By secondary thematicization of older consonant-stem, e.g.
- post-Proto-Indo-European *musī (“fly”) (cf. Ancient Greek μυῖα (muîa), Latin musca) > Pre-Slavic *mus-ī-k- > *mux-ī-k-ā > Common Slavic *mъšica (“fly”).
- post-Proto-Indo-European *wl̥kʷī (“she-wolf”) (cf. Proto-Germanic *wulgī) > Pre-Slavic *vilk-ī-k- > *vilč-ī-k-ā > Common Slavic *vьlčica (“she-wolf”)
This is comparable to the treatment of ī/ih₂-stems in Latin, in the suffix -trīx, compare:
- Latin genitrīx (“mother”) : Sanskrit जनित्री (jánitrī, “mother”), Ancient Greek γενέτειρα (genéteira).
The primary function in PIE, also retained in Proto-Slavic, was thus to create feminines, substantivized feminine adjectives. The diminutive function is closely related to the structural element */-k-ā/, and has parallels in other suffixes: *-ьka, *-ъka, *-ika, *-ьkъ, *-ъkъ.
*-ica f (sometimes m, see usage notes)
- Denominal, forming diminutives.
- Denominal, forming feminine counterparts of masculine nouns.
- Denominal, forming nouns denoting something related to the meaning of the baseword.
- Deadjectival, denoting a carrier of a property.
- (rare) Deadjectival, forming abstract nouns.
- (rare) Deverbal, forming agent nouns and nomina instrumenti.
** The second form occurs in languages that contract early across /j/ (e.g. Czech), while the first form occurs in languages that do not (e.g. Russian).
Diminutive formations are particularly productive in South Slavic (especially Old Church Slavonic and Serbo-Croatian, which do not have diminutive reflexes of suffixes *-ьka / *-ъka). North Slavic has the suffix preserved in relics, and prefers the suffix *-ьka / *-ъka instead.
Agent and instrument nouns formations are secondary, and were originally based on the primary adjective, noun or participle, and later semantically influenced by the corresponding verb. E.g.
- *bъrzica (“fast flowing river; a fast human or animal”) ← *bъrzъ (“fast”) : *bъrziti (“to rush, hurry, haste”)
- *bujica (“torrent, rapid stream”) ← *bujь (“unrestrained, violent, fierce”) : *bujiti (“to rapidly, vigorously grow, surge, swell”)
Some agent nouns on *-ica, such as *pьjanica (“drunkard”), can also be masculine, which is especially productive in Serbo-Croatian.
Accent depends on that of the baseword. In case of oxytonic and circumflexed base, usually the suffixal *-i- is acuted. Derivations from acuted basewords usually preserve the acute (e.g. *ba̋bica, *sta̋rica).
- *-ьnica (with *-ьn- element abstracted away from denominal derivations on *-ьnъ)
- *-avica (with *-av- element abstracted away from agent nouns on *-ava and adjectives on *-avъ)
- *-ikъ (masculine counterpart)
- East Slavic:
- South Slavic:
- West Slavic:
- Šekli, Matej, “Besedotvorni pomeni samostalniških izpeljank v praslovanščini”, in Philological Studies (in Slovene), volume 10, issue 1, Skopje, Perm, Ljubljana, Zagreb, 2012, pages 115–32
- Halla-aho, Jussi, Problems of Proto-Slavic Historical Nominal Morphology: On the Basis of Old Church Slavic (Slavica Helsingiensia; 26), Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 2006, page 85f
- Sławski, Franciszek, editor, Słownik prasłowiański (in Polish), volume I, Wrocław: Polska Akademia Nauk, 1974, page 98f