Chapter 7: Latin Diminutives

§55. Diminutive Adjective Derivatives in -ARIS

If you think back to Chapter 5 (Turning Latin Nouns into Latin Adjectives), you will recall that any noun-base ending in L used the adjectival suffix -aris, rather than -alis (§35). As we have seen, every diminutive noun in Latin has a base that ends in L. Accordingly, if one wishes to derive a Latin adjective from a Latin diminutive, it will always end in -aris, and its English derivative will regularly end in -ar. These examples should make that situation clear:

L circus > L dimin. noun circ-ulus > L adj. circul-aris > E adj. circular
forma form-ula formul-aris formular
modus mod-ulus modul-aris modular
granum gran-ulum granul-aris granular
pars, part-is part-i-cula particul-aris particular
mus mus-culus muscul-aris muscular

Notice that the English adjective derivatives circular, particular, and muscular reflect the original Latin source-words more precisely than their corresponding noun derivatives, circle, particle, and muscle.


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Greek and Latin Roots: Part I - Latin by Peter Smith (Estate) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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