One Tsonga word that I really enjoy is ‘-nyana.’ It’s a diminutive suffix; you add it onto the end of another word to mean “little”.
Ximanga = cat
Ximanganyana = kitten
Yima = Stand, wait.
Yimanyana! = Wait a sec!
A few South African languages do this, and sometimes people even use it in English. Today, I was texting a friend about a soccer match. She wrote:
Her: K u have to be earlynyana ne.
Me: Sure. Why?
Her: To see everything dat will be happening, is a smallinyana event.
‘Smallinyana’ is used all the time. It might seem redundant, but it’s a way to play something down a bit. I once saw an invitation to a “smallinyana jam session.” How great is that? My favorite instance of “nyana” was a large billboard in downtown Pretoria that said a beer was “… Made with that something specialnyana!” … That little bit o’ something special.
Just thought I’d share this neat bit of language evolution, to brightenyana the day of any linguists out there.