Diminutives in Spanish Language. There are little things too.

Diminutives in Spanish.

The topic of diminutives in Spanish, as in English, becomes complex because of the different uses we make of them in our everyday speech.

In English, the word compositions and suffixes used for the different uses of the diminutives are much more abundant than in Spanish, so we will only establish the minimum comparisons necessary for the most notable uses of these diminutives. For example, Diminutives can be used as:

  • Additional expression of affection with direct relatives.

Root Word Affective Form English Diminutive Spanish Diminutive
Father / Padre Dad / Papá Daddy Papito
Mother / Madre Mom / Mamá Mommy Mamita
Grandfather / Abuelo Grandpa / Abue Grandaddy Abuelito
Grandmother / Abuela Grandma / Abue Grammy Abuelita

diminutives in spanishCourse in Spanish, as in English, the terms used as diminutives for relatives loved ones are practically infinite, so we include only “the basics” in our table of examples.

  • Comparative expression of the characteristics of persons, animals or things.

Root Word English Diminutives Spanish Diminutives
Dog /Perro Doggie / Little dog Perrito / Pequeño Perro
Cat / Gato Kitten / Little cat Gatito / Pequeño gato
Beach / Playa Little beach Playita / Pequeña playa
Beaches / Playas Little beaches Playitas / Pequeñas playas
Dwarf / Enano Little dwarf Enanito / Pequeño enano
Dwarfs / Enanos Little dwarfs Enanitos / Pequeños enanos
Chair / Silla Small chair Sillita / Pequeña silla
Table / Mesa Small table Mesita / Pequeña mesa
Bird / Pájaro Birdie / Little bird Pajarito / Pequeño pájaro

diminutives in spanishNote that in both languages, there is the possibility of expressing diminutives with the combination that includes the adjectives:

little (or small)  / pequeño (a) combined with the standard noun.

However,  there are diminutives in Spanish using the word root and “ito”,” ita “, itos”, “itas” endings, based on the circumstances of the number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine), for which in English only is the diminutive form based on the use of the adjectives “small” or “little”.

  • Diminutive form of given names of people or animals.

English Name Diminutive Spanish Equivalent Diminutive
John Johnny Juan Juanito
Barbara Barbie Bárbara Barbarita
Charles Charlie Carlos Carlitos
Peter Pete Pedro Pedrito
Ángela Angie Ángela Angelita
Alfred Freddie Alfredo Alfredito
Andrew Andy Andrés Andresito
Sandra Sandie Sandra Sandrita
Thomas Tommy Tomas Tomasito
Susan Suzie Susana Susanita

diminutives in spanishIn the case of proper names, diminutives in English are based on endings “y” and “ie” with some modifications of the original name. In Spanish the original names have very little variation and added “ito” and “ita” terminations.

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Written By Alberto Otano

One Comment on “Diminutives in Spanish Language. There are little things too.

  1. Lou Hargest

    September 29, 2017 at 7:56

    Thanks. I really like this publish.

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