Noun Formation

The deriving nouns out of verbs and other nouns is the most common way that the Skerre lexicon is enriched. Discussed below are the derivational affixes that form nouns; their meaning; and examples, including the following topics:


Nominalization, the creation of nouns from verbs, is the most common kind of derivational morphology in Skerre.

Event Nominalization

Event nominalizations are essentially events turned into nouns. In Skerre, there are two subtypes of event nominalization: the action nominalizer si- and the product nominalizer -o.

Action Nominalization

The action nominalizer si- (ACT.NMLZ or just NMLZ) converts a verb to an abstract noun refering to the action of the verb. The verb retains its aktionsart (or lexical aspect), and these often correspond to nominal gerunds or -ation nominalizations in English. Some examples are given below:

siyahor, running (from ahor, run)
sires, speech, talking (from res, speak)
sisot, dying process (from sot, die)
sikarat, violence (from karat, be violent)
siyari, destruction (from yari, destroy)

Of all the nomininalizing affixes, si- is the one that most frequently occurs with added adnominal arguments. An example of this is:

A siseya i seya’o
The singing of the song.

With all nominalizations, the marking of added arguments follows the general patterns for nouns.

Product Nominalization

The product nominalizer -o (PDT.NMLZ or just NMLZ) converts a verb to a noun refering to the product or result of the action of the verb. Note that this reduces everything to a state. This is similar to many zero-derived nominalizations in English. Some examples of -o:

reso, speech, oration (from res, speak)
yaso, gift (from yas, give)
queyiyo, arrival (from queyi, arrive)
soto, death (from sot, die)
seya’o, song (from seya, sing)

For stative predicates, the result of applying si- and -o is basically the same. Thus, one or the other affixes is usually conventionalized for the verb, although in some cases (such as with the predicate sot, die above), the two affixes denote slightly different meanings.

Participant Nominalization

Participant nominalization will be the term that I use for nominalizations that denote nouns that are particular (and sometimes characteristic) participants of particular verbs. The term participant is used only loosely here, since I include nominalizations that pick out inanimate "participants" that aren't always required members of a given verb's argument structure (including locations and instruments).

Agent Nominalization

The first of several participant nominalization affixes is the agentive nominalizer s- (AGT.NMLZ or just NMLZ). This affix converts a verb to a noun refering to a person that does the action of the verb. It can also convert place names to names for people who lives in that particular location. This affix always creates animate nouns, and undergoes the morphophonology discussed here and here. Some examples:

srahan, hunter (from rahan, hunt)
seya, singer (from seya, sing)
sahor, runner (from ahor, run)
sik, knowledgeable person (from hik, know)
sWiyekori, resident of Wiyekori

Locative Nominaliztion

The second of the participant nominalizations is the locative nominalizer wi- (LOC.NMLZ or NMLZ). It converts a verb to a noun refering to the place the action of the verb is done. As such it is sometimes used in the formation of place names. Some examples:

wiwes, bedroom, sleeping area (from wes, sleep)
wihos, dining area (from hos, eat)
Wiyekori, place of the bear (from ekori, bear)

Instrument Nominalization

Finally, there is the instrumental nominalizer, ts- (INS.NMLZ or NMLZ). This affix converts a verb to a noun refering to an instrument that performs the action of the verb. It undergoes similar alternations as s- above. Some examples:

tsos, eating utensil (from hos, eat)
tsyari, weapon, means of destruction (from yari, destroy)
tsriyis, torch (from riyis, illuminate)

Non-Category Changing Derivational Affixes

Besides nominalizations, there are two noun derivation affixes do not involve a change in word class. Note that all these affixes are suffixes.

The first is the diminutive suffix -ir (DIM). This affix converts a noun to another noun that refers to a smaller or more intimate version of the original noun, as in siharir, skirmish (from sihar, battle) and yereyir, doggy (from yere, dog).

The second is the augmentative suffix -ok (AUG). The augmentative converts a noun to another noun that refers to a larger or more distant version of the original noun, as in siharok, war (from sihar, battle) and yereyok, bad doggy (from yere, dog).


A final derivational morphological process is compounding. Compounds have limited productivity in Skerre (the preference is for derivation), but compounds do exist. They are head-initial, like the following:


Summary of Derivational Affixes

The following chart summarizes the above affixes:

Event Nominalizers   Participant Nominalizers   Non-Category Changers
si- ACT.NMLZ   s- AGT.NMLZ   -ir DIM
-o PDT.NMLZ   wi- LOC.NMLZ   -ok AUG
      ts- INS.NMLZ      

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