Diminutive and Augmentative

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Diminutives are affixes on nouns which generally indicate smallness, and are often extended to indicate youth or affection. Mi'gmaq has a diminutive suffix -ji'j, which can be added to nouns to denote any of the possible meanings - smallness, youth, or affection. It can be added to both animate and inanimate nouns, apparently without restriction.

gjigan city
gjigan-ji'j town, village
ji'nm man
ji'nmji'j young man
lmu'j dog
lmu'-ji'j puppy
guntew rock
guntew-ji'j small rock, pebble

The -ji'j suffix is also commonly added to names to indicate affection or endearment.

Augmentatives are affixes which denote largeness, essentially the opposite of diminutives. In terms of nominal augmentation, Mi'gmaq seems to prefer using the adjective mesg'ig rather than a particular augmentative affix. However, there is evidence that at some point the prefix gji- was used as a sort of augmentative, as it occurs as a prefix in several words that are bigger or greater than their un-prefixed counterparts.

ga'gaquj crow
gji-ga'qaquj raven
nisgam god
gji-nisgam Great Spirit

Examples of this type of prefixation are limited, however, and the process does not seem to be productive any longer.

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