Please help me out, I am not sure about this. Can you add diminutives to Spanish words where this is not traditionally done and create new words that most people would understand? e.g. take a random word - invitacíon. Could you say invitacíoncitas (or invitacíonitas, I think it sounds better, is the "cita after an n" rule strict?) to mean "little invitations"/pequeñas invitacíones? Do native Spanish speakers understand, and more importantly, appreciate "invented" words such as these? Please note that I am referring to an informal written context here.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Yes, you would be understood. However, in most places it would be regarded as baby-speak or informal.

Also, you need to bear in mind that the choice of suffix to construct a diminutive varies from region to region.

In Leon, north-west Spain, the suffices "-in" (dinerín) and "-ina" (galletina) are preferred, and often it's not even regarded as baby-speak.

Other regions such a Aragón, north-east Spain, the suffices "-ico" (dinerico) and "-ica" (galletica) are preferred.

In my experience, in Spain the most neutral choice of suffices is "-ito" (dinerito) and "-ita" (galletita).

As pointed out by pHonda, another possibility are the suffices "-illo" (dinerillo) and "-illa" (galletilla). My impression is that these suffices are more common in the south of Spain.

  • This answer is quite complete. However, I would add that it would not only be regarded as baby-speak. It is used to add other connotations, depending on the context: "Te has ganado unos buenos dinerillos" Here, dinerillos is used to mean that it's not a lot of money, but it doesn't have a childish intention to it.
    – pHonta
    Mar 30, 2014 at 19:43
  • @pHonta I can't believe I forgot about "-illo" and "-illa". Thanks. I've now updated the answer.
    – Nico
    Mar 30, 2014 at 20:46
  • I would like to say that there is a link between closed front unrounded vowels and diminutive communication, but I can't find the facts about it anywhere. es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_cerrada_anterior_no_redondeada
    – dockeryZ
    Mar 30, 2014 at 21:18
  • @ZaneEdwardDockery You can find the full description here in the RAE's "Nueva gramática de la lengua española (2009)". If nobody else writes an answer with the information in that link, I will consider to post another answer.
    – Nico
    Mar 31, 2014 at 9:03
  • 2
    I asked my mother-in-law to explain how she makes arroz al horno, and she went: "Cortas unas patatitas en rodajitas finas y las fríes un poquito en aceite. Luego pones a cocer la carne hecha trocitos y, mientras tanto, haces un sofritito con un tomate cortadito..." etc. etc. Some people obviously find it cute to speak using lots of diminutives. May 4, 2014 at 21:49

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