« PreviousContinue »
The English genitive or possessive case, expressed by the preposition of, or the apostrophe and an s ('s), is rendered into Spanish by the former mode only; so that whenever such familiar phrases occur as "My brother's book," "His sister's drawing," you have but to turn them into the other form, viz. "The book of my brother," "The drawing of his sister," and translate them literally into Spanish.
Augmentatives and Diminutives.
Most of the Southern languages have the power of increasing or diminishing the value of the noun by a different termination. The Spanish, the Italian, the Portuguese, are all very rich in this respect, and have an almost endless variety of these graceful. and powerful forms. When in English we wish to express the different qualities of a boy, for example, we are obliged to add adjectives to the noun in order to explain our meaning. The Spaniards have this method, too, but they ordinarily supply it with a different ending of the word itself; and thus, to express a pretty boy, a little boy, a big boy, a disagreeable bad boy, &c., they do not always use the adjectives, but by a change of the ending of the noun itself express most forcibly their meaning: the word hombre, man, thus becoming hombrazo, hombron, hombrote; the word sombrero, hat, sombrerito, sombrerico, sombrerillo, sombreruelo. The syllables used for increasing the value of the noun are azo, on, ote, for the masculine, and aza, ona, ota, for the feminine. Should the noun end in a vowel, it must be suppressed to allow the addition of the above syllables.
Libro, librazo, libron, librote,
A book, a big book, &c.
If the noun terminate in an accented vowel, or a y, the syllables are added without any suppression; and the same rule will hold good for nouns ending in a consonant; thus—
Jabalí, jabaliazo, &c.
Buey, bueyazo, &c.
Muger, mugeraza, &c.
A wild boar, &c.
An ox, a big ox, &c.
A woman, a masculine woman, &c.
The syllable azo not merely in signification increases the size of the noun to which it is affixed, but it means, likewise, a blow
struck by the noun; in this way the word cañonazo signifies a cannon-shot, as well as a big cannon; martillazo means a blow struck with a hammer, as well as a big hammer, &c.
The diminutives are even more abundant than the augmentatives, and various are the ways by which the expressions of tenderness, patronage, pity, and grace, are displayed.
The usual terminations are in ito, ico, illo, uelo, for the masculine, and ita, ica, illa, and uela, for the feminine. The endings in ito and ico denote esteem; illo, only diminution whilst uelo indicates diminution and contempt at the same time.
Mesa, mesita, mesica, mesilla,
Hoyo, hoyito, hoyico, &c.
Amigo, amiguito, &c.
A table, a little table, a pretty
little table, a poor little table.
A ditch, a little ditch, &c.
When the noun ends in e, er, or on, the terminations are cico,
cito, cilla, zuelo, &c.
Hombro, hombrecico, hombrecito, hombrecillo, hombrezuelo,
Muger, mugercita, mugercica, mugercilla, mugerzuela.
A man, a little man, a dear little man, a poor little man.
A woman, a little woman, &c
If the noun should terminate in y, or be a monosyllable, the endings must be ecico, ecillo, &c.
Rey, reyecito, reyecillo, &c.
A king, a petty king, &c.
There are one or two others to be met with in the language, both augmentatives and diminutives; but those I have explained are most in use, and the others will be perfectly clear and intelligible to the understanding when some insight has been gained into the genius of the language.
EXERCISE FOURTH.-ON THE POSSESSIVE CASE.
Augmentatives and Diminutives.
NOTE.-Words marked thus (*) are not to be expressed in
conversation. By the friend's garden. The nation's wishes
conversacion. deseo. On the man's conscience. From the artist's success. To the
king's power and influence. A miser's treasure. Mankind's
influencia. avariento tesoro.
pleasures and pains. The bird's wing and leg.
books and pens. The boy's attention to study. The master's
orders. To the soldier's courage and vigilance. By the dog's
fidelity. Woman's love. A big man and woman. The little fidelidad.
child's intelligence. A pretty little house with a small garden. niño inteligencia.
On the top of a great tree. With a pretty little woman.
ugly house. A disagreeable old man and woman. A pretty
little bird in a large cage. Some little shepherdesses in a
field with some little lambs and sheep. Some pretty flowers in
a small garden. From the little man's attention to the business.
A little grammar for the study of the Spanish language with
a good dictionary of the idioms. A small knife and fork on
the table, with bread and meat. In the large room of a great
THE adjective in English, though for the most part joined to a noun, and always belonging to one either expressed or understood, nevertheless does not change its termination from singular to plural, or from masculine to feminine, but remains invariable. Thus, the word fine is used before man, woman, men and women, without alteration.
In Spanish the adjective not only belongs to the noun, it must agree with it; therefore those adjectives which, in the masculine, end in o, change the o into a when joined to a feminine noun, the plurals being os and as, thus following the rules of the substantive. Should the adjective, however, end in any other letter, it is common to both genders, though taking the mark of the plural.
The Spanish adjective, even in the singular, is often employed without its noun, in cases where it cannot be used in English, or would have a plural sense. Thus, un rico, means, a rich the word hombre being understood; el sabio, the wise
man; man, &c.
It is not easy to assign the exact place of the adjective in a Spanish phrase; whether it should be put before or after the It is usually found after it; as,
El hombre bueno,
La muger virtuosa,
The good man.
The virtuous woman.
There are many cases, however, in which the adjective may precede the noun with elegance; as,
El buen siervo de Dios,
Sus bellos ojos,
The good servant of God.
There are eleven adjectives, the first eight of which lose their last vowel, and the three last, the last syllable of the singular number, when placed before a masculine substantive; they are the following:
The last adjective grande loses its
good, bad, one.
first chapter. third point. last grief. Saint Paul.
a hundred horses.
last syllable both before feminine and masculine nouns when signifying a merit or quality, and we say, gran reina, gran capitan, gran gala, gran bribon, &c.
Except the noun should begin with a vowel, when it must be written in full; as, grande amigo, su grande alma, grande odio, &c.
EXERCISE FIFTH.-ON ADJECTIVES.
A good book. A tender mother. The unfortunate man.
A wise resolution. Gentle women. The good child's
A sample of a clever production. A charming lady. A sketch
of a beautiful landscape. A wonderful work.
and a high chair. Two men in a small boat.
A round table
A long discourse