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Diminutive-Hypocoristic Words

A characteristic feature of Russian language is presence of a great number of diminutive-hypocoristic words. Diminutive-hypocoristic form in Russian is mostly formed with the help of special suffixes. As you already know, suffixal system is extremely well developed in Russian, more than in any other language. We can express our emotions and estimation with the help of suffixes. Also, with the help of them we can express caress, tenderness, admiration, adoration, disdain, hatred and so on. However, in the present article we will be mostly interested in the ways of expressing caress, tenderness and admiration.  

When we talk with children or close relatives, we always use diminutive-hypocoristic forms: instead of neutral word «сын» /son/ we prefer using «сынуля» or «сыночек», instead of a meager word «дочь» /daughter/ we will say «доченька», «дочурка», we will call «маму» /mom/ «мамуля» or «мамочка», and we will call «бабушку» /grandmother/ «бабуля» or «бабулечка».
The expressing of kindness, beauty and caress in speaking are also important as well as good kind actions, performed in our life. 

Diminutive-hypocoristic form is connected with the form of diminutive, which is a word or a word form, expressing subjective estimative meaning of small size, amount and so on. However, diminutive has both diminutive-hypocoristic (кошечка, домик, ключик) and diminutive-slighting or disparaging forms (людишки, царьки, народишко), but we will tell only about diminutive-hypocoristic word form in the present article.
Forming of diminutive-hypocoristic words with the help of suffixes is used for subject estimation and is cgaracteristic for colloquial, expressive marked speech. Diminutive-hypocoristic forms, as it was mentioned above, are often used for expressing of close relations, paticularly while communicating with small kids. 

So, here are diminutive-hypocoristic suffixes, which exist to help us to address wider public politely and blandly or to describe something or somebody.

Suffix -ек
It is used when a vowel drops out of a word during its case change.
For example: орешек – орешка (checking word). We can see the vowel е dropping out in the checking word.
Сыночек – сыночка (checking word). Then again we can see the vowel е dropping out in the checking word. 
Other examples: кусочек – кусочка, веночек – веночка, человечек – человечка, цветочек – цветочка.

Suffix –ик
It is used when a vowel doesn't drop out of a word during its case change.
For example: столик – столика (checking word), бегемотик – бегемотика, нолик – нолика, обормотик – обормотика, солдатик – солдатика, домик - домика.

Suffixes -ечк, -еньк
These suffixes are used after soft consonants and hushing sounds, and also after vowels.
For example: чашечка, доченька, рученька, маечка, заечка, новенький, книжечка.
These suffixes are often used for forming diminutive-hypocoristic form of personal names.
For example: Юлечка, Танечка, Сенечка, Олечка, Сашечка, Сонечка.

Suffixes -очк, -оньк
These suffixes are used in all the other cases.
For example: сказочка, глазоньки, тетрадочка, парочка, яблонька.
These suffixes are also used for forming diminutive-hypocoristic form of personal names.
For example: Димочка, Ромочка, Тимочка.

Suffix -ул
These suffix is often used fro forming diminutive-hypocoristic forms of personal names and denominations of affinities.
For example: лапатуля, Димуля, сынуля, мамуля, бабуля, дедуля, Машуля, Сашуля.

You should remember and pay attention to the fact that diminutive-hypocoristic suffixes are never stressed. They are always unstressed.
For example: глАзоньки, дОмик, стОлик, чАшечка. The stressed is marked by the capital letter in examples.
As we have noticed, diminutive-hypocoristic words are often used in Russian language. This helps us to express our kindness, concern, love and caress for outward things and people. Diminutive-hypocoristic form can be derived with the help of proper suffixpractically from any word in Russian language.

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