This article in the Handy Hindi Hints series is about Hindi suffixes (and other word ending constituents). It is the companion of my recent article on Hindi prefixes (et al), aimed at fellow learners of Hindi as a Second Language. If you missed that one it is still there.
These articles and their copious examples are the fruit of my own ongoing documented struggle with the Hindi language. They have been composed for my own benefit as a shortcut to comprehending the (alien to Anglos) Hindi lexicon. As before, I am happy to share this detailed information with other learners of Hindi as a Second Language. hoping that more knowledgeable readers will assist us all by suggesting corrections and additions to further ease our painful but invigorating linguistic Himalayan climb.
In view of the scope and length of this analysis of suffixes (29 pages, with several hundred examples and translations), those who feel interested enough in the topic already can access the .pdf on my language website (www.briansteel.net). For others, especially those who are not sure if my offering may be of use to them, I present the following basic examples of Hindi word families and a few short extracts from the pdf.
The full version is available here.
Hindi Word Families
As a preliminary exercise, let us consider the following Hindi word families, which give an idea of the wide lexical scope to be covered in this compilation. They also show, better than any description, how helpful it is to be able to know the meaning of suffixes and other lexical endings available in the Hindi language.
darshan, m, sight, seeing, view
darshan karnaa, to see, visit
darshaanaa, to exhibit, show
darshak, m, bystander, visitor, spectator,
darshan shaastr, philosophy
darshee, observer, seer
darshit, shown, displayed
darshneey, noticeable, worth seeing (YK, 125)
doordarshan, m, television
doordarsheetaa, farsightedness, sagacity
maargdarshan, m, guidance
nidarshak, illustrative, demonstrator
nidarshan, m, example, illustration
paardarshitaa, f, transparency
paridarshan, m, panoramic view
pathpradarshak, m, leader, guide
pradarshan, m, show, demonstration, performance
pratham pradarshan, premiere
pratyaksh darshan, m, firsthand view
satdarshee, m, seer of truth
sudarshan, good-looking, elegant
virodh pradarshan karnevaale, protesters, demonstrators
sukh, m. happiness, pleasure
sukhjanak, giving pleasure
sukhdaataa, sukhdaayinee (f), giving pleasure
vichaar, m, thought, idea
vichaardhaaraa, f, ideology
vichaarheen, thoughtless, unthinking
vichaarneey, worth considering
vichaarsheeltaa, f, thoughtfulness
vichaarvaadee, m/f, idealist
vaichaarik, thoughtful, ideological
Word formation processes: 4 examples from the full study.
From Part 1 (Functional word endings)
-ee, f, abstract nouns (from nouns or adjectives)
choree, f, theft (chor, m, thief)
daaktaree, f, medical profession
dostee, f, friendship
mazdooree, f, labourer’s wage
beemaaree, f, illness
bahadooree, f, bravery (bahaadur, brave)
giraftaaree, f, arrest
eemandaaree, f, honesty
hoshiyaaree, f, intelligence
2. Invariable adjectives and nouns
A. Origin or affiliation (nouns and adjectives)
banarsee, from Benares (Varanasi)
bhaaratvaasee, Indian citizen
islaamee, Islamic <islaam?
madraasee, from Madras
videshee, foreign, foreigner
B. agents and “doers”, -er, -ist, etc.
adhikaaree, m, official, officer
adhohastaaksharee, the undersigned
telee, oil worker
C. Other invariable nouns and adjectives
(Note also: asarkaaree [asar+kaaree], effective)
bhrashtaachaaree, m, corrupt person
dhanee, wealthy (person)
zarooree, urgent, important, necessary
From Part 1
Abstract nouns, masculine : -ness, -hood, etc.
akelaapan, m, feeling of loneliness
khoklaapan, m, hollowness
khulepan, openness (khulaa, open, clear)
uneeNdaapan, m, drowsiness
vidhvaapan, m, widowhood
From Part 2 (Labels)
(For -kaaree as an adjectival suffix, see Part 4.)
chaayaakaar, m, photographer
chitrakaar, painter, artist, designer
kahaanikaar, m, story writer
kalaakaar, m, artist
lekhakkaar, accountant (lekhak, writer/author)
naatakkaar, m, dramatist, playwright
patrkaar, journalist <
rachnaakaar, m. author, creator
vaastukaar, m, architect
vivrankaar, m, commentator
The noun kartaa (doer, maker) is also used as a suffix.
kaaryakartaa, m, worker, activist
niyaNtrankartaa, m, controller
peshkartaa, m, presenter
saakshaatkaarkartaa, m, interviewer
From Part 3 Descriptive elements (Things get even more interesting from here on.)
(The first of the 4 main descriptive suffixes: -ik, -ak, -eey, -it)
(consonant +) -ik
The number ONE descriptive suffix is -ik, often equivalent to the English suffix -al
or -ic (or -ical) which, coincidentally, it closely resembles homophonically. It is usually attached directly to a noun, e.g. samaaj, society + ik > samaajik, social.
aadhunik, modern (
aanuvarnik, alphabetical ?
aaraMbhik, initial, early, preliminary
aarthik, economic, financial
shareerik, bodily, physical (body)
upyogik, useful (pr upi-)
vyapaarik, business atr., trade atr.
1. Standard vowel changes occur:
i > ai; e > ai; u > au ; o and oo > au
alaukik, unwordly, non-secular
itihaas (history) > itihaisik
vaicharik, thoughtful, idealogical
vaitanik, salaried. paid
From Part 4
From poorv, full. It is used to form adverbs.
adhikaarpoorvak, authoritative, with authority
prempoorvak, lovingly, agreeably
veerpoorvak, valiantly, heroically
From Part 5
Highly productive of masculine nouns and, with common suffixes like -ik, adjectives also.
aayog, m, a commission (body)
asahyog, m, non-cooperation
durupyog, improper use, wasteful
manoyog, m, concentration, single-mindedness
niyog, m, employment
prayog, m, use; experiment
sahyogee, assistant, colleague, ally
saMyogik, accidental, fortuitous
suyog, m, happy chance, serendipity
udyog, industry [scr.]
upyog, use (pr. upiyog)
upyogee, useful, helpful
upyogitaa, f, usefulness, suitability
-yogya, -able <yogya, able, worthy
Well, there you are! The above and another 20+ pages are available here. As a potential shortcut to achieving wider comprehension of the ‘alien’ Hindi lexicon, the broad system of suffixes and suggested translations offered in this compendium is surely worth attention.
Agnihotri, Rama Kant, Hindi. An Essential Grammar, Routledge, London & New York, 2006. (pp. 57-75 provide an original analysis of suffixes.)
Allied’s Hindi-English Dictionary, edited by Henk Wagenaar and Sangeeta S. Parikh, New Delhi, Allied Publishers, 1996.
Bahri, Hardev, Rajpal Advanced Learner’s Hindi-English Dictionary, 2 vols., Delhi, Rajpal Publishing, 2011.
(This is possibly the most helpful bilingual romanised dictionary for intermediate and advanced English-speaking learners of Hindi.)
Kachru, Yamuna, Hindi, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2006. (pp. 114-127 are crammed with concise information which I have quoted directly for a small number of those suffixes which I have not met.
Koul, Omkar N., Modern Hindi Grammar, Springfield, VA, Dunwoody Press, 2008, pp. 69-72).
This work is available for download from
Professor Koul at firstname.lastname@example.org)
McGregor, R. S., Outline of Hindi Grammar, OUP, 3rd. ed., 1995. His treatment of suffixes (pp 211-214) is a very useful starting point on this topic and the author’s treatment of the -saa particle (pp. 161-163) is particularly helpful.