Noun Suffixes

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Fri Jul 30 17:31:05 EDT 1999

At 1:56 PM -0400 7/30/99, Darrell Buchanan wrote:
>List Members:
> Is it attaching to much meaning to a noun suffix to refer to it as a "result
>suffix" (-MA as in GRAMMA) or that it implies "action" because of a
>suffix (-IS as in PISTIS)?
>I have been able to find little reference to such in the grammars and lexica
>that I have consulted. If you could point me to other sources that would be

You can look at the section in Smyth's grammar, ##838ff. on-line at Perseus:

That URL will take you to the beginning of his section on noun-formation.
So far as your questions are concerned, -MA(T)- is the suffix for nouns
indicating what is created or achieved by an action: GRAMMA(T)- < GRAF-MA:
"thing written", POIHMA(T)- < POIE/H-MA(T)-:"thing created/made";
PRAG-MA(T) , PRAC-MA(T): "thing performed/enacted"; -TIS/-SIS nouns are for
actions PRAXIS (PRAC-SIS): acting/performing/doing; POIH-SIS: creating,
producing, etc., etc. Then there are agent nouns in -THS or -EUS, and quite
a few others you'll find discussed more thoroughly in Smyth, also in the
proper section of Blass-Debrunner-Funk (BDF).

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at

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