Béu : Chapter 6 : Derivations

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TW 415.png Welcome to béu

..... All sorts of people and how to derive them


English has many methods for naming people after their place of origin, The most common one is "er" as in Londoner, Dubliner. Also there are many interesting variations on the theme -"ian". For example Glaswegian, Aberdonian, Manchurian. However quite a number of places lack an appropriate derivational suffix. For example ... what do you call somebody from LA, or from San Fransisco ?

There is only one method in béu. The word "person" is placed just before the place name ... pú london "a/the Londoner", pú mancestə = "a/the Manchurian".

For plurals ... mpu is used ... mpu glazgo "Glaswegians", mpu abərdin "Aberdonians".

Note ... there is never any joining up of the words. Somehow it is always easier to get affixes to stick to the main word. I don't know why.


The very top professions, the ones that require a lot of book learning take the suffix -tai. For example molwi is a verb, meaning "to treat a patient" ... that is "interpreting the symptoms, giving medicine/physical repair/diet-advice/what-have-you, then observation and follow up as necessary". From this verb is derived the word moltai "doctor".

The professions not quite so prestigious, but still requiring a fair bit of book learning take the suffix -do. For example háun is a verb meaning "to teach". From this verb is derived the word haundo "teacher".

There is a third suffix that is used in the make up of many job titles ... the suffix -bau*. Actually this is one of the rare cases of polysemy in béu. One meaning is "one providing muscle power". For example heubau means farmhand and implies no special knowledge or skills what-so-ever. In fact with heubau there is a connotation of seasonal work as opposed to steady employment. The other meaning is "one having acqired great skill with his hands". For example a diamond cutter is called mahayabau (mahaya = diamond). This category includes all professional sportsman. Also skilled craftsmen such as furniture makers, boat builders etc. So people we consider artisans or artificers will have this affix on their job titles.

Another suffix that is part of many job titles is -fai. Basically used for the owner/manager of a shop. For example the owner/manager of a fruit shop is a gozofai (fruiterer ??) (his staff would probably be called gozobau.a. And although nothing to do with a shop ... heufai "farmer", heubau "farmhard".

Other suffixes that produces many word applicable to people, is the -mai/-mi pair. In Ch 2 in the OLUS section, we have discussed the words that have a countable/uncountable double life depending on whether they end in i or ai. For example toti means "children in general" in the same way "wheat" in English, means "wheat in general". totai means 'one unit of children in general " (or simply "a child"). Now one suffix shares this duality ... the mi/mai suffix ... mostly used for belief systems or political movements. For example ... telemai" = "a socialist" (from tele "to share"). Now the translation for "socialism" is telemi. This looks a bit strange at first brush. But if you think about it more ... what better name for a movement.telemi" means "the sum of all socialists in the world". By extention it means "the actions, feelings and thoughts of all the socialists in the world" ... if not a good definition of socialism I don't know what is.

* Probably originally from mbau "a pair of hands"


[ Note to self : sort out the below]

kludau = to write : kludado = a clark, a scribe

kwè = to turn : kwebau = a turner (lathe operator)

ʔazwo = milk : ʔazwobau = milkman

pulis = the police : pulizdo = a policeman

delmoibau = metalworker : weubau = a truck driver

accountant < count

weaver, baker, brewer, butcher, builder

ʔài = same : ʔaimai = a communist : ʔaimi = a communism

beumai = a follower of béu : beumi = "the congregation of béu" or "the béu movement"

to compete, to strugglemai => a capitalist


..... Derivation


Derivational morphology often involves the addition of a derivational suffix or other affix. Such an affix usually applies to words of one lexical category (part of speech) and changes them into words of another such category. For example, the English derivational suffix -ly changes adjectives into adverbs (slow → slowly).

Examples of English derivational patterns and their suffixes:

  • adjective-to-noun: -ness (slow → slowness)
  • adjective-to-verb: -ize (modern → modernize)
  • adjective-to-adjective: -ish (red → reddish)
  • adjective-to-adverb: -ly (personal → personally)
  • noun-to-adjective: -al (recreation → recreational)
  • noun-to-verb: -fy (glory → glorify)
  • verb-to-adjective: -able (drink → drinkable)
  • verb-to-noun (abstract): -ance (deliver → deliverance)
  • verb-to-noun (agent): -er (write → writer)

Derivation can be contrasted with inflection, in that derivation produces a new word (a distinct lexeme), whereas inflection produces grammatical variants of the same word.

Generally speaking, inflection applies in more or less regular patterns to all members of a part of speech (for example, nearly every English verb adds -s for the third person singular present tense), while derivation follows less consistent patterns (for example, the nominalizing suffix -ity can be used with the adjectives modern and dense, but not with open or strong).

Derivation can also occur without any change of form, for example telephone (noun) and to telephone. This is known as zero derivation. [ All the above from "wikipedia" under "linguistic derivation" ]


We have already seen the béu inflections ... Ch 1.5 : plurality ... Ch 2.9 : case system ... Ch 3.1.2 => 3.14 : verb paradigm.

béu also uses many derivational processes. It has a large inventory of affixes used for derivation. The diagram below shows the five main derivational processes which are absolutely fundamental to the working of the language.

TW 890.png

Most nouns can be used as adjectives just by placing them directly after the noun they are qualifying. Like "school bus" in English. For example ...

solbes moze = a drink of water

Also there is a particle joining the possessed to the possessee ... however it is rarely used.

"John's house" => tìa yó jono .... but more usually tìa jono

This is zero derivation and is marked as ø in the above diagram.


We have already remarked on the saidau => saidaus and the maŋga => maŋgas transforms [ Ch 2.1 ].

These are marked as S in the above diagram.


The remaining two transformations shown on the diagram are for verbalization. Actually the affix -ko is added to all adjectives or nouns in order to make a verb. However in one circumstance this affix is not needed. This is for the R-form based on a multi-syllable adjective or noun. For example ...


yubau = strong

yubako = to strengthen

pazba yubara = I am strengthening the table .... note not pazba *yubakara

pazba yubaku = strengthen the table (a command)

pazba yubakis = you should strengthen the table


pona = hot

ponako = to heat up

ponara moze = I am heating up some water .... note not *ponakara moze

ponaku moze = heat up some water (a command)

ponakos moze = he/she should heat up some water


bàu = man

bauko = to man (exact same meaning as in English)

baukara téu dí = I am manning this position

bauku téu dí = man this position (a command)

baukos téu dí = he/she should man this position


gèu = green : geuko = to make green

naike = sharp : naikeko = to sharpen

keŋkia = salty : keŋkiko = to add salt ... when the adjective ends is a diphthong (and is non-monosylabic) the last vowel is dropped.

keŋkikara = "I am adding salt" .... note not *keŋkara ... this is because keŋkia is a derived word.

sài = colour : saiya = colourful : saiwa = colourless : saiko = to paint (maybe via *saiyako)


Note ... -ko is possibly an eroded version of gàu ( "to do" or "to make" ).

Note ... There seems to be a method of deriving a two place verb from a one place verb by affixing -n. For example ... diadia = "to happen" : diadian = "to cause". While this mechanism is seen all over the language I have not mentioned it in the chart above. This is because I consider it non-productive. I count daidia and diadian both as base words. In a similar way that English speakers consider "rise" and "raise" independent words, "lie" and "lay" independent words and "sit" and "set" independent words.


TW 910.png


The diagram above shows second tier derivational processes. Notice that there are not many processes connecting "noun" and "verb". Also notice the plethora of processes for constructing adjectives. Normally if the suffix begins with a vowel ... then the final vowel(s) on the word are deleted. If the suffix begins with a consonant ... normally nothing is deleted. But for la and da ... preceding diphthongs are reduced.


..... ia & ua .................... N V => A


keŋko = salt : keŋkia = salty, having salt : keŋkua = lacking salt

tìa = a house : tiaya = a home-owner : tiawa = a homeless person



The passive participle is formed by affixing -ia to the infinitive. For example ...


laudo = to wash/launder : laudia = washed ... [ laudias = item that has been washed. nò laudias = laundered clothes ]

kludau = to write : kludia = written ... [ kludias = the one that is written => a note ]


The obligation participle is formed by affixing -ua to maŋga. For example ...


Actually the form -ua by itself can be a participle when it qualifies a noun. For example ...

laudo = to wash/launder : laudua = to be washed ... [ lauduas = a soiled item of clothing  : nò lauduas = a pile of clothes to be washed ]

toili kludua = the book that must be written

kluduas = that which must be written => an (school) assignment


If the verb is a mono-syllable then the final vowels are not deleted. Instead -ia => -ya and -ua => -wa. For example ...

glù = to know : gluya = known : gluwa = to be found out : gluyas = that which is known : gluwas = that which must be found out

[ the conjunction plùa might be derived from the verb plèu "to follow" ... slightly askew derivational form ... slightly skewed derived meaning ]


..... u- ........ (prefix)........V A => V A


This prefix has the form ul before a vowel and h and ?. Otherwise it has the form u.

The inverse operator is the prefix u and it can be applied to adjectives, nouns and verbs ...

mutu = important : umutu = unimportant

kludanau = writer : ukludanau = a non-writer

tata = to tangle : utata = to untangle

Below is the commonest verbs that take this prefix ...


kunja to fold ukunja to unfold
laiba to cover ulaiba to uncover
fuŋga to fasten, to lock ufuŋga to unfasten, to unlock
benda to assemble, to put together ubenda to take apart, to disassemble
pauca to stop up, to block upauca to unstop
senza to weave uzenza to unravel
fiŋka to put on clothes, to dress ufiŋka to undress


Note ... having the same prefix as inverse operator for nouns, verbs and adjectives can cause a bit of ambiguity. For example ...

kunja = to fold

kunjana = the folder

ukunjana .... does this mean "the unfolder" or "the one who does not fold" ? ... but we can live with a touch of ambiguity.


I have not mentioned this prefix in any diagram.

[ taitau = many : utaitau = few / nan = for a long time : unan = not for a long time ?? }

Positive and negative connotations ...


TW 616.png


In the 4 (lexical category changing) derivational processes illustrated above, it can be seen that the sufffix ia seems to be associated with positivity and the sufffix ua with negativity.

Also in the 2 (lexical category unchanging) derivational processes illustrated above, it can be seen that the preffix u seems to be associated with negativity.

Perhaps also the past tense -i (positive with respect to realization) and the past tense -u (negative with respect to realization) is an extention of this pattern.

So perhaps béu speakers feel -ia has a positive connotation and -ua or u- have a negative connotation.

This pattern seems to be confined to affixes though. When it comes to lexical words this pattern is not* seen.


* Well some common words seem to pattern the same way. For example ... "not", úa "to run out"/"to be used up", ìa "to complete"/"to finish".

But other words seem to pattern in the exact opposite way. For example ... kyà "don't", aiya "no", ʔaiwa "yes".


..... kai- ..... (prefix)....... A N => N


gèu = green : kaigeu = the green ones

sadu = elephant : kaizadu = elephant-kind, "the elephant" (as a species)


..... pau- .... (prefix)........... N => N


This usually designated something that is deemed essential to some larger object. Often something man-made.


pauwau = a pair of spectacles

pau-clock = hand (of a clock)

pau.elza = Earpods

paudufa = a watch

paukwo = spoke

pau-bow = arrow


...... sa- ..... (prefix).............V => A


liza to hear saliza nice sounding
mwé to see samwe pretty, worth seeing
flò to eat saflo tasty, delicious
solbe to drink sazolbe nice to drink
gàu to do sagau worth doing
mài to get samai sizeable, significant
mbe to hold sambe sexy, hot, nubile, attractive
klói to like sakloi cute (used especially of children)


...... n- ...... (prefix)............ A => A


This prefix has the form in before a vowel and h and ?. It has the form I before m f l s and n. Before the remaining consonants it takes the nasal that fits best with the initial consonant. Usually these are syllabic nasals, but the nasals in ny- and mw- are non-syllabic.

This makes the comparative form for adjectives.

a lot nyú more
a little mwì less
yún many nyún more
wìn few mwìn fewer/less

...... be ............................... V => A


liza to hear lizbe audible
mwé to see mwebe visible
flò to eat flobe edible
solbe to drink solbebe drinkable
gàu to do gaube doable
mài to get maibe permissible, permitted, allowable, allowed
mbe to believe mbebe believable

umbebe = unbelievable

Note ... elza = an ear : lizo = a sound, a noise


epus mbor solbe ?azwo => ?azwo r solbebe somebody can drink milk => milk is drinkable

The general pattern is : epus mbor X Y => Y r Xbe

epus mbor mbe gò jono r tumu => gò jono r tumu r mbebe => r mbebe gò jono r tumu somebody can believe that John is stupid => that John is stupid is believable => it is believable that john is stupid

-be is probably derived from mbe "to hold" ... the word béu uses to express root possibility


...... do ............................... V => N


...... bis / dus ..................... N => A


These affixes basically change nouns into adjective although bis also changes a few adjectives into other adjectives.

The meaning that bis contributes is "attracted to", "liking", "tending towards", "accustomed to" or "addicted to".


ái white aibis faded
lozo grey lozobis grizzled
I pabis selfish
mama mother mambis motherbound
tìa house tiabis domesticated
"cool" cool coolbis crepuscular
"warm" warm warmbis cold blooded
master gubian a sycophant
toili book toilibis bookish toilibian a bookworm
alka alcohol alkabis fond of alcohol alkabian an alcoholic
alha flower alhabis attracted to flowers *alhabian a bee
ʔinte ant ʔintebis fond of ants ʔintebian an anteater, pangolin or aardvark


As you can see, the derived word can have some erosion. For example ... *mama.bis => mambis. Two things decide whether a derived word get eroded ...

1) Frequency of use ... the most commonly used words tend to lose some phonemes.

2) How the main worrd and the -bis shape up together. For example in mama.bis that sluty m and that horny b could not wait to get it together (they were made for each other).

By regular morphological processes the last item above (for instance) would turn out as *ʔintebizan. However all adjectives derived using the -bis affix get eroded when -an is appended ... hence ʔintebian.

In fact all the -bis words have a -bian equivalent, but in the above table I have only written down the 4 most common ones.


The meaning that dus contributes is "to be repelled by", "to disagree with", "disliking", "scared of", "avoiding" or "hating".


mpu people mpudus timid, shy (of an animal)
moze water mozdus rabid
kòi sun koidus nocturnal koiduan a nocturnal animal
ʔazwo milk ʔazwodus lactose intolerant ʔazwoduan lactose intolerant person
peugan society peugandus antisocial peuganduan a hermit

By regular morphological processes the last item above (for instance) would turn out as *peuganduzan. However all adjectives derived using the -dus affix get eroded when -an is appended ... hence peuganduan.

In fact all the -dus words have a -duan equivalent, but in the above table I have only written down the 3 most common ones.


TW 902.png

One interesting word is ʔargobis "demanding" (adjective). In English it is as if I-want-ish had coalesced and formed a single word. Probably related(derived) to ʔargobis is ʔargoduan "one who strives for a stress free life" (a sort of hippy).

An important group of technical words are derived from walau "a/the storm cloud" (by the way, the name for a normal cloud is ?alaus). They are ...


walduan "electron" (think lightning)

waldus "negative charge" (a back formation from walduan)

walbis "positive charge" is (obviously derived from waldus)

walgan "electrical charge"/"electricity" ... (very easy to see where this word comes from)


*alhabian is archaic. In the modern language, "bee" is simply habian.


.... -x => -o ..................... V => N


to drink solbe .... a drink solbo
to bite ilke tooth ilko (Somali)
to plow pluga furrow plugo
to sow, to stitch sèu a row*

sokas = item ... sokas one, sokas two, sokas three ... when going through items on a list ... when you go into each item quite a bit.

Also "to perform"/"entertain"/"hold somebody's attention" => "performance"/"show"/"spectacle" => so + = "episode"

'* has quite a wide meaning ... a row, a series (as in TV series), a row of stitching, a suture ... there is no connotation of horizontal rather than vertical i.e. row vs. column


.... -a => -ai ..................... N => A


aŋgwa = harmony => aŋgwai = graceful, elegant, poetic

bawa = men => bawai = male, masculine

gala = women => galai = female, feminine

wuda = wood => wudai = sturdy, durable

sopa = a corpse* => sopai = smelly

sufa = a corpse** => sufai = decomposed or morally corrupt : sufaimi = this usuall means moral corruption ... offering and excepting bribes etc.

hanya = mammal => hanyai = honest

saka = bark => sakai = rough .... soka = skin

hala = rock => halai = permanent

alha = flower => alhai = fragrant

fida= wind => fidai = temporary

fona = rain => fonai = pure




sekla = the material called "glass", sekla = made of glass, seklas = a glass


ʔà = one => ʔài = same, identical => ʔàis = the same one


.... uʒi (ʒi) ....................... V => A


to drink solbe fond of drinking solbuʒi
to play lento playful lentuʒi
to rest/relax nje lazy njeʒi
to lie selne untruthful by disposition selnuʒi
to work kodai diligent koduʒi

eskua = to be angry : eskuʒi = "bad tempered" : eskula = angry : eskuas = fit of temper, outburst

If the verb is monosyllabic or ends in n, then -ʒi is used instead of -uʒi.

swó = to fear : swoʒi = feignt-hearted, cowardly : swola = frightened : swolo = terrible

heuno = "to be sad" : heunon = "to make sad" : heunonʒi = depressing


.... te ................................ A => A


hìa = red : hiate = reddish

jutu = big : jutute = somewhat large

lelte = music : lelpa = to sing : lelpai = a song : leldo = a singer


.... la ................................ V => A


The present participle is formed by affixing -la to the infinitive. If the final vowel verb is a diphthong it drops its last bit. For example ...

kludau = to write : kludala = "writing just now"

solbe = to drink : solbela = "drinking at this moment"


.... uma ............................ N => N


The augmentative


tìa = a house : tia.uma = a mansion :

Sometimes this affix has the form -huma. For example ...

= a person : puhuma = a giant : puhumai = giants ???

bàu = a man : bauhuma = a male giant ?


.... ita ............................... N => N


The diminutive ...


tìa = a house : tia.ita = a cottage

Sometimes this affix has the form -ʔita. For example ...

= a person : pu?ita a dwarf

bàu = a man : bauʔita = a male dwarf

This affix often has the connotation ... "the speaker feels affection for the noun so transformed". But note ... the opposite affix uma has no undercurrent of "revulsion"


.... ti ................................. N => N


"the smallest part of ...


moze = water : mosti = a drop

panti = crumbs : pan? = bread

chain => link

rope => strand

= a row, a line of stitching : soti = a stitch

punti = brickbat : pun? = brick

doiti = a step, a stride : doika = to walk

sosti = a snowflake : sos = snow .... sospe = a snowdrop

gosti = a segment (of an orange)


.... ija ............................... N => N


Used for the young of an animal ...


lata = a cow : latija = a calf

fanfa = a horse : fanfija = a foal

huŋgu = a swan : huŋgija = a cygnet

Occasionally you come across the form -ʔija. For example ...

nuaʔija = a mouse pup

Some very common animals have a form even more trunkated. For example ...

méu = a cat : meuja = a kitten

= pig : suja = piglet

waudo = a dog : wauja = a pup

waugo = wolf : wauja = a young wolf

The above three are interesting. The sounds these three animals make are méu, and wáu respectively.


..... More word building

The above are examples of non-basic words originating from two nouns.

There is also another kind of non-basic word. This one originating from a noun and a particle.

The particle is not an independent word and usually only exists as a suffix ( -da is an exception to this, it can occur as a prefix as well)

Note that in some occasions a bit of erosion has occurred. For example ...

"bee" = habis and not *alhabis

"society" = peugan and not *ampeugan

The reason for this ... well common words should not be to long. But why did I not just create a new short word for the concepts "bee" and "society". It was not that I am trying to construct a language family with a different set of phonological rules to derive each of the daughter languages from the Ur-language. The fact is that I expect people (on some level at last) to associate the first syllable in "bee" with the last syllable in "flower", first syllable in "society" with the last syllable in "associate". Also I expect people to associate the concept of "bee" to the concept of "flower", the concept of "society" to the concept of "society" (again probably at a subconscious level).

I feel that in doing things the above way makes béu more "poetic". Also that it holds the whole thing together.


Nominalizer to make uncountable intangible nouns -GAN


This suffix is sometimes used to make a more complex concept from a simple concept. Of course there must be some relationship between the base concept and the derived concept, however tenuous.

Also it is used in a few instances to give a sort of "collective" meaning. The items in the below table all have a "collective" derivation.

hái high, tall haigan the first dimension
joga broad jogan the second dimension
guboi deep gugan the third dimension
bada after bagan < badagan since
kaca before kagan < kacagan until
xxx position xxgan space
kyù occasion (time) kyugan time (in the general sense)

And not forgetting dekogan meaning "spacetime".

Also (very important) ...

béu = A culture, with the speaking, reading and writing the béu language having a significant roll.

beugan = The community of béu. That is the sum total of all people who follow béu together with all written texts, buildings and other artifacts to do with béu

Another important one ...

peugan = society at large, society in general, the entirety of humanity


Something more complex OR the original thing -NYO


Used to derive names of states or dynasties -TUN


No longer a word in its own right. It might originally have meant something like "power" or "rule". Now used purely as an affix. A number of countries that have a capital city a lot bigger that any urban center are named after their capital. For example ...

londontun = The United Kingdom

palistun = France

baŋkotun = Thailand

Also used for naming dynasties. For example ...

yuantun = The YUAN dynasty in China

wilyamtun = The system of government in England after the Norman Conquest.


Something more complex -SA


Surely this is done by KAS now.


Something complex or -KAS


kòi = day, the time in which the sun is over the horizon

koikas = a 24 hour period

maŋga = infinitive verb

maŋkas = infinitive verb phrase

seŋko = object

seŋkas = noun phrase

helgo = a finite verb

helkas = a clause


Nominalizer -FAN


This suffix usually produces an uncountable tangible nouns ... well sort of tangible.


yái to have yaifan gear, moveable property
wàu to own waufan possessions, property
flò to eat flofan food
to do, to make, to produce dofan products, produce (the noun)
náu to give naufan tribute, tax
glà to store glafan reserves, stores



... adjectives => verbs

For example ...

geukari = I turned it green ... notice that ʃì "it" can be dropped because geuko is V2.

geukari tái = I turned myself green

tezari gèu = I became green

The difference in meaning of the above two examples, is that tezari gèu says nothing about volition (or effort) while geukari tí has connotations of both.

jwari geuko = I was made green

The above has suggests volition (and effort) but by a third party.



... verbs => nouns


Actually verbs in their infinitive form can be considered nouns also. For example ...

gàu = to do, to make ... but it can also be translated as "deed" or "action".

If an action can result in (or be strongly connected to) some physical object. In that case the name of the physical object is derived from the verb by deleting the final vowel of the infinitive and adding "u". For example ...

gàu = to make, to produce : = a product, an artifact

nàu = to give : = a gift

solbe = to drink : solbu = a drink

The -u ending always gives a countable noun ... also tangible, sort of.

To produce uncountable nouns the suffix -fan is often used. For example ...

naufan = tribute, tax

dofan = products

solbefan = drinks

yái = to have : yaifan = possessions, property

glà = to store : glafan = reserves

Note ... is not a noun, but a particle that indicates possession, occurs after the "possessed" and before the "possessor.


..... The sides of an object


sky nambon = above the house

awe (rá) sky nambon = the bird is above the house .... sometimes can be left out as well ... awe sky nambon = the bird is above the house (a phrase) the NP (the bird above the house) ....

earth nambon = under the house

face nambon = front of the house

arse nambon = behind the house

= side

aibaka = a triangle

ugaka = a square

idaka = a pentagon

elaka = a hexagon

ò atas nambo = he/she is above the house ... however if "house" is understood, and mention of it is dropped, we must add ka to atas ... for example ...

ò ataska = he/she is above

daunika = underneath

liʒika = on the left hand side

luguka = on the right hand side

noldo, suldo, westa, istu niaka, muaka faceside backside etc. etc.

..... Index

  1. Introduction to Béu
  2. Béu : Chapter 1 : The Sounds
  3. Béu : Chapter 2 : The Noun
  4. Béu : Chapter 3 : The Verb
  5. Béu : Chapter 4 : Adjective
  6. Béu : Chapter 5 : Questions
  7. Béu : Chapter 6 : Derivations
  8. Béu : Chapter 7 : Way of Life 1
  9. Béu : Chapter 8 : Way of life 2
  10. Béu : Chapter 9 : Word Building
  11. Béu : Chapter 10 : Gerund Phrase
  12. Béu : Discarded Stuff