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1206. The great mass of secondary suffixes

Meaning. a. The great mass of secondary suffixes are adjective-making: they form from nouns adjectives indicating appurtenance or relation, of the most indefinite and varied character. But, as a matter of course, this indefiniteness often undergoes specialization: so, particularly, into designation of procedure or descent, so that distinctive patronymic and metronymic and gentile words are the result; or, again, into the designation of possession. Moreover, while the masculines and feminines of such adjectives are employed as appellatives, the neuter is also widely used as an abstract, denoting the quality expressed attributively by the adjective; and neuter abstracts are with the same suffixes made from adjectives. There are also special suffixes (very few) by which abstracts are made directly, from adjective or noun.

b. A few suffixes make no change in the part of speech of the primitive, but either change its degree (diminution and comparison), or make other modifications, or leave its meaning not sensibly altered.