How free are we to add the suffix -iĝ- to a word when we want to give the idea that we or someone or something is becoming the thing that the word concerns? I'm not sure how else to ask the question.

An example of where I've seen something like this would be Kial mi Esperantistiĝis for Why I became an Esperantist.

Here are some other example sentences:

I want to become a cameraman: Mi deziras kameraistiĝi (instead of Mi deziras fariĝi kameraisto).

Ice becomes water: Glacio akviĝas (instead of Glacio fariĝas akvo).

I came to this question when I was trying to think about how to translate the following sentence, which has a little different structure than the above examples.

I was only joking about becoming an actor. Mi nur ŝercis pri ____________________.

How should the blank be filled in?

  • 4
    For future questions, maybe you could pass your question through this website just before posting in order to automatically replace the x-system: komputeko.net/konvertilo.htm
    – Neil Roberts
    Sep 14, 2016 at 21:06
  • Nice, I didn't know about that site. Thanks. Sep 14, 2016 at 21:16
  • Even better, add to your computer a way to type them directly. See other questions for details depending on the OS. :) Sep 15, 2016 at 7:11
  • Well, on the particular computer I used to type the answer, I can't since it's not mine. It would be nice, though! Sep 15, 2016 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


In general, the root of a word falls into one of three categories. What happens when you add depends on the category of the root:

  • Verb/Action roots: adding turns a transitive verb into an intransitive verb, e.g. fermi -> fermiĝi/fermiĝo
  • Adjective/Quality roots: adding creates the meaning "to become~", e.g. granda -> grandiĝi/grandiĝo
  • Noun/Object roots: adding creates the meaning "to become a/an~", e.g. edzo -> edziĝi/edziĝo

More information: http://bertilow.com/pmeg/vortfarado/afiksoj/sufiksoj/igh.html

As for your specific sentence, I often find it awkward to translate "-ing" verbs from English, so it may be easier to say, "I was only joking when I said I wanted to become an actor" -> Mi nur ŝercis kiam mi diris ke mi volas fariĝi aktoro/aktoriĝi or "My desire to become an actor was just a joke" -> Mia deziro fariĝi aktoro/aktoriĝi estis nur ŝerco.

  • One can also simply use iĝi instead of fariĝi.
    – Max
    Oct 9, 2016 at 16:19

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