Write & Correct

Tagalog Lite Appendix C - Roots and Affixes

Roots and affixes are elements used to form nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs in Tagalog.
A root can be discussed in general without stress or glottal stops. We call these “generic roots” in this book. Examples:
ganda root related to beauty
punta root related to going
kain root related to food or eating
alam root related to knowing
But when used in an actual word, the root takes on the associated stress/glottal stops of that word. For example:
pagod root related to tiredness
pagód tired (adj)
pagod tiredness (noun)
Sometimes the roots/stress/glottal stops are the same:
totoó true (adj)
totoó truth (noun)
totoó truly (adv)
An affix is a group of letters that combine with the root to form a word. Although we will just refer to these as affixes, there are actually four kinds:
The ma in maganda (beautiful) is a prefix; it comes before the root.
The um in pumunta (to go) is an infix; it is inserted into the root.
The in in hanapin (to search for something) is a suffix; it comes after the root.
the ma and an in mahirapan (to experience difficulty) is a circumfix; it straddles the root.
Vowel and Consonant Changes
As shown above, when forming words with roots and affixes, you normally just bring them together and you are finished. But sometimes there are vowel or consonant changes. For example:
ma(afix) + dami(root = amount) = marami (many)
inom(root = drinking) + in(affix) = inumin (beverage)
bigay(root = giving) + an(affix) = bigyan (to give something to someone)
Although there are rules that attempt to predict these changes, there are many of them, so you may be better off just to memorize the final word. With time, it will become clear what the root is.
Other Combinations
Some words are formed by duplicating a root (dup2), adding the first syllable of a root (dup1) to a root, combining different roots or adding one or more affixes to the previous combinations.
araw (root = day) + araw (dup2) = araw-araw (daily)
mag (affix) + ba (dup1) + barkada (root = group of friends) = magbabarkada (a group of three or more friends)
hanap (root = seeking) + buhay (root = life) = hanapbuhay (livelihood)



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