To at be there!

I came across a fantastic little word today:

  • ĉeesti
It is pronounced “che – esti”. Be sure to pronounce each “e” separately, don’t roll them into a single sound like in English “feed”.


It generally means “to attend, be present, witness”. The reason that it is so neat, is that no new word was used to make it like those three completely different English words. It’s made from two very simple parts, but makes perfect sense.

  • ĉe = at
  • esti = to be
To literally “to be at”. Check out the finer details of “ĉe” here. Want to know why it’s “ĉeesti” rather than “estĉei” even though its translation is “to be at” rather than “to at be”? Check out this post. If it still doesn’t make sense, comment below!
  • Mi ĉeestos vian feston. Eble. = I will be at your party. Maybe.
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15 thoughts on “To at be there!

  1. p.s. Your notes about verbs having grammatical slots reminds me of what I have read about Lobjan. The whole language is rendered in this fashion…one has to remember parameter positions for each type of word in the language.

  2. Thanks the clarification. Except for the few exceptions I think you’ve pointed out, most verbs intuitively reveal their transitivity as you explained. If the verb requires the subject to be involved with an action ‘on/with/to/etc’ an object, then it is transitive (receiving an object in your way of thinking above), e.g. “Mordis viro melon.”. If not, i.e. the verb describes only the state or action of the subject, then it is intrasitive, e.g. “Li malsatas.”

  3. Commenting in a new post so the reply isn’t only 30 chars wide 🙂

    You make good points on not getting locked into a transitive/intransitive role for every verb (your punching example is a good one) and I hadn’t thought of cxeesti possibly carrying some of the properties of esti (not saying it does or doesn’t, just saying that thought hadn’t crossed my mind).

    Regardless, it’s an interesting thought and I appreciate you pointing it out.

    I hopped on the lernu.net thread and someone suggested the PIV (the latest is the NPIV from what I’ve read further). Definitely on the wishlist but, at $140ish it’s a little too steep for me to snatch up on a whim.

    Gxis,
    Kelly

    • Good plan! 😀

      Yeah, I remember when I first learnt about transitivity, I had confusions about it until it was described as not whether a verb appears with an object, but whether it is capable of receiving an object, so I’m always reminded of the punch example! 🙂

      Yes id love that dictionary! Have you heard that there is a project to bring it online and searchable? If not, take a peek: http://www.vortaro.net/

      If I understand the news section correctly, the first test version should be around by the end of the year!

      A

        • Are to referring to when I talked about a verb receiving an object? If so, yes that’s what I mean, if a verb is capable of receiving a direct object, then it is capable of acting upon a direct object. Perhaps the wording isn’t so clear the way I said it, sorry!

          As a vague justification, the idea of a verb receiving a subject or object comes from thinking of a verb as a item with a number of grammatical slots thats it’s possible to fill. Like the verb is a function with a set amount of parameters (subject parameter, object parameter). So thinking of it this way, a verb function can receive particular parameters. So this is like modelling syntax as computational functions, which is what I’m used to at work 🙂

          Although, I can imagine how using “receive” could be misguiding if looking at verbs from a different perspective. By receiving an object, it kind of sounds like the object is some kind of action I guess? If we take object and receive literally.

          Anyway I’ll try to be more clear! Thought I’d explain incase I say similar things in future! 😀 though you’re welcome to ask for clarifications then too!

          A

  4. I’m a fan of cxeesti. We have a weekly meeting for a local group here and I use it with the similar ‘kunveno’.

    Ekz. Mi cxesstos la kunvenon.

    Is cxeesti transitive? Should I be using the -n accusative with kunveno?

    In general, what’s the best way to determine the transitiviy (or lack) of a particular Esperanto verb?

    Great post as always and thanks.

    Amike,
    Kelly

    • \\\In general, what’s the best way to determine the transitiviy (or lack) of a particular Esperanto verb?\\\

      La lingvosento povas helpi cxiam, por ekhavi gxin legu multe da libroj. Aliokaze havu iun vortaron cxe vi.

      \\\Should I be using the -n accusative with kunveno?\\\

      Laux mia scio, oni povas anstatauxigi iun ajn prepozicion per la akuzativo se tia anstatauxo ne kauxzas plursencajxon kaj la verbo ne enhavas la sufikson -igx-.

    • Oo! kunveno is good!

      That’s an interesting question. I’ve been pondering this. And I don’t have a full answer yet. The reason I use the accusative here, is because the author of “Being Colloquial in Esperanto” does so, and his grasp of the language seems sensible to follow. But I’ve also seen many many examples of sentences like: “Mi ĉeestos ĉe la kunveno”.

      I’ve started a discussion about this (well, slightly broader than this: what happens to a verb when you use prepositions like ĉe and kun for word building) on Lernu.net

      Generally in word building, the verb keeps its natural transitivity until you mess with it, with “-igi” or “-iĝi”. But what about this situation:

      Mi laboras kun vi = I work with you (intransitive)

      Kunlabori = to cooperate, collaborate (intransitive), therefore:

      Mi kunlaboras kun vi = I collaborate with you.

      But can we interpret “kunlabori” as “to work with”? In which case it makes no sense to double up on the “kun” right? These are questions I’m trying to find out.

      From current knowledge, if I was asked to make a guess, I’d say something might be going on like februaro suggests, that is, the accusative could be filling in for the preposition (which otherwise should be there, therefore the verb is still intransitive). If you can’t get the idea of “to work with” out of your mind, therefore making the double “kun” look weird, try to think of it like this:

      “Kunlabori” is not the same as “labori kun” in the same way that “blufloro” is not quite the same as “blua floro”. “Labori kun” is work that happens to be with someone. But “kunlabori” is a special kind of work, where it is characterised by it being done in collaboration with someone. So “kunlabori kun” is best thought of as “to collaborate with” rather than “to work with with” 😀

      Or is it even possible that “kunlabori kun vi” sounds like “collaborate with you”, but “kunlabori vin” sounds like “work with you”?

    • I’ll comment here any interesting insights I get from the discussion on Lernu. I’ve already had a comment that suggests the reality might be even muddier than one would hope. They suggest that whether one repeats the preposition or uses the accusative depends on both the word and the preposition, and that well accepted combinations of word and preposition have a usual method of expression (a well accepted transitivity of their own). For example, she suggests that she would only ever use this form:

      “Mi kunlaboras kun vi” perhaps because for her and others, “kunlabori” has the meaning of “collaborate” really cemented in their minds, rather than just a combination of “work with”.

      And on the complete other side she would only say “Mi ĉeestas la feston” instead of repeating “ĉe”.

      Though she suggests that sometimes the differences are minor and the different styles show only difference emphasises.

      As for how to determine transitivity other than the approaches mentioned by februaro (keeping dictionary handy and reading lots of examples), there is no real easy way like seeing that “o” means noun.

      Though there are possibly some rules of thumb:

      If the verb was made from a quality like root (one that prefers being an adjective), then it is usually intransitive because it will mean “to be (quality) ” e.g.

      blua = blue
      blui = to be blue

      If the verb has a clear object of the action, and no real way the subject could be receiving the action, then it’s probably transitive.

      E.g. “to punch”, the object is clear, it is the thing you’re punching. The subject can’t be receiving the punching unless he/she is included as the object too!

      Whereas with “to boil” you could be boiling something else, or you yourself could be boiling! Therefore “to boil” could be either transitive or intransitive, and you’ll have to look it up!

      Ta for the post compliment! Glad you’re enjoying the posts!

      Amike,

      A

      • So, using the traditional method of asking if something is receiving the action then ‘cxeesti’ would be transitive (Attending what? The meeting) and an accusative would be in order. However, “Mi cxeestos” also seems sufficient to convey the same meaning without the need for the explicit object (meeting or some event is implied I suppose).

        Just musing out loud (I type loudly) that cxeestos could be either a quality or action verb (I am in attendance or I will attend something).

        I can live with the “there are no simple answers” response 🙂 I just don’t want to sound completely clueless when I’m trying to paroli (despite the excessive crocodiling in this comment). Of course, I may be overthinking (Mi estas tropensanto).

        Thanks for all the insight and advice.

        Gxis,
        Kelly

        • Possibly, though “esti” is a weird one. It seems more like a relation of nouns rather than a verb, so I wonder if “ĉeesti” inherits those properties. Like “Mi estas melo” = “I am a badger”, badger doesn’t get put in the accusative.

          Though be careful defining verbs as intransitive based on whether you need an explicit object. A person can be punching, and “punch” still be transitive even if the object doesn’t have to be mentioned. The object is implicit, you are still punching something, whether it is stated or not. An intransitive verb is one that cannot possibly receive a direct object.

          Ĉeesti is certainly one of those where it is not obvious what type of root it is. Though a good dictionary should say.

          Amike,

          A

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