibration, form and colour.
A particular colour, say, white, emanating from an object produces a kind of vibration in the mind somewhat like dhav-dhav-dhav.
Thus, the Sanskrit verb dhav (ধব) is created.
The addition of suffixes leads to new words: dhav + ac (অচ্) + lá (লা) + d́a (ড) = dhavala (“white”).
Similarly, the red colour produces in the mind a kind of vibration somewhat like t́ak-t́ak-t́ak (টক-টক-টক).
Thus, we get the word t́akt́ake lál (টকটকে লাল). The verbal perception becomes a word.
The moon creates a soothing feeling in the mind. Its verbal perception is called cand (চন্দ). The verbal form concerned is candati (চন্দতি – “soothing”).
Similarly, the verbal perception [associated with] moving at higher altitudes is called ind (ইন্দ্) and the verbal form concerned is indati (ইন্দতি), indatah (ইন্দতঃ), indanti (ইন্দন্তি).3 Thus we get the words candra (cand + rak, রক), indra (ind + rak). Indra means “lofty”, indra means “great”, indra means “very tall and high”, and hence it also means the shal tree, indra also means a chief or a king. That is why in mythology, the king of the gods is called “Devara’ja Indra”. Ind + un (উন) = Indu; Indu means the moon, “the one that moves at higher altitudes”.
Prefix The word prefix is derived pre + fix. Pre means “before”. Prefix means “the idea which comes before the root [word]”. In Sanskrit a prefix is called an upasarga (উপসর্গ).4 In Sanskrit there is a fixed number of twenty prefixes: pra, pará, apa, sam, anu, ava, nir, dur, abhi, vi, adhi, su, ut, ati, ni, prati, pari, upa, áun. English also has a good number of prefixes.
Now, many words can be formed adding prefixes to root verbs. Some instances [in the case of the Latin ceive]:
Receive: Ceive is a Latin root verb. Ceive means “to exchange, to get something in return”. Now if the verb ceive is preceded by the prefix re-, we get the word receive which means to “get” (e.g., “I received your letter dated . . .”) Its noun form is receipt.
Deceive: Similarly, if ceive is preceded by the prefix de-, we get the word deceive which means to “take away by cheating”. Its noun form is deceit (opposite form of receipt).
Conceive: Conceive means to “accept something in the mind, form an idea in the mind”. Its noun form is concept. It has another meaning also: to [come to] be in a family way [conceive a child]. Its noun form is conception.
Perceive: The verb perceive means to “subjectivize something objective”. This process of subjectivization of something objective is done with the help of five sensory organs as also the afferent or sensory nerves. Its noun form is perception.
In this connection one should pay particular attention to the spelling of words having the vowels i and e. The general usage of spelling in such cases is that i precedes e, that is, e comes after i, because the pronunciation of i is more emphatic than that of e.5 For instance: chief, thief, brief, friend, tied, tried, fried. But there are a few exceptions also in this regard, such as the verb ceive and its noun form ceipt: receive, deceive, perceive, conceive, and their noun forms; and also some words such as seizure, leisure,6counterfeit.7
[An instance with another English root verb:]
Infuse: To fuse means “to mix together, to blend”. When the verb fuse is prefixed by in-, we get the word infuse. Likewise, refuse, confuse, profuse, suffuse, defuse, etc.
[An instance in Sanskrit:]
The root verb bha (ভ) means “to illumine”, “to enlighten”. Bhá + kta = bháta, which means “enlightened, illumined”. If the Sanskrit prefix pra (প্র) comes before bháta (ভাত), we get the word prabháta, which means “enlightened in a proper way or in a progressive way”.
Further Use of Suffixes and Prefixes
Dislocate: In English [through the use of suffixes and prefixes] we get a large number of verbs from noun-words. For instance, there is a Latin root word locus. Locus means “place”. When someone or something is removed or transferred from one place to another, we say “He/she/it has been dislocated,” that is, the location arrangement has been deranged. Local train means a train which has been plying within a fixed or restricted periphery.
Embodiment: In the Anglo-Saxon tongue, there was a word board [meaning “border”]. It was pronounced “boad” (r remained mute). Board was finally transmuted [as it was pronounced] into boad (in Latin, corpor8); and “the object concerning boad” is body. Body means “something having borders or boundary lines”. When something abstract in relation to the physical is concerned, the prefix em- or en- is added, and the result is embodiment. It means “assuming the characteristics of something”.
In the case of an abstract idea, we sometimes use the word personified. For instance, when we want to explain the glamour of purity, we say, “He is purity personified.” That is, the purity has the status of a person. Likewise we say, “He is honesty personified,” “He is knowledge personified,” “He is bliss personified.” In all such cases we can also say, “He is an embodiment of honesty,” “He is an embodiment of knowledge,” “He is an embodiment of bliss,” etc.9
Enriched: When someone becomes the owner of something or becomes rich by possessing something we say enriched. For instance, “The literary works of Rabindranath Tagore enriched the Bengali language.” Likewise:
enlarge make things large enice make things as cold as ice enact make a bill into an act enable make one able encage confine one in a cage enclose close on all sides engolden make something look like gold (“engoldened by the elixer of human touch”) envelop enclose something with a covering The prefixes a- and o- before causatives: In the case of [root words, especially] causatives, prefixed by a or o, the succeeding consonant is doubled.* For instance:
grand aggrandize (to make something grand) count account (to make or render reckoning, as of funds received and paid out) [credit] accredit (to ascribe or attribute credit) cult occult [that which is earned though cult] But if it is not a light vowel (a or o), the succeeding consonant is not doubled. For example, semble after a- becomes assemble; semble after re- becomes resemble (one s).
assume, but resume acquire, but require acquisition, but requisition
(1) Three sentences from “Upasarga-Pratyaya Nutaner Abhyudaya” (“The Role of Prefixes and Suffixes in the Emergence of New Words”) in Vyákárańa Vijiṋána (“The Science of Grammar”) Part 2, 1989. Retr. by the editors for this edition. In some languages the verb-roots become functional words only with the addition of a suffix; but can function with or without a prefix. –Eds.
(2) Words originate in acoustic roots, primordial sounds. A suffix added to the acoustic root creates the conviction, or “faith”, that what was just a sound is now a word with a grammatical function. –Eds.
(3) The third-person singular, third-person dual, and third-person plural present indicative forms of ind. –Eds.
(4) An upasarga is defined as coming before a root verb, specifically, because in the acoustic science of the Indo-Aryan culture, it was understood that all parts of speech originate as verbs. –Eds.
(5) See also Chapter 14. –Eds.
(6) “Short rest”: “Teachers are engaged in conversation in their leisure period.”
(7) Counterfeit coin or base coin: in ordinary English base, in good English counterfeit.
(8) [Of which the adjective is] corporal.
(9) In such cases in Sanskrit, the suffix -mayat́ (ময়ট) is used. For instance, dayámaya (দয়াময় - dayá + mayat́ – “kindness personified” – “Lord Buddha was kindness personified”), guńamaya (গুণময় – “quality personified”), shubhamaya (শুভময় – “righteousness personified”), kalyáńamaya (কল্যাণময় – “welfare personified”).
(*) See also the examples at the end of Chapter 14. –Eds.