I'm looking to find what it is called when a noun is modified by a prefix/suffix to mean that it is someone who receives x. And also, if there are examples of it in languages that are simple.

The best example of this idea is the word "Beloved" which I'm pretty sure breaks down as "be" + "love" + "ed" despite what a number of etymology sites say. And that "be" is used to indicate "in the state of being" so the word actually reads as "in the state of being loved"

I know "fighter" is "fight" + "er" and "er" is the "Agent Noun Modifier", but what I need to know is if the idea of the "be" prefix that I'm pointing at is a thing and what it's called.

Reason being, I'm creating a semi-realistic conlang and would like to create an equivalent if it is a thing that a language does, rather than it just being a complicated meshing of forms of words.

  • Be-XXX words are often passivized: Bedazzled, bedeviled, befuddled, begotten, beheaded, bemoaned, berieved, bereft, besieged, betrothed. Germanic, I'd say. Commented Feb 27 at 4:47
  • In terms of semantic roles (thematic relations), the person who's being loved is normally a patient not a recipient, i.e. they are generally a direct object not an indirect object.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 27 at 9:40
  • Thanks for the answer ^.^
    – Durakken
    Commented Mar 19 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is called a "derivational morpheme." Derivational morphemes are affixes (prefixes or suffixes) that are added to a base word to create a new word with a different meaning or grammatical category.

The "be-" prefix in English can indeed serve to indicate the state or condition of being associated with the base word. In your example, "beloved," the "be-" prefix is added to the base word "love" to indicate the state of being loved.

While "be-" is not as productive as some other derivational prefixes in English, it does exist in a number of words where it carries a similar meaning. For instance, "besotted" means being affected strongly with love or infatuation.

In your conlang, you can certainly create a similar derivational morpheme if it fits the phonological and grammatical rules of your language. It could serve to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of the action represented by the base word. Make sure to establish consistent rules for its usage and how it interacts with other morphemes in your language's morphology.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Feb 27 at 4:58
  • Thanks for the answer.
    – Durakken
    Commented Mar 19 at 0:16

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