“Fifty Shades Of Cute”: Diminutive Russian Nouns. Part 1. Masculine.

There is a wide variety of diminutive forms for nouns in Russian language. When you come across a diminutive form, it may be tricky to connect it to the original word (even if you know it very well!).

The wording for this picture is: “My face when Vova says: “invoice, car, request” (the last three words are used in their diminutive forms):

Во́зле до́ма есть лес. – There is a forest near the house. (No idea what their sizes are.)

Во́зле до́мика есть лесо́к. – There is a “small forest” near the “small house”.

Я ча́сто хожу́ в тот лесо́чек. – I often go to that “small cute forest”. (Adding the second level diminutive suffix -очек to the original word «дом» gives us a clue about the size of the forest and the speaker’s personal attitude to it.)

Вот мой дом. Пожа́луйста, входи́! – Here is my house. Please come in.

Ой, како́й у тебя́ чуде́сный до́мик! – Oh, what a wonderful “small house” you have!

Learning the most commonly used diminutive suffixes is definitely helpful for improving your reading and comprehension skills.

In this part of the article we will cover the diminutive masculine nouns. There are usually distinguished by the following suffixes:

-ок (usually stressed)

лес (forest) – лесо́к

го́лос (voice) – голосо́к

стари́к (old man) – старичо́к

друг (friend) – дружо́к

NB! Don’t forget that Russian consonants -г, -к, -х change to -ж, -ч, -ш consequently when they appear at the end of the stem.

2.

ёк is a variation of the -ок suffix. It is used when the word stem ends with -ь and -й

чай (tea) – чаёк

конь (male horse) – конёк

3.

-ек:

челове́к (man, person) – челове́чек

4.

шек is a diminutive suffix of many nouns ending with -н

бара́н (mutton) – бара́шек

карма́н (pocket) – карма́шек

5.

шок is a diminutive suffix of many nouns ending with -нь – soft [н] sound

реме́нь (belt) – ремешо́к

ко́рень (root) – корешо́к

6.

ик (not stressed)

лист (leaf) – ли́стик

нос (nose) – но́сик

рот (mouth) – ро́тик

стол (table) – сто́лик

In comparison with –ок suffix, -ик may be more emphatic. It indicates that the diminished object seems cute.

7.

чик is a diminutive suffix of many nouns ending with -ан, -ун, -ец and -яц

чемода́н (suitcase) – чемода́нчик

люби́мец (pet, favorite) – люби́мчик

за́яц (hare) – за́йчик

8.

ец may have some shades of affection, sympathy or even humility, contempt and familiarity.

хлеб (bread) – хле́бец

урод (ugly person) – уро́дец

наро́д (people, nation) – наро́дец

9.

очек is a second level diminutive suffix (contains both -ок and –ек suffixes)

го́лос (voice) – голосо́к – голосо́чек

вид (look, view, appearance) – видо́к – видо́чек

го́род (town) – городо́к – городо́чек

10.

ёчек is a version of the previous suffix used for nouns ending with -й and -ь:

чай (tea) – чаёк – чаёчек

куль (sack, mat-bag) – кулёк – кулёчек

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