I started learning French when I was about 12 years old. And I wasn’t actually good at it. However, I became older, and a lot of things have changed. I became one of the best students of French at the University. I remember the times when I could spend hours and hours with my French textbook. Crazy, hah? I am sure that every passionated language learner understands me.
Now I speak French fluently. Nevertheless, I still have this feeling that, when I speak this language I can’t express with the exact words what is happening in my head. It makes me kind of a different person rather when I speak my native language. For example, in the Ukrainian language we can transform any word into its diminutive version. This is one of those things that “decorate” the language and let you express yourself differently.
I was wondering about the French language and apparently it doesn’t really exist. Do you see what I mean?
Let’s take a phrase: elle a un joli visage (she has a nice face). We can’t put the word visage into the diminutive form. However, in Ukrainian we can say: у неї гарненьке личико. The word личико comes from лице and means a face. And the word гарненьке comes from гарне or cute in English.
So, for example, when I am in a good mood, walking in a park and I see a cute dog, in Ukrainian I would say: дивись, який гарненький песик! Instead, in French I say: quel joli chien, regarde! The meaning of these sentences is exactly the same, thus there is a small shade in the word песик, that makes this dog smaller and cuter in the Ukrainian language rather than in the French one.
How to create the Diminutive form in Ukrainian?
Theoretically, you could change chien by pitou, but you can’t change the word joli. In Ukrainian you can add the suffix –енький, –енька, –еньке to any adjective and you will get its diminutive form.
Look, it’s simple: смачний – смачненький (masculine), чорна – чорненька (feminine), велике – величеньке (neutral). Now, try it on your own, it’s fun!
It is time for a small secret. I will tell you an incredible fact about the Ukrainian language. Shhhh!
We can transform even some verbs into the diminutive form: спати – спатоньки (to sleep), їсти – їстоньки (to eat). Isn’t it fantastic?
It happens to me to exaggerate some things… often. So, for example, I see a big cat outside. In Ukrainian I would say здоровенний котяра, but in French I say un gros chat.
Here is a tip! To put any adjective into the augmentative form, you just add the suffix –енний for masculine gender, –енна (feminine), –енне (neutral). Quick example: великий – величенний.
You will definitely ask me: “-But what about the nouns??”. Actually, it is a little bit complicated. As a general rule, we usually add -ик, -очок for masculine nouns. For example, кіт – котик, гриб – грибочок. Or, if you want to put a feminine noun into the diminutive form, just add -очка, –ка, like квітка – квіточка, дівчина – дівчинка… Always pay attention because it can change differently. If, for example, the neutral noun сонце changes into сонечко, but another neutral noun вікно changes into віконце. Remember that Ukrainian has a lot of exceptions.
I hope that you learnt something from my article. I will be very happy if it is so. Also I will be really happy to hear from you. You can write me your stories in the comments below or in the social media.