-age (wiktionary)

From Old French -age, from Latin -aticum.

Cognates include Spanish -aje and Italian -aggio.

-age (etymonline)

word-forming element in nouns of act, process, function, condition, from Old French and French -age, from L.L. -aticum "belonging to, related to," originally neuter adjectival suffix, from L. -atus, pp. suffix of verbs of the first conjugation.

1.The sound change from "t" to "g" is too obscure to me, and how to explain this phenomenon reasonablly?

2.Is there any other word undergone the same change?

  • 1
    So what would you like to see in an answer? Intermediate stages? Parallel changes? Perhaps specify this in your question a bit more.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


To get the ball started, here's an educated guess:

-aticum [atiku] > *[atsiku] > *[atsku] > *[atʃo] > [aʒə] (older French) > -age [idʒ] (English)

because [ti] is often unstable. The final -m was lost very early IIRC.

  • 2
    Right. Historical Palatalization of non-labial stops [ki, ti -> tʃi; di, gi -> dʒi] before front vowels is practically universal in Romance languages, and in English words (and productive derivational morphemes like -age) that are borrowed from Romance. Even when the vowel is no longer there (as in English and French -age), its effects remain in the no longer redundant palatal consonants.
    – jlawler
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 2:38
  • Might intervowel voicing of /k/ have preceded some of that? I'm not aware offhand of words in which intermediate /tʃ/ was later voiced. Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 20:01

I was also looking for the answer of this question and had trouble finding a good, detailed explanation. Fortunately I found a book that might help anyone who would like to know how 'aticu, aticum' became '-age'. "Cultural and Linguistic Factors in Word Formation: An Integrated Approach to the Development of the Suffix -age", by Suzanne Fleischman (University of California Publications)

  • I think this should be a comment, since it doesn't provide an answer...
    – LjL
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 14:00

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