A neat use of “kiel” today. “Kiel” is one of the correlatives, a ton of really useful words that are built via a system of meaningful syllables. Take a look at my previous post introducing them briefly, it points you to a full table of all of them that you can make.
In general “kiel” means “in what way”, or “how”.
- Kiel vi fartas? = How are you doing?
In it’s other use, “kiel” is often translated as “as”.
- La melo estas murdema kiel sciuro = The badger is bloodthirsty as a squirrel (The badger is bloodthirsty in what way a squirrel [is bloodthirsty])
It can also be used in combination with the correlative “tiel” (“in that way”) in order to get a “as…as…” construction:
- Mi estas tiel ekscitiĝa kiel ŝi = I am as excited as she (is). (I am in that way excited (as) in what way she (is excited))
- Vi estas tiel inteligenta kiel bela = You are as intelligent as (you are) beautful.
It can also be used to introduce a phrase (relative clause) with “tiel”, as in this example from PMEG:
- Mi zorgas pri ŝi tiel, kiel mi zorgas pri mi mem. = I care about her in the way in which (way) I care about myself.
Imagine here that “tiel” is a placeholder for the whole relative phrase that follows. It’s like:
- I care about her [in that way]
Then, in order to elaborate on which way you mean (fill in the square brackets), “kiel” introduces a phrase:
- [In what way?] (in the way) I care about myself.
Oddly, this was all sparked by me coming across an Esperanto song called “Glimanta kiel oro” = “Shining/Gleaming like/as gold”.
Look at the funky thing you can do with “kiel” and the accusative “n” (you’ll see these sentences all over Esperanto learning material):
- Li traktis min kiel princon = He treated me like (I was) a prince
- Li traktis min kiel princo = He treated me like a prince (would treat me)
I love this. It makes perfect sense. So we have “li” = “he”, always doing the treating (the subject of the verb). And we have “min” = “me” always receiving the treatment (the direct object of the verb). Then, in order to decide whether “kiel” is comparing a prince to the subject or the object, we just match it’s ending:
- Leave the ending without the “n” to match “li”, so “kiel” is comparing prince to “li”.
- Add the “n” on the end to match “min”, so “kiel” is comparing prince to “min”!