Greek affixes in Arvanitic Albanian


Affix function number of borrowed affixes


Information and examples are from Sasse (1985; 1991). According to Sasse (1985: 91–92), borrowed affixes have become productive and can today be added to Albanian stems.


4 diminutive markers (out of a total of 7 diminutive markers in Arvanitic Albanian) (Sasse 1991: 235–239), which do not seem to be phonologically conditioned allomorphs

‑(á)ko ‘diminutive’, e.g. prift‑áko ‘little priest’, limited to a few cases, explicitly mentioned that it is borrowed by Sasse (1985)

átʃ ‘diminutive’, e.g. kuðátʃ ‘little jar’, limited productivity, explicitly mentioned that it is borrowed by Sasse (1985)

ác ‘diminutive (pup)’, e.g. ʎepur‑ác ‘rabbit’s pup’. Its use as diminutive with nouns other than animals is restricted to Greek stems (Sasse 1991: 240).

ópuł ‘diminutive (pup)’, e.g. uʎkópuł ‘wolf’s pup’, has limited productivity (Sasse 1991: 241)


2 noun‑noun derivation suffixes (out of a large set of other noun to noun derivation markers, e.g. feminine occupation, etc.) (Sasse 1991: 241–246)

-jár ‘agent noun’, e.g. ʃurr‑jár ‘someone urinating’ (from ʃúrrə ‘urine’). Is largely productive, and partially native and partially borrowed from Greek ‑(ι)άρης (Sasse 1991: 242).

jót ‘inhabitant of’, e.g. curkat‑jót ‘inhabitant of Kiurka’ (from curkát ‘Kiurka’). Is productive; explicitly mentioned that it is borrowed by Sasse (1985).


3 verbalizers (out of a total of 9 in Arvanitic Albanian verbalizers). All verbal derivational morphemes are unproductive (Sasse 1991: 252–255).

(j)ás ‘verbalizer’, e.g. morr‑á ‘delouse’ (from mórr ‘louse’). The form is given as ‑(j)ás (Sasse 1991: 254) or ‑á (Sasse 1985), but according to Sasse (personal communication, 2012) ‑as is the correct form. Sasse (1985) explicitly mentions that it is borrowed.

ís ‘verbalizer’, e.g. dzarr‑ís ‘to harrow’ (from dzárrə ‘harrow’), only attested in a few words, explicitly mentioned that it is borrowed by Sasse (1985).

ós ‘verbalizer’, e.g. ɲatr‑ós ‘let oneself seduce’ (from ɲátrə ‘another’), only attested in one word, explicitly mentioned that it is borrowed by Sasse (1985).


11 adjectives used as derivational prefixes (or bound, first elements of compounds) on nouns (adjective‑noun compounds) (Sasse 1991: 257–258) (out of a total of 11 such forms in Arvanitic Albanian). All are productive, for almost all there are various examples with Albanian stems.

aγrio‑ ‘wild’, e.g. aγrio‑dérr ‘wild boar’

ðoʎo‑ ‘poor’ (only three attestations, all from songs), e.g. ðoʎo‑nún ‘poor godfather’

meγalo‑ ‘big’, e.g. meγalo‑kopíʎe ‘old spinster’

mes‑ ‘medium’, e.g. mes‑nátə ‘midnight’

mono‑ ‘single’, e.g. mono‑bíʎə ‘single daughter’

mavro‑ ‘black, pitiful’, e.g. mavro‑pʎák ‘poor old man’

paʎo‑ ‘bad’ (very popular), e.g. paʎo‑djáʎə ‘naughty child’

psefto‑ ‘fake’, e.g. psefto‑púnǝ ‘superficial work’

proto‑ ‘first’ (only one example given), e.g. proto‑hérǝ ‘for the first time’

stravo‑ ‘crooked’ (only attested once), e.g. stravo‑grúa ‘stubborn woman’

vromo‑ ‘dirty, smelly’, e.g. vromo‑púnǝ ‘dirty work’

Very rarely and only in songs Albanian adjectives are also used in such constructions (Sasse 1991: 258).


2 prepositions as derivational devices on nouns (out of a total of 3 in Arvanitic Albanian, the native Albanian one is nənə‑ ‘under’)

para‑ ‘next to’, e.g. para‑tátǝ ‘stepfather’

pro‑ ‘before’, e.g. pro‑tátǝ ‘forefather’


1 preposition as derivational device on adjectives, participles, and adverbs (out of a total of 2 in Arvanitic Albanian, the native Albanian one is pa‑ ‘without’)

kata‑ ‘very’, e.g. kata‑i‑ri ‘brand new’ (from i‑ri ‘new’), katanáni ‘right now’ (from náni ‘now’)


4 (5) preverbs (out of a total of 8 in Arvanitic Albanian), kata‑ is also used with adjectives and not counted here again) (Sasse 1991: 262–267). These have entered the language on Greek loans, but have become productive with Albanian stems

apo‑ (different functions, only few cases), e.g. apo‑bǝ́nem ‘I become’, apo‑híng(ǝ)ra ‘I ate up’

kse‑ (different functions, like German ent‑, aus‑, auf‑, very frequent, also with Albanian verbs), e.g. kse‑ʎóð(əɲ) ‘let someone rest’

ksana‑ ‘do x again’ (very productive, also with Albanian verbs), e.g. ksana‑háp(əɲ) ‘open again’

para‑ ‘excessively’, e.g. para‑há ‘eat too much’

(plus kata‑ ‘intensifier’ (relatively rare), repeated from above, example of use as preverb kata‑ʎóðem ‘I become very tired, i.e. I work too hard’)


4 adjectives as derivational devices (first elements of compounds) (Sasse 1991: 267)

kalo‑ ‘good’, e.g. kalo‑pagúan ‘pay well’

kako‑ ‘bad’, e.g. kako‑pagúan ‘pay badly’

miso‑ ‘medium’, e.g. miso‑háp(əɲ) ‘open partially’

proto‑ ‘for the first time’, e.g. proto‑véte ‘go for the first time’