Russian language is quite rich. There are so many ways to express your thoughts in Russian! One of the things I really like in my language is the variety of diminutive suffixes. Here's definition of a diminutive from Wikipedia:
“In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form (abbreviated dim), is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment.”
They can be found in nouns, adjectives and adverbs. Let's look at nouns today.
Who is собачка? It's a small dog (собака). And what is окошко? A small window (окно). Of course you could just say маленькая собака, небольшое окно, but your Russian will sound more natural when you use diminutive suffixes.
Заяц — зайчик, зайка.
Examples of some common diminutive suffixes:
-ик: пёсик (a small male dog, from пёс — a male dog); братик (a little brother, from брат — a brother);
-ок: росток (a sprout, from рост — growth); пирожок (a small pie, from пирог — a pie);
-чик: пальчик (a small finger, from палец — a finger); кранчик (a small tap, from кран — a tap);
-к: дочка (a little daughter, from дочь — daughter); ночка (from ночь — a night); речка (a small river, from река — a river); ведёрко (a small bucket, from ведро — a bucket);
-ичк, -ечк: водичка (from вода — water); табличка (a tablet, a sign plate, from табло — a panel, an indicator); ложечка (a small spoon, from ложка — a spoon).
Утка — уточка.
In Russian these suffixes are called уменьшительно-ласкательные суффиксы — from уменьшать (to lessen, to reduce) and ласкать (to fondle, to pet, to caress). Such suffixes can even show smallness of an object and endearment in the same time. The best way to learn them is of course reading and/or talking to natives a lot. By knowing these suffixes you'll be able to show your endearment much stronger.
Птица — птичка, синица — синичка.
Examples of sentences:
Какая милая лошадка! What a cute horse! / What a cute little horse!
(a horse — лошадь)
На столе стояла красивая чашечка. There was a beautiful small cup on the table.
(a cup - чашка)
Среди его игрушек были машинки и солдатики. There were toy cars and toy soldiers amidst his toys.
(a car — машина, a soldier — солдат).
Мышь — мышка.
Кошка — кошечка.