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Unary Suffixes

Unary suffixes are a type of affix that can appear after many types of syllables, such as: nouns, noun suffixes, verb prefixes, verbs, verb suffixes, prepositions, numbers, and other unary suffixes.  They may even be embedded within compound words.

The only parts of speech a unary suffix can't modify are noun prefixes (because anything followed by a noun prefix becomes a noun), and preposition prefixes.

A unary suffix indicates the quality or degree of the word that immediately precedes it.

List of Unary Suffixes

Primal has twelve unary suffixes:

Unary Suffix Pronounced Meaning Description
kE (kel) beyond Something that surpasses the concept entirely.
Jy (jee) maximal Absolute perfection or purity of the concept.  Totally.
Xy (zhee) extreme An incredible example.  Excellent.  Extremely.
Ty (tsee) great A good example.  Above-average.  Very.
ma (ma) moderate A moderate or average example.  Somewhat.
Hy (khhee) poor A poor example of the concept.  Below-average.
sy (see) slight A terrible example of the concept.  Barely.
Xr (zhur) lacking The concept is entirely lacking.  Exactly 0%.  None.
Hr (khhur) not Something other than the concept.  Not.
WU (wul) sort-of Something similar to the concept, but not exact.  Quasi.
Jw (jooh) anti The polar opposite of the concept.  Anti.
ky (kee) cute Endearment modifier.  Adorable, cute version.

The remainder of the lesson describes the normal use of these suffixes.

Describing Nouns and Verbs

The quality or degree of a noun or verb is described by a unary suffix.  Because unary suffixes modify many kinds of words, they often act like simple adjectives or adverbs describing degree, such as English "very", "barely", or "not".  Here is an example with each suffix, using some common nouns and verbs:

Compound Word Pronounced Literal Meaning Intended Meaning
vUkE (vul-kel) number beyond innumerable
xAJy (shal-jee) water maximal pure water
jGfXy (chohlf-zhee) newness extreme brand new
kFnTy (kayn-tsee) know-about great know well
mrma (mur-ma) pleasure moderate somewhat pleasant
DVTHy (dzeerts-khhee) quality poor low quality
xrsy (shur-see) see slight barely see
mBpXr (moip-zhur) home lacking no home
vyHr (vee-khhur) think not not think about
kCkWU (kauwk-wul) plant-(noun) sort-of plant-like thing
kamJw (kam-jooh) help anti hinder, impede
faQky (fadth-kee) cat cute kitty

The unary suffix kE (kel, "beyond") is not commonly used, outside of exaggeration.

The next seven unary suffixes, Jy (jee, "maximal"), Xy (zhee, "extreme"), Ty (tsee, "great"), ma (ma, "moderate"), Hy (khhee, "poor"), sy (see, "slight"), and Xr (zhur, "lacking") define a strict scale of order.  This order does not indicate the "social quality" of items, as with English "a bad day".  The unary suffixes describe how accurate a word is, not whether it is good or bad.  For example, the phrase faQsy (fadth-see, "cat slight") does not mean "a terrible cat".  It means, "a slightly feline thing".  The only situation where unary suffixes imply "good" or "bad" is when they modify words that have those intrinsic meanings, such as the noun DVT (dzeerts, "quality").

The unary suffixes Xr (zhur, "lacking") and Hr (khhur, "not") both are similar to English concepts of "no", "none" and "not".  The difference between these suffixes is that Xr (zhur, "lacking") means "exactly zero/none", while Hr (khhur, "not") means "something else".  For example:

  • no animal at all: kaNXr (kang-zhur, "animal lacking")
  • something which is not an animal: kaNHr (kang-khhur, "animal not")

The unary suffix WU (wul, "sort-of") is rarely used.  It refers to something that is "similar but not directly comparable", similar to the English prefix "quasi".

The unary suffix Jw (jooh, "anti") means "the opposite".  Because most words in Primal already have a compliment, it is less commonly used.

Finally, the unary suffix ky (kee, "cute") is a modifier that makes a word playfully diminutive, similar to English "friend" becoming "buddy", "mom" becoming "mommy", and "please" becoming "pretty please".

Describing Other Words

Unary suffixes can modify verb suffixes.  The unary suffix modifies the syllable it directly follows, but the verb suffix always modifies the verb.  For example, consider the following four verbs:

  • want to help: kamDy (kam-dzee, "help desire")
  • want to not-help: kamXrDy (kam-zhur-dzee, "help lacking desire")
  • don't want to help: kamDyXr (kam-dzee-zhur, "help desire lacking")
  • don't want to not-help: kamXrDyXr (kam-zhur-dzee-zhur, "help lacking desire lacking")

Unary suffixes can be used to modify noun suffixes in a similar fashion.  This is uncommon, however.

Unary suffixes can't modify noun prefixes, because anything following a noun prefix becomes a noun.

Unary suffixes can modify verb prefixes, to exaggerate tense.  For example:

  • will take: fumSz (f'marz, "future take")
  • will take right away: fusymSz (f'see-marz, "future slight take")
  • will take eventually: fuTymSz (f'tsee-marz, "future great take")
  • happened a very long time ago: puXyly (p'zhee-lee, "past extreme do")

Two or more unary suffixes can follow one another.  In this case, each unary suffix modifies the previous one:

  • not the purest water: xAJyHr (shal-jee-khhur, "water maximal not")

Unary suffixes may have special meaning when used with numbers and prepositions, as described in the Numbers and (advanced) Prepositions II lessons.

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