Spanish Suffixes: Another Meeting Point for English and Spanish (Part 2)


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In this second part of my blog dedicated to suffixes, we will check another four of the most recognizable particles shared by Spanish and English.

It must be said that, at least in the case of one of them, there are obvious differences in the way they are used that make them worthy of careful study to learn how they work properly, like in the case of the –al suffix.

I invite you to explore them here in more detail.

 

-ista

English equivalent: -ist

Usage: This suffix let us create nouns from other nouns, and it normally means ‘to be prone to support the modified noun’ or ‘to engage in some activity pertaining to the modified noun’. In the case of academic disciplines and certain professions, the English -ist ould become Spanish -ica/a, ólogo/a, -tra or some other endings, like in “physicist”, Spanish “físico/a”; “biologist”, Spanish “biólogo/a”, and “psychiatrist”, Spanish “psiquiatra”.

Examples:

  • “violinista” from “violín”, and “violinist” from “violin”
  • “artista” from “arte”, and “artist” from “art”
  • “egoísta” from “egoísmo”, and “egoist” from “egoism”
  • “budista” from “budismo”, and “Buddhist” from “Buddhism”
  • “ambientalista”/”ecologista” from “ambientalismo”/”ecologismo”, and “environmentalist”/”ecologist” from “environmentalism”/”ecologism”

 

-logía

English equivalent: logy/-ology

Usage: A very productive suffix in Spanish as well as in English, -logía and –logy turn nouns into other nouns describing the branch of an academic learning or the study of a subject. In other case, it is used to describe the way something is written or a particular way of speaking.

Examples:

  • “biología” and “biology
  • “citología” and “citology
  • “trilogía” and “trilogy
  • “analogía” and “analogy
  • “apología” and “apology”. In Spanish, it means ‘statement produced in support or defense of something’, while in English it is most commonly used with the meaning ‘expression of remorse or regret’

 

-al/-ar

English equivalent: -al/-ar

Usage: As an adjective maker, its usage in Spanish coincides to a great extent with that of English. But as a noun maker, it appearance differs greatly between the two languages, as -al/ar in Spanish tends to be used to describe a place where the modified noun is abundant, e.g., “arrozal”, meaning ‘ricefield, paddy’ from “arroz”, meaning ‘rice’, while in English it is used to form nouns referring to verbal actions, e.g., “proposal”, meaning “propuesta” from “to propose”, meaning ‘proponer’ in Spanish.

Also, it must be said that not all English adjectives ending in “-al” find a literal equivalent in Spanish; for example, English “canonical” is Spanish “canónico”; “millenial” is “milenario”, among other cases.

Examples:

  • “cultural” from “cultura”, and “cultural” from “culture”
  • “solar” from “sol”, and “solar” from Latin “sol”, as pertaining to or proceeding from the sun
  • “craneal” from “cráneo”, and “cranial” from “cranium”
  • “bacterial” from “bacteria” in both languages
  • “emocional” from “emoción”, and “emotional” from “emotion”

 

-ble

English equivalent: -able/-ible (usually changes verbs into adjectives)

Usage: A suffix usually changing verbs into adjectives, -ible is generally not productive in English, that is, most English words ending in -ible have been created from Latin verbs, or Old or Middle French verbs. Meanwhile, -able is more common for producing new words.

For Spanish, -ble allows to form adjectives meaning capacity or possibility to act according to the modified verbal action, as in English. The Spanish forms –able and –ible depend on the the endings of the Spanish verbs being modified: -able for the verbs ending in –ar, -ible for the verbs ending in –er or –ir.

Examples:

  • “indestructible” in both languages as an antonym for “destructible” (English “destroyable”, Spanish “destruible”)
  • “deducible” from “deducir”, and “deductible” from “to deduct”.
  • “responsable” from Latin “responsare”, and “responsible” from Old French “responsable”
  • “factible” from Medieval Latin “factibilis”, and “feasible” from Old French “fesable”
  • “rompible” from “romper”, and “breakable” from “to brake”

 

Don’t miss on the third part of my blog to keep learning about Spanish suffixes and their (sometimes perfectly alike) English equivalents.

 

 



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