Quechua Lesson 7
Lesson 7 (qanchis ñiqin yachay)
Suffixes and infixes.

As stated in the introduction, Quechua uses morphemes to change the meaning of words. These morphemes are glued to the stem of a word, be it a noun, a verb or an adverb, and with each addition the meaning changes. Also with these morphemes in Quechua one can make a noun into a verb and vice versa.

The list of such morphemes is dauntingly long. Many are not often used, however, and trying to master them all is unnecessary for learning the language on the first level.

To simplify matters, I will try to use a classification.

There are suffixes and infixes that:

A. change a verb, like the conjugations and tenses. We already covered much of this.

There are others:

That make a noun out of a verb: llamka-y is to work.

Llamka-y: the work

Llamka-q: the worker, -q meaning the there is a doer.

Llamka-na: the tool and also the future work.

Llamka-sqa: What was worked on, the result of working and also the place

Other examples that I have often heard:

Ranti-q: the buyer

Hamu-q: the one that comes

Puklla-q: the player

Many verbs can be changed in this way: Mikhu-y is to eat

Mikhu-y: the food

Mikhu-q: the one that eats

Mikhu-na: the meal.

Kuchu-y is to cut. Kuchu-na is a knife.

Wata-y is to tie (with a rope); inti watana is an observatory (literally, place to tie the sun; the place where the sun is observed to measure, for example, time).

That makes a verb reflexive: -ku-. -ku can be translated as: self

Yachay means to know. When you learn yourself it becomes yacha-ku-y. Yacha-ku-ni runa-simi-ta: I learn Quechua, or yachakusani runasimita: I am learning Quecha.

Mayllay is to wash. Mayllakuy is to wash oneself. Mayllakuyta munasani: I want to wash myself. So: I want a bath!

Uyariy is to hear, uyarikuy is to hear oneself. Mana uyarikuyta atinichu!: I can’t hear myself!

That give a direction: The infix –mu gives the meaning of a direction (mostly to where the speaker is). It is often used in verbs with weather conditions.

Paray is to rain. But when you will say that it is raining here: para-mu-sa-n. (literally, rain-to here-ing. form-it);

R’itimusan: it snows; r’íti is snow. (Also: literally, snow-to here-ing. form-it)

When it rains elsewhere, the verb para-y is also used. So: para-n, means: it rains over there (not here).

B. Change a noun or an adjective like the possessive suffixes. These have already been mentioned.

That make a verb out of a noun.

The most common and most important is –cha or –chi, which means to make of: wasi-cha-y is to make a house. Wasichasani means I am building a house. The main difference between -cha and -chi is that -cha mens to make and -chi most of the time means to do make. Wasichiy is to have make a house, in the way that you are causing others to to thing mentioned in the stem of the word.

If you know a noun you can make it into a verb by adding –cha or -chi.

If the verb para-cha-y existed, it would mean to make rain (para is rain).

Nina-cha-y: to make a fire. Nina is fire.

Tanta-cha-y: to make bread. Tanta is bread

T’uru-cha-y: to make mud. T’uru is mud

Muspha-chi-y: to confuse, to bewilder.

Yacha-chi-y: to teach. Yacha-y is knowledge or lesson (but also to know as a verb).

Note: The verb yacha-y also can mean: to live: llaqtapi yachani, I live in a town.

Note that –cha also has the diminutive meaning as stated just below.

But also a different meaning can derive: Qura is grass, qurachay is to weed.
C. There are morphemes, attached to a noun that give a restriction:

-cha: is diminutive: wasi – wasicha, a small house

allqo – allqocha, a small dog

warmi-cha-lla-y-paq-mi: for my dear little wife/woman. This form conveys the meaning of intimacy and love. (literally, woman-diminutive-just-my-for-certainty)

-lla is limitative: wasi – wasilla, just a house

allqolla – just a dog.

These are often combined: allqochalla or as stated above: warmichallaypaqmi

-lla is also used limitative in: noqalla, just me

Qamkunalla, just you (pl)

Limitative in space: kayllam Cuscu: Cusco is near

Or in time: paqarillan: just tomorrow, or: only tomorrow

Or that augment: -su

Wasi-su: a big house

Karu-su: very far

That makes plural: wasi-kuna: houses

That give the position of possessor (already spoken of) with –yuq.

Wasikunayuq: someone who owns houses.

Llaqtakamayuq: the Major (literally, town-authority-with)

Or state that there are many of them: -sapa

Wasisapa: with may houses

Rumisapa: stony (area) Rumi means stone.

Phuyusapa: with may clouds. Phuyu means cloud.

Note: These examples can also be expressed by duplication of the word: rumi-rumi and phuyu-phuyu.
That connects: -wan

Mariawan, Marcelinawan, tayta Husiymi llaqtaman risanku: Maria, Marcelina and father José are going to town.

As I said before, the list of suffixes and infixes is very long and most interesting. But for learning the basics the list is only confusingly long. With the few examples that are stated here, you can manage, without making too many mistakes.

Go to Quechua Lesson 8