• Estonian grammar
  • 1 Estonian sentence structure [0/2]
  • 2 Estonian nouns [0/3]
  • 3 Estonian pronouns [0/3]
  • 4 Estonian cases [0/11]
  • 5 Estonian verbs [0/8]
  • 6 Estonian adjectives [0/1]
  • 7 Estonian prepositions and postpositions [0/1]
  • 8 Estonian adverbs [0/1]
  • Diminutives in Estonian

    A diminutive is a form of a word which indicates diminished size. E.g cigar -> cigaterre, pig -> piglet etc.

    Diminutives are used quite often in Estonian, especially by children and in folk songs and poetry. This form also shows a bit of affection towards the object as with dog -> doggy, kitten -> kitty etc. 

    Diminutive form of nouns

    In Estonian the diminutive form is obtained by adding the ending -ke or -kene to the genitive singular. Both of them have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. 

    Nominative Singular English Genitive Singular          Diminutive form       
    laps child lapse lapseke(ne)
    kiisu kitten kiisu kiisuke(ne)
    ema mother ema emake(ne)
    • Ära nuta, lapseke! --- Don't cry, little child!
    • Ma armastan sind, kallis emake! --- I love you, dear mother!
    • Kuidas sul läheb, pojake? --- How are you, little son?

    Diminutive form of adjectives

    An adjective standing alone can also take on a diminutive ending.

    E.g Mu armsake --- My dear little one (nom. sing. armas 'dear', gen. sing. armsa)

    When an adjective modifies a noun which has a diminutive ending, then the adjective does not take on such a suffix.

    E.g Mu armas pojake --- My dear little son (not: mu armsake pojake)


    Exercise: write the diminutive form