Sino-Tibetan languages::Diminutive


Little::small    Suffixes::language    Suffix::words    Forms::ending    Names::nouns    Common::english

Sino-Tibetan languages


Diminutives in Chinese are typically formed in one of three ways: by repetition or by the addition of a "cute" prefix or suffix.

Chinese given names are usually one or two characters in length. The single character or the second of the two characters can be doubled to make it sound cuter. Some given names, such as Sun Feifei's, are already formed in this way. Throughout China, the single character or the second of the two characters can also be prefixed by "Little" ({{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, xiǎo) or—mostly in Southern China—by "Ah" ({{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, ā) to produce an affectionate or derisive diminutive name. For example, Andy Lau (劉德華{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, Liú Déhuá) might be referred to as "Little Wah" (小華{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, Xiăohuá) or "Ah-Wah" (阿華{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, Āhuá).

In Cantonese, "child" ({{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, zai²) is also used as a diminutive suffix.<ref>1.</ref> Andy Lau's more common nickname in Hong Kong is "Wah Zai" (華仔{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, Waa⁴-zai²). Cute suffixes in Mandarin include "-a" ({{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, a) and -ya ({{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, ).

Diminutive sections
Intro  Indo-European languages  Dravidian languages  Semitic languages  Sino-Tibetan languages  Turkic languages  Uralic languages  International auxiliary languages  Notes and references  See also  

Sino-Tibetan languages
PREVIOUS: Semitic languagesNEXT: Turkic languages