The Attenuative Suffix: ཙམ་

This suffix may be used with adjectives (in their short form) as well as with substantives, numbers, and verbs. In the conversational register, the suffix ཙམ་ is usually pronounced -ts. Its meaning varies according to context:

After an adjective, it means “a little,” or “a little more”:

  • མང་ཙམ་ “A little more”
  • གོང་ཁེ་ཙམ་ “A little cheaper”
  • མགྱོགས་ཙམ་ “A little faster”
  • དམར་ཙམ་ “A little red”
  • ལྷག་ཙམ་ “A few more”
  • སྔ་ཙམ་ “A little earlier (or early)”

After a number, it means “about”:

  • མི་བརྒྱ་ཙམ་ “About 100 people”
  • སྒོར་མོ་འབུམ་གཉིས་ཙམ་ “About two hundred thousand gormo (yuan)”
  • སྐར་མ་བཅོ་ལྔ་ཙམ་ “About a quarter of an hour”

After a noun, a verb, or a nominalized verb, depending on context this suffix may mean “only,” “simply,” “mere,” “just,” or “almost”:

  • མིང་ཙམ། “Only the name, purely nominal”
  • ཁོང་ཕེབས་པ་ཙམ་གྱིས་རྙོག་ཁྲ་བཟོས་སོང་། “The mere fact that he came created problems.”
  • ལག་པ་ཐུག་པ་ཙམ་གྱིས་ན་ཚ་གཏང་གིས། “Just touching it with my hand makes it hurt.”
  • ཁོ་རང་མ་ཤི་ཙམ་བརྡུངས་པ་རེད། “He was beaten almost to death.”
  • མགོ་ནས་རྟིང་པར་མ་སླེབས་ཙམ་བར་དུ། “Almost from head to foot”
  • The suffix also appears in certain adverbial formulations such as:
  • ཨའོ་ཙ་ “Quite, not bad”
  • ཕར་ཙ་ད་གར་ “Just there”
The Attenuative Suffix: ཙམ་



Collection KMap Texts
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Nicolas Tournadre
Language English
UID mandala-texts-65657