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In Spanish, the diminutive form of names can be used to affectionately refer to someone. Are there any rules for how to derive the diminutive form of names (of people, not places), or is it different on a case-by-case basis?

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Do you mean the name of a person or names in general? – Laura Jan 13 '12 at 12:31
@Laura: The name of a person, I'll edit to clarify. – jrdioko Jan 13 '12 at 13:24
You mean using Ale rather than Alejandro(a) for example? – César Jan 13 '12 at 14:54
@César: That would be shortening or abbreviation, rather than diminutive. I guess that's what the OP is pointing at, though. – leonbloy Jan 13 '12 at 16:42
So, Alejandrito rather than Alejandro. This is a tough one – César Jan 13 '12 at 16:49
up vote 8 down vote accepted

If the name ends in a vowel but no "I":

eliminate the vowel and add "ito/illo/ín/iño" (male) or "ita/illa/ina/iña" (female).

  • Eduardo - Eduardito/Eduardillo/Eduardín/Eduardiño
  • Manolo - Manolito/Manolillo/Manolín/Manoliño
  • Mirta - Mirtita/Mirtilla/Mirtina/Mirtiña
  • Marco - Marquito/Marquillo/Marquín/Marquiño
  • Carlo - Carlito/Carlillo/Carlín/Carliño
  • Carla - Carlita/Carlilla/Carlina/Carliña

Exception: a woman name ended in "O". Add "ito".

  • Rocío - Rociito.

If the name ends in a consonant or "I":

add "cito/"cillo/ciño" or "cita/cilla/ciña".

  • Javier - Javiercito/Javiercillo/Javiercín/Javierciño
  • Germán - Germancito/Germancillo/Germancín/Germanciño
  • Lilian - Liliancita/Liliancilla/Lilianciña
  • Marlon - Marloncito/Marloncillo/Marloncín/Marlonciño
  • Pati - Paticita/Paticilla/Paticiña
  • Pili - Pilicita/Pilicilla/Piliciña

Note: I'm not sure, but if the name ends in "I", don't use "cina", it sounds very bad and I've never heard it.

Two exceptions:

  1. names ended in "L". Add "ito/illo/ín/iño" or "ita/illa/ina/iña".

    • Isabel - Isabelita/Isabelilla/Isabelina/Isabeliña
    • Mabel - Mabelita/Mabelilla/Mabelina/Mabeliña
    • Raquel - Raquelita/Raquelilla/Raquelina/Raqueliña
    • Rafael - Rafaelito/Rafaelillo/Rafaelín/Rafaeliño
  2. names ended in "s" (irregulars?).

    • Carlos - Carlitos (also Carlín, Carliño, Carlillos)
    • Marcos - Marquitos (also Marquín, Marquiño, Marquillos)
    • Andrés - Andrecito (also Andrecín, Andreciño, Andrecillo)
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Hola Ricardo, I tried to improve your formatting to make your answer look more schematic. If you don't like it, feel free to improve it or rollback :) – Alenanno Jan 14 '12 at 11:19
Me hubiera gustado que quedara así desde el inicio, ¡gracias! – Ricardo Jan 14 '12 at 12:04
Muy bien. :) ¡De nada! – Alenanno Jan 14 '12 at 12:06
+1 Muy buena respuesta! – César Jan 14 '12 at 14:52
Raquel no lleva tilde. – CesarGon Jan 14 '12 at 22:00

There are only rules of diminutives such as -cito or -ito. But for personal names, there are no rules. Since such nicknames were created by children as stammer words Apensen know. An example is the name of Rodolfo is Fito and Felipe is Pipe.

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I actually was asking about diminutives such as -ito and -cito, not nicknames like Fito (see comments above). – jrdioko Jan 13 '12 at 22:04
In fact the vast majority of personal names he has a nickname, and is classified as a diminutive and not as a nickname – AlejoNext Jan 13 '12 at 22:12

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