See also: Part of speech, Morphology, Grammatical category, and Ontology

Verbs form the backbone of language and of reality itself.

  • An event is an instance of a verb in the same way that "John" is an instance of "human".

Reality is made up of

  • Objects (nouns)
    • The attributes of an object are adjectives
  • Actions (verbs) which alter the attributes of objects
    • The attributes of an action are adverbs
  • Rules
    • Events cause other events according to precise rules.

Objects and actions with similar attributes belong to the same type. Sometimes a type is just a single property (solid, liqid, gas). Common attributes are:

  • Location
  • Velocity
  • Type of motion
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Composition
  • Color
  • What is it a part of
  • What objects are part of it
  • Who owns it

Objects are named for:

  • What action happened to it that caused it to exist
    • Sedimentary rocks: rocks created by an act of sedimentation
  • What action it does, or makes other things do, that makes it useful (and which is usually what caused it to exist)
    • screwdriver: tool created by someone that needed to drive screws

Even adjectives are verbs in disguise:

  • hungry: to hunger

Adjectives are modified by adverbs:

  • he is exceedingly quick (he runs quickly)

Attributes are the subject of pure science

  • length, shape, velocity are the subject of geometry.

Real world objects are the subject of applied science.

Many words can be broken down into simpler words:

Who = What person
Where = What place
Here = This place
There = That place
Yesterday = Previous day
Today = This day
Tomorrow = Next day
My = Of me
His = Of him

The obvious question, of course, is what is the simplest set of words that can form a language. What are the atoms of the language universe.

Most of the words below are from Wikipedia:Appendix:Basic English word list

Structure words

See also: Function word


See also: Determiner


  • a, an, the


  • this, that, these, other, same
  • such,
  • next, previous

Possessive determiner

Possessive is not just used for buying and selling. For example: He possesses great courage. His great courage is an attribute that "belongs" to him.

  • of


  • 1, 2, 3,
  • 4, 8, 12,
  • 16, 256,
  • all, every, most, some, no, (time, place, one, thing, occasion)
  • many, few, several,
  • much, little,
  • enough

Distributive determiners

  • each, any,
  • either, neither

Interrogative determiners

  • which, what, whose


Personal pronouns

  • First person
    • I, me
  • Second person
    • you (you)
  • Third person
    • he, him, she, her, it (they, them)
  • First + Second person
    • we, us
  • First + third person
    • we, us
  • First + Second + Third person
    • we, us

Possessive pronouns

  • First person
    • my
  • Second person
    • your
  • Third person
    • his, her, its

Reciprocal pronouns

  • each other, one another


  • same
  • other


See also: Preposition

Besides their literal use to indicate direction prepositions are also used to create Phrasal verbs. The meaning of a phrasal verb often cannot be inferred from the meaning of the individual words.

  • Throw up
  • look after
  • pick on
  • take after
  • pass for
  • stand by

Idiom: An established expression whose meaning is not deducible from the literal meanings of its component words, often peculiar to a given language.


through, throughout
to, toward, towards

during, while
till, until


  • up, down
  • forward, back
  • right, left, sideways
  • north, south, east, west,
  • parallel


  • above, over
  • atop, ontop
  • upon


  • below
  • beneath
  • under, underneath


  • before
  • opposite


  • after,
  • behind
  • beyond
  • past


  • beside


  • amid


  • among
  • between
  • in, inside, into
  • within


  • around
  • out, outside
  • without


  • about
  • at
  • by
  • near


  • across
  • against
  • along
  • on, onto
  • off


  • for
  • as, like
  • of
  • than
  • with


See also: Conjunction
  • Coordinating
    • For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So, Consequently
  • Correlative
    • either...or
    • not only...but (also)
    • neither...nor
    • both...and
    • whether...or
    • just
    • the...the
    • as
    • no sooner...than
    • rather...than
  • Subordinating
    • after, although, as, as far as, as if, as long as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, every time, if, in order that, since, so, so that, than, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever

Auxiliary verbs

  • start, begin,
  • continue, persist
  • stop, finish, end, cease

  • intend,
  • dare,
  • tend,
  • try,
  • seem,
  • choose,
  • help
have (has, had, having),
be (am, are, is, was, were, being, been),
will have
do (does, did),
strong force causing must, need
slight force causing ought, should
Able Certain Allowed
Unconditional can will, shall may
Conditional could would might

Sentence words

  • ouch,
  • wow,
  • damn,
  • hey, hi
  • bye,
  • okay,
  • oh,
  • m-hm,
  • huh,
  • uh, *er, *um
  • yes, no
  • okay,
  • please,


  • approximately
  • undoubtedly
  • surprisingly


  • Change: behave, act

  • Information (true/false): assert,
    • Set theory (set of all objects for which something is true):
  • Graph theory (see also: Line graph): arrange, connect, sort
    • Number theory: extend, add, count, increase, number,
      • Geometry:
        • Vector fields:

  • Time: wait,
  • Space: cover (over), come, go, send, put,
    • Move: distribute, drop, fall, flow, fly, gather, move, roll, scatter, transport, turn, meet,

  • Substance: boil, exist, freeze, melt, burn, heat, cook,
  • Interact: affect, cause, compare, depend, experience, react, relate,
  • Phenomena: wave
  • Physics: blow, expand, hang, lift, measure, rub, shake, shock, slip, support, touch, twist,
    • Force: attract, pull, push,

  • Structure: contain (within), fold, join, stretch, wash,
    • Destruct: break, crush, cut, divide, smash,
  • Life: bear, die, grow, live, reproduce,
  • Body:
    • bite, cough, drink, kiss, smile, talk, voice, whistle,
    • breathe, sneeze,
    • cry, laugh,
    • digest,
    • grasp, grip,
    • jump, kick, run, step, walk,
    • rest, sleep,
    • swim,
  • Sense:
    • feel,
    • hear,
    • look, observe, see, view,
    • smell, taste,

  • Mind:
    • believe, deceive, discover, doubt, dream, expect, know, opine, pretend, reason, surprise, think, trick,
      • investigate, test,
    • decide, select,
    • amuse, care, desire, enjoy, hope, love, respect,
    • fear, hate, regret,
  • Signs: represent, signal, sign language
  • Words: agree, answer, argue, discuss, point, question, request, say, sing, state, suggest,
    • Educate: learning, teaching,
  • Drawing: draw, mark, print,
    • Write: read, record,
  • Organize: approve, control, direct, govern, guide, judge, lead, manage(r), protest, rule, serve,
    • Punish: attack, fight, wound,
  • Play:
  • Commerce: get, give, have, keep, lose, offer, take,
    • Money: exchange, own, pay, reward, trade, value,
    • Business: compete, contract, demand, insure, marry, supply, waste,
  • Make: develop, invent, produce, work, fix, replicate
    • Clothing: stitch,
  • Transportation: journey,
  • Tools: adjust, drive, operate, use,



Set theory: group
Quantification: Number, amount



Animal: body, food, clothing, shelter, senses, locomotion (slide, crawl, wiggle)

Words: education, knowledge, writing, math, science
Civilization: authority, law, judge, police, punishment, religion, society
Money: occupation, buy, sell, business, profit, value
Transportation: vehicle


  • fact, order




  • hour, minute, second
  • day, night, morning, evening
  • week, month, year, decade, century
  • spring, summer, autumn, winter


  • distance, position, place, size, space, velocity,
  • slope, angle, direction
  • ball, circle, curve, form, line, square, ring, round, shape,
  • front, middle, back, edge,


  • color, event, light, process, wave,


substance: elements, mass, material, weight,

  • gas: air, steam
  • liquid: water, oil, ink, paint
  • jelly:
  • solid: ice, glass, stone, chalk, salt, coal
  • powder: dust, sand
  • metal: brass, copper, gold, iron, silver, steel, tin,
  • life: cotton, wood, wool, leather, linen, paper, silk, wax, sugar, cork,


  • sky: sun, moon, star, planet
    • weather: cloud, thunder, rain, snow, wind
  • earth: country, field, land, mountain
    • life: forest, garden
  • water: sea, harbour, island, river


  • container: bag, basin, basket, bottle, box, bucket, cup, kettle, pot, part
  • fasten: screw, nail, hook, knot
  • break:
  • parts: board, brick, frame



  • parent: father, mother
  • child: son, daughter
  • sibling: brother, sister


  • plant: grass, herb, tree, vine
Plant parts
  • branch, stem, stick
  • root: potato
  • leaf:
  • flower:
  • grain: rice, seed, nut



  • fish:
  • bird: fowl
  • pet: cat, dog
  • insect: ant, bee
  • farm: cow, goat, horse, pig, sheep
  • reptile: snake
  • other: monkey, rat, worm
  • egg
Animal parts


  • upper part: head, eyes, mouth, ear, chin, face, nose, neck, throat, tongue, lip
  • front part: chest
  • back part: back, tail
  • extremities: arm, finger, hand, thumb, wing
  • lower part: leg, foot, knee, toe
  • exterior: skin, hair, feather, horn, tooth,
  • interior: muscle, blood, bone, nerve, heart, stomach, brain


  • disease

food: meal

  • bread, cake
  • dairy: butter, cheese, milk,
  • fruit: apple, berry, orange,
  • meat:
  • soup:
  • wine:


  • head: hat
  • torso: shirt, coat,
  • waist: trousers, dress, skirt
  • hand: glove
  • foot: sock, shoe, boot, stocking
  • part: collar, pocket, thread


  • building: door, floor, room, roof, window, wall, arch
  • Move: Walk, run, fly, swim



  • baby
  • child: boy, girl
  • adult: man, woman

acquaintance: friend, enemy


mind: attention, comfort, disgust, humour, idea, interest, memory, mind, music, pain, pleasure, purpose, shame, surprise,

  • name, word,
  • book, pen, pencil, letter, page, note, prose, story, verse, language, news

science: theory


authority, crime, law, nation, peace, society, war,




money: business, company, credit, debt, industry, market, money, price, profit, property, receipt, secretary, tax,

  • church: place of worship
  • farm: place of agriculture
  • hospital: place of healing
  • house: place of residing
  • library: place of reading
  • school: place of learning
  • store: place of buying
  • town: place of living
  • prison: place of imprisonment
  • office: place of officiating


  • apparatus, instrument, machine,


  • watch, clock


  • brake, spring


  • sewing, needle


  • spoon, fork, plate, tray
  • hammer: hammer
  • cut:knife, blade, scissors
  • dig:spade
  • farm: plough
  • brush: brush
  • comb: comb
  • pump: pump
  • catch: net
  • threaten: whip, gun, army
  • rain: umbrella
  • lock: lock, key
  • sound: band, bell,
  • ornament: jewel


bath, bed, clock, curtain, drawer, oven, shelf, table, chair



  • water: boat, ship
  • air: plane
  • rail: train
  • road: carriage, cart,
Vehicle parts
  • engine, sail, wheel


  • path: road, bridge, rail


  • bulb, button,
  • camera, card, chain, cord, cushion,
  • drain,
  • flag,
  • hole
  • map, match,
  • parcel, picture, pin, pipe,
  • rod,
  • sponge, stamp, station,
  • ticket,
  • wire,

  • account, advertisement, art,
  • balance, base, bit, burst,
  • canvas, chance, colour, committee, condition, crack, current,
  • damage, danger, degree, design, detail,
  • error, example, expert,
  • fiction,
  • harmony, history,
  • impulse,
  • level, limit, list,
  • mine, mist,
  • noise,
  • ornament,
  • paste, poison, porter, power,
  • quality,
  • range, rate, ray, rhythm,
  • scale, seat, self, sense, sex, shade, sign, smoke, soap, sound, stage, system,
  • trouble,
  • unit,
  • way, weight,


able, acid, alike, angry, automatic
cheap, chemical, chief, clear, common, conscious
elastic, electric, equal
fat, fertile, flat, free, frequent
general, great
healthy, hollow
medical, military
natural, necessary, normal
physical, political, possible, present, probable
ready, regular, responsible
separate, serious, sticky, stiff, sudden
thick, tired


awake, asleep
bent, straight
(better, worse)
bitter, sweet
cold, hot
cruel, kind
dark, bright
dead, alive
deep, shallow

different, same
dirty, clean
dry, wet
false, true
feeble, strong
foolish, wise
full, empty
future, past
good, bad
ill, well
last, first
late, early
left, right
loose, tight

loud, quiet
low, high
male, female
narrow, wide
old, new
public, private
right, wrong
rich, poor
rough, smooth
sad, happy
sharp, dull

short, long
shut, open
simple, complex
slow, fast
small, large
soft, hard
thin, wide
warm, cool



  • first, second, third, fourth (item number one, item number two...)


  • blue, green, yellow, orange, red
  • white, grey, black
  • brown


Adverbs are considered a part of speech in traditional English grammar, and are still included as a part of speech in grammar taught in schools and used in dictionaries. However, modern grammarians recognize that words traditionally grouped together as adverbs serve a number of different functions. Some describe adverbs a "catch-all" category that includes all words that do not belong to one of the other parts of speech

  • near, far
  • upward, downward
  • forward, backward
  • northward, southward, eastward, westward
  • then
  • there
  • so
  • very
  • quite
  • well
  • almost
  • even
  • only
  • again
  • ever
  • still
  • together
  • approximately
  • undoubtedly


  • no
  • not
  • un-
  • anti-
  • in-, im-, il-, ir-
  • dis-

Noun types

Proper nouns vs common nouns

  • John vs human

Countable and uncountable nouns

  • Chair vs furniture (many vs much)

Collective nouns

  • committee

Concrete nouns and abstract nouns

  • Rock vs justice

Noun Declension

The word "sheep" is its own plural. To indicate more than one sheep we would say "multiple sheep". In some languages all the words are their own plurals.

From Wikipedia:Declension: number

  • singular
  • dual
  • plural


  • nominative case
  • accusative case
  • genitive case
  • dative case


  • masculine
  • neuter
  • feminine

Verb types

From Wikipedia:Verb:

Intransitive verbs

Does not have a direct object

  • The boy wept.

Transitive verbs

Has a direct object

  • My friend read the newspaper

Ditransitive verbs

Has a direct object and an indirect object

  • The players gave their teammates high fives

Double transitive verbs

Has a direct object and a complement

  • The young couple considers the neighbors wealthy people

Linking verbs

Can't be followed by an adverb or end a sentence, but instead must be followed by a noun or adjective

  • Josh remained a reliable friend

Verb conjugation

From Wikipedia:Grammatical conjugation:


  • active, passive, self


  • past, present, future, infinitive
  • (earlier, now, later)
  • (just earlier, right now, just about)


  • in progress, completed,
in progress complete
earlier he was building a house he had built a house
now he is building a house he built a house
later he will be building a house he will have built a house



  • nominative, accusative, dative and genitive


  • I, you, he


  • single, plural


  • male, female


  • possessor, possessed


  • a, the


  • tu, vos


  • causation (rise → raise)


  • inclusive "we", exclusive "we"


  • question


  • direct objects


  • impersonal, intransitive, transitive, ditransitive, tritransitive


  • affirmation, negation


  • complete, incomplete (John built a house in a month vs John built houses for a month)


  • intentional, unintentional


  • surprise


  • hearsay, personal observation


  • how sentient or alive the referent is.


  • group associated with X


  • Plural


  • each other


  • routine habit

Language types

See also: Morphological typology

From Wikipedia:Isolating language
Historically, languages were divided into three basic types:

  • Isolating
  • Flectional (Fusional languages)
  • Agglutinative

The traditional morphological types can be categorized by two distinct parameters:

  • Morpheme per word ratio (how many morphemes there are per word)
  • Degree of fusion between morphemes (how separable words' inflectional morphemes are according to units of meaning represented)

The English term "rice" is a single word consisting of only one morpheme (rice).

  • This word has a 1:1 morpheme per word ratio.

In contrast, "handshakes" is a single word consisting of three morphemes (hand, shake, -s).

  • This word has a 3:1 morpheme per word ratio.

The Russian word vídyat/видят 'they see' has a morpheme per word ratio of 2:1, having two morphemes:

  • The root vid-/вид-, which conveys the imperfective aspect meaning,
  • The inflectional morpheme -yat/-ят which inflects for four units of meaning (3rd person subject, plural subject, present/future tense, indicative mood).

Effectively, it has four units of meaning in one inseparable morpheme

From Wikipedia:Morpheme:

Derivational morphemes, when combined with a root, change either the semantic meaning or part of speech of the affected word.

  • Happiness: changes the word from an adjective (happy) to a noun (happiness).

Inflectional morphemes modify a verb's tense, aspect, mood, person, or number, or a noun's, pronoun's or adjective's number, gender or case, without affecting the word's meaning or class (part of speech).

  • Waited: changes to past tense without changing the meaning of "wait".

Analytic language

From Wikipedia:Analytic language
An analytic language is a language that primarily conveys relationships between words in sentences by way of helper words (particles, prepositions, etc.) and word order, as opposed to utilizing inflections. An analytic language can lack inflectional morphemes yet still have derivational morphemes.

Isolating language

From Wikipedia:Isolating language
An isolating language is a type of language with a very low morpheme per word ratio and no inflectional morphology whatsoever. In the extreme case, each word contains a single morpheme.

Synthetic language

From Wikipedia:Synthetic language
A synthetic language uses inflection or agglutination to express syntactic relationships within a sentence

Agglutinative language

From Wikipedia:Agglutinative language
An agglutinative language is a type of synthetic language with morphology that primarily uses agglutination. Words may contain different morphemes to determine their meanings, but all of these morphemes (including stems and affixes) remain, in every aspect, unchanged after their unions.

Fusional language

From Wikipedia:Fusional language
Fusional languages or inflected languages (or inflectional or flectional in older terminology) are a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features.

Polysynthetic language

From Wikipedia:Polysynthetic language
Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i.e. languages in which words are composed of many morphemes (word parts that have independent meaning but may or may not be able to stand alone). They are very highly inflected languages. Polysynthetic languages typically have long "sentence-words"

Oligosynthetic language

From Wikipedia:Oligosynthetic language
An oligosynthetic language (from the Greek ὀλίγος, meaning "few" or "little") is any language using very few morphemes, perhaps only a hundred, which combine synthetically to form statements. Oligosynthesis is almost entirely theoretical and would depend heavily on the creation of lengthy compound words, to an extent far exceeding that of natural polysynthetic languages

Word frequency

See also: Wikipedia:Most common words in English

From Wikipedia:Brown Corpus:

One interesting result is that even for quite large samples, graphing words in order of decreasing frequency of occurrence shows a hyperbola: the frequency of the n-th most frequent word is roughly proportional to 1/n. Thus "the" constitutes nearly 7% of the Brown Corpus, "to" and "of" more than another 3% each; while about half the total vocabulary of about 50,000 words are hapax legomena: words that occur only once in the corpus.

This simple rank-vs.-frequency relationship was noted for an extraordinary variety of phenomena by George Kingsley Zipf, and is known as Zipf's law.

The word "the" forms 0.07 of the words in an average text. 1/0.07 = 14.2857142857

Most common words in English

A list of 25 words that occur most frequently in written English is given below, based on an analysis of the Oxford English Corpus.

Word Parts of speech OEC rank COCA rank Dolch level
the Article 1 1 Pre-primer
be Verb 2 2 primer
to Preposition 3 7, 9 Pre-primer
of Preposition 4 4 Grade 1
and Conjunction 5 3 Pre-primer
a Article 6 5 Pre-primer
in Preposition 7 6, 128, 3038 Pre-primer
that Conjunction et al. 8 12, 27, 903 primer
have Verb 9 8 primer
I Pronoun 10 11 Pre-primer
it Pronoun 11 10 Pre-primer
for Preposition 12 13, 2339 Pre-primer
not Adverb et al. 13 28, 2929 Pre-primer
on Preposition 14 17, 155 primer
with Preposition 15 16 primer
he Pronoun 16 15 primer
as Adverb, conjunction, et al. 17 33, 49, 129 Grade 1
you Pronoun 18 14 Pre-primer
do Verb, noun 19 18 primer
at Preposition 20 22 primer
this Determiner, adverb, noun 21 20, 4665 primer
but Preposition, adverb, conjunction 22 23, 1715 primer
his Possessive pronoun 23 25, 1887 Grade 1
by Preposition 24 30, 1190 Grade 1
from Preposition 25 26 Grade 1

By parts of speech

The following is the list of most common written words subdivided by part of speech.

  1. time
  2. person
  3. year
  4. way
  5. day
  6. thing
  7. man
  8. world
  9. life
  10. hand
  11. part
  12. child
  13. eye
  14. woman
  15. place
  16. work
  17. week
  18. case
  19. point
  20. government
  21. company
  22. number
  23. group
  24. problem
  25. fact
  1. be
  2. have
  3. do
  4. say
  5. get
  6. make
  7. go
  8. know
  9. take
  10. see
  11. come
  12. think
  13. look
  14. want
  15. give
  16. use
  17. find
  18. tell
  19. ask
  20. work
  21. seem
  22. feel
  23. try
  24. leave
  25. call
  1. good
  2. new
  3. first
  4. last
  5. long
  6. great
  7. little
  8. own
  9. other
  10. old
  11. right
  12. big
  13. high
  14. different
  15. small
  16. large
  17. next
  18. early
  19. young
  20. important
  21. few
  22. public
  23. bad
  24. same
  25. able
  1. to
  2. of
  3. in
  4. for
  5. on
  6. with
  7. at
  8. by
  9. from
  10. up
  11. about
  12. into
  13. over
  14. after
  1. the
  2. and
  3. a
  4. that
  5. I
  6. it
  7. not
  8. he
  9. as
  10. you
  11. this
  12. but
  13. his
  14. they
  15. her
  16. she
  17. or
  18. an
  19. will
  20. my
  21. one
  22. all
  23. would
  24. there
  25. their


Anti- against
De- opposite
Dis- opposite
Em- En- cause to
Fore- before
In- Im- in
In-, im-, il-, ir- not
Inter- between
Mid- middle
Mis- wrongly
Non- not
Over- over
Pre- before
Re- again
Semi- half
Sub- under
Super- over
Trans- across
Un- not
Under- under


bo- relation by marriage, -in-law bopatro (a father-in-law); boparenciĝi (to marry into a family, from parenco 'a relative' and -iĝi); boedziĝi (to marry one's dead brother's wife, from edziĝi 'to marry'); boedzino (a sister-wife); boamiko ([jocular] a friend of one's spouse)
dis- separation, scattering disĵeti (to throw about, from 'throw'); dissendi (to distribute, from 'send'); disatomi (to split by atomic fission, from 'atom'); disliberiĝi (to escape in all directions, like pages dropping from a book with a disintegrated binding, from 'free' and -iĝi); dis! (scram!)
ek- beginning, sudden, or momentary action (often perfective) ekbrilo (a flash [of lightning], from 'shine'); ekami (to fall in love); ekkrii (to cry out); ekvidi (to catch sight of); eki (to start); ekde (inclusive 'from'); ek al la batalo! (off to war!); ek! (hop to!)
eks- former, ex- eksedzo (an ex-husband); eksbovo (a steer [jocular, from 'bull']); eksa (former); ekskutima (previously customary); Eks la estro! (Down with our leader!)
fi- shameful, nasty, disgusting, filthy fihomo (a wicked person); fimensa (foul-minded); fivorto (a profane word); fibuŝo (a dirty mouth); fibesto (vermin, from 'animal, beast'); fia (vile); fie! (For shame!); Fi al vi! (Shame on you!)
ge- both sexes together gepatroj (parents); gepatrano (a parent); gesinjoroj (ladies and gentlemen); la geZamenhofoj (the Zamenhofs); gelernejo (a coeducational school); gedormi (to sleep together); geulo (a hermaphrodite); geiĝi (to pair up, to mate); gea (heterosexual)
mal- antonym malgranda (small, from 'large'); malriĉa (poor, from 'rich'); malplena (empty, from 'full'); malino (a male [jocular], from -ino); maldekstrume (counter-clockwise [see -um]); nemalobeebla leĝo (a law that cannot be disobeyed, from obe- 'to obey'), mala (opposite)
mis- incorrectly, awry misloki (to misplace); misakuzi (to wrongly accuse); misfamiga (disparaging, from fama 'well-known' and the causative suffix -ig); mise (incorrectly)
pra- great-(grand-), primordial, primitive, proto- praavo (a great-grandfather); prapatro (a forefather); prabesto (a prehistoric beast); prahejmo (ancestral home); prahindeŭropa (Proto-Indo-European)
re- over again, back again resendi (to send back); rekonstrui (to rebuild); resalti (to rebound, from 'jump'); rediri (to repeat); reaboni (to renew a subscription, from 'subscribe'); rebrilo (reflection, glare, from 'shine'); reira bileto (a return ticket, from iri 'to go'); refoje (once again, from '[x] times'); ĝis (la) revido ("au revoir", from ĝis 'until' and vido 'sight')




-aĉ- pejorative (expresses negative affect or a poor opinion of the object or action) skribaĉi (to scrawl, from 'write'); veteraĉo (foul weather); domaĉo (a hovel, from 'house'); rigardaĉi (to gape at, from 'look at'); belaĉa (tawdry, from 'beautiful'); aĵaĉo (junk, from -aĵo); aĉigi (to screw up, with -igi); aĉ ! (yuck!)
-adi, -ado frequent, repeated, or continual action (often imperfective); as a noun, an action or process kuradi (to keep on running); parolado (a speech, from 'talk, speak'); adi (to carry on); ada (continual)
-aĵo a concrete manifestation; (with a noun root) a product manĝaĵo (food, from 'eat'); novaĵo (news, a novelty, from 'new'); glaciaĵo (an ice[cream], from 'ice'); bovaĵo (beef, from 'bovine'); aĉigaĵo (a snafu, from -aĉ and -igi); aĵo (a thing);
-ano a member, follower, participant, inhabitant kristano (a Christian); marksano (a Marxist); usonano (a US American) [cf. amerikano (a continental American)]; ŝipano (a crew member); samkursano (a classmate, from 'same' and 'course'); samideano (a kindred spirit, from 'same' and 'idea'); ano (a member)
-aro a collective group without specific number arbaro (a forest, from 'tree'); vortaro (a dictionary, from 'word' [a set expression]); homaro (humanity, from 'human' [a set expression; 'crowd, mob' is homamaso]); ŝafaro (a flock of sheep); kataro (a clowder of cats); ŝiparo (a fleet of ships); anaro (a society [group of members], from -ano); aro (a herd, group, set)
-ĉjo masculine affectionate form; the root is truncated Joĉjo (Jack); paĉjo (daddy); fraĉjo (bro); amiĉjo (dear friend); la iĉjoj (the 'boys')
-ebla possible kredebla (believable); videbla (visible); eble (possibly)
-eco an abstract quality amikeco (friendship); bono or boneco (goodness); italeca (Italianesque); ecaro (character [sum of qualities], with -aro)
-eg- augmentative; sometimes pejorative connotations when used with people domego (a mansion, from 'house'); virego (a giant, from 'man'); librego (a tome, from 'book'); varmega (boiling hot); ridegi (to guffaw, from 'laugh'); ega (great, humongous)
-ejo a place characterized by the root (not used for toponyms) lernejo (a school, from 'to learn'), vendejo (a store, from 'to sell'), juĝejo (a court, from 'to judge'), kuirejo (a kitchen, from 'to cook'), hundejo (a kennel, from 'dog'), senakvejo (a desert, from 'without water'); devenejo (provenance, from 'to come from'); ejo (the appropriate place)
-ema having a propensity, tendency ludema (playful), parolema (talkative), kredema (credulous, from 'believe'); brulema (flammable, from 'burn'); emo (inclination); malema (unwilling, with mal-)
-enda[1] mandatory pagenda (payable), legendaĵo (required reading)
-ero the smallest part ĉenero (a link, from 'chain'); fajrero (a spark, from 'fire'); neĝero (a snowflake, from 'snow'), kudrero (a stitch, from 'sew'), lignero (a splinter, from 'wood'); okulero (an ommatidium, from 'eye'); usonero (a U.S. state, from 'USA'); vortero (a morpheme, from 'word'); ero (a crumb etc.); eriĝema (friable)
-estro a leader, boss lernejestro (a school principal [see -ejo]); urbestro (a mayor, from 'city'); centestro (a centurion, from 'hundred'); usonestro (a president of the United States, from 'USA'); estraro (board of directors, with -aro)
-et- diminutive; sometimes affectionate connotations when used with people dometo (a hut, from 'house'); libreto (a booklet); varmeta (lukewarm); rideti (to smile, from 'laugh'); rompeti (to crack, fracture, from 'break'); boleti (to simmer, from 'boil'); ete (slightly)
-io a country named after a geographic feature, and now after an ethnicity Meksikio (Mexico, from 'Mexico City'); Niĝerio (Nigeria, from 'the river Niger'); Anglio (England, from 'English person'); patrio (fatherland, from 'father') [cannot be used as a root io, because that means 'something']
-iĉo male [unofficial] (see gender below)
-ido an offspring, descendent katido (a kitten); reĝido (a prince, from 'king'); arbido (a sapling, from 'tree'); izraelido (an Israelite); ido (a kit, pup, kid, etc.); idaro (a clan, tribe, with -aro)
-igi to make, to cause (transitivizer/causative) mortigi (to kill, from 'die'); purigi (to clean); konstruigi (to have built); igi (to cause)
-iĝi to become (intransitivizer/inchoative/middle voice) amuziĝi (to enjoy oneself); naskiĝi (to be born); ruĝiĝi (to blush, from 'red'); aniĝi (to join, from -ano); iĝi (to become)
-ilo an instrument ludilo (a toy, from 'play'); tranĉilo (a knife, from 'cut'); helpilo (a remedy, from 'help'); solvilo (a solution, from 'solve'); ilo (a tool); ilaro (equipment, set of tools, with -aro)
-ino female bovino (a cow); patrino (a mother); studentino (a female student); ino (a female)
-inda worthy of memorinda (memorable); kredinda (credible, from 'believe'); fidinda (dependable, trustworthy, from 'trust'); plorindaĵo (something to cry about, from 'weep, cry' and -aĵo); inda (worthy)
-ingo a holder, sheath glavingo (a scabbard, from 'sword'); kandelingo (a candle-holder); dentingo (a tooth socket); ŝraŭbingo (a nut, from 'bolt'), piedingo (stirrup, from 'foot'); kuglingo (a cartridge, from 'bullet'); ingo (a socket, etc.)
-ismo a doctrine, system (as in English) komunismo (Communism); kristanismo (Christianity); ismo (an ism)
-isto person professionally or avocationally occupied with an idea or activity (a narrower use than in English) instruisto (teacher); dentisto (dentist); abelisto (a beekeeper); komunisto (a communist); registaro (a government, from 'rule, govern' and -aro)
-njo feminine affectionate form; the root is truncated Jonjo (Joanie); panjo (mommy); anjo (granny); onjo (aunty); vanjo (nanny, from 'nurse'); aminjo (dear friend); la injoj (the 'girls', from -ino or -ido)
-obla multiple duobla (double); trioble (triply); oble (more than once)
-ono fraction duona (half [of]); centono (one hundredth); dekonaĵo (a tithe, from 'ten' and -aĵo); ono (a fraction); onigi (to divide into equal parts, with -igi)
-ope in a collective group of specific number duope (two together; by twos = po du); triopo (a trilogy); kiomope (how many together?); arope (together in a group, from -aro); gutope (drop by drop, from 'drop'; = pogute); unuopa (isolated, individual); opo (a group, unit, team); opa (collective)
-ujo a (loose) container, country (archaic when referring to a political entity), a tree of a certain fruit (archaic) monujo (a purse, from 'money'); salujo (a saltshaker, from 'salt'); lavujo (a washbasin, from 'wash'); abelujo (a beehive, from 'bee'); Anglujo (England [Anglio in current usage]); Kurdujo (Kurdistan, the Kurdish lands); pomujo (appletree [now pomarbo]); ujo (a container)
-ulo one characterized by the root junulo (a youth); sanktulo (a saint, from 'holy'); abocoulo (a beginning reader, from aboco "ABC's"); mamulo (a mammal, from 'breast'); proksimulo (a neighbor, from 'near'); multinfanulino (a woman with many children, from multa 'many' and infano 'child'); senindulo (someone without merit, from 'without' and the suffix -ind); aĉulo ~ ulaĉo (a wretch, from the suffix aĉ); tiamulo (a contemporary, from 'then'); etulino (a wisp of a girl); ulo (a fellow)
-um- undefined ad hoc suffix
(used sparingly: see list)
kolumo (a collar, from 'neck'); krucumi (to crucify, from 'cross'); malvarmumo (a cold, from 'cold'); plenumi (to fulfill, from 'full'); brakumi (to hug, from 'arm'); amindumi (to woo, from 'lovable' [see -ind]); dekstrume (clockwise, from 'right'); kortumo (appellate court, from 'court(yard)'); mondumo (high society, from 'world'); komunumo (a community, from 'common'); proksimume (approximately, from 'near'); deksesuma (hexadecimal, from '16'); umo (a thingamajig)

Creating nouns from verbs

-man person who ?'s postman
-worker worker who ?'s postal worker
-er thing that ?'s
-ee thing that gets ?'s
-ee ? dweller tree dweller
-ance appearance
-tion act of ?'s description
-ment instance of ? agreement
-?? tool used to ?'s
-?? animal that ?'s bird=flyer
-?? body part used to ? wing=flyer
-?? item used to cover ? hat=head covering


External link: MRI's of speech and IPA

Typical speech is about 10 phonemes per second. English averages about 4 syllables per second.


See also: Place of articulation and Manner of articulation

From Wikipedia:Template:IPA pulmonic consonants:

IPA pulmonic consonants
Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
Nasal m ɱ n ɳ ny ng ɴ
Stop p b t d ʈ ɖ k ɡ q ɢ ʡ ʔ
Affricate p̪f b̪v t̪θ d̪ð ts dz c j ʈʂ ɖʐ ky gy kx ɡɣ ʡʢ ʔh
Fricative ɸ β f v th dh s z ch jh ʂ ʐ hy ʝ kh gh χ rh ħ ʕ h ɦ
Approximant w ʋ l ɻ y ɰ ɹ ʔ̞
Received Pronunciation
Bilabial Labio-
Dental Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyn-
Nasal m n ng
Stop p b t d k ɡ
Affricate ch j
Fricative f v th dh s z sh zh hy h
Approximant w l y r


Non-Mid Mid
Front Back Front Back
Tense Close beat ü ɤ̞ boy bait ø ɤ boat
Open bite ɶ bot bought ø̞ ɯ boot
Lax Close bit ʏ ɨ ʉ bet œ but ɔ
Open ä ɒ̈ bat bout ɜ burt ɯ̞ put
Non-Mid Mid
Front Back Front Back
mere y ɤ̞ foyer mayor ø ɤ lower
fire ɶ are bought ø̞ ɯ coors
mirror ʏ ɨ ʉ air œ butt ore
ä ɒ̈ bat our ɜ er ɯ̞ put
Front Central Back
Close iy ɪʏ ɨʉ ɤ̞
Near-close ɨ̞ ʉ̞
Close-mid eø ɛœ ɘɵ ʌɔ ɤo
Mid ə
Open-mid ø̞ ɜɞ ɯ̞ ʊ ɯu
Open aɶ äɒ̈ æɐ ɑɒ
Front Central Back
Close beaty bitʏ ɨʉ ɤ̞boy
Near-close ɨ̞ʉ̞
Close-mid baitø betœ ɘɵ butɔ ɤboat
Mid ə
Open-mid ø̞ ɜburt ɯ̞ put ɯboot
Open biteɶ äɒ̈ batbout botbought

From Wikipedia:English_phonology#Vowels:

Full monophthongs
BATH ɑ: æ
CLOTH ɔ, ɑ
Full diphthongs
NURSE ɜː(r) ɜr
START ɑː(r) ɑr
NORTH ɔː(r) ɔr
FORCE ɔr, oʊr
NEAR ɪə(r) ɪr
SQUARE eə(r) ɛr
CURE ʊə(r) ʊr
Reduced vowels
LETTER ə(r) ər


Tones can be used to express:

High Female Good Weak
Middle Neutral Neutral Neutral
Low Male Bad Intense


  1. -enda is a borrowing from Ido. It is often equivalent to the nonce passive conditional participle: pagenda 'payable', paguta 'that which would/should be paid'.

External links