Behold!

It’s a funky word day. In the spotlight we have “jen” and its variants. It’s pronounced “yen”. Easy!

It’s kinda like “see this/behold/voila”. In this state, it’s an interjection (words like “hello”,”bye”,”uh oh!”.

You might use it like this:

  • Jen ĉi tiuj libroj… = See these books/check out these books

It can often replace “here” (ĉi tie), and other non-interjection words that talk about a particular thing or place. It adds more emphasis on drawing attention:

  • Jen estas pomo = Behold it’s an apple (instead of “ĉi tie estas pomo”)

So what happens when we bother it with endings?

Adverb ending “e”:

  • Jene = thus/in the way I’m about to show
  • Kompletigu la dokumenton jene…. = Complete the document thus (in the following way)….

Adjective ending “a”:

  • Jena = that which follows (what I’m about to show)
  • Antentu la jenajn punktojn… = Pay attention to the following (which I’m about to show) points

Noun ending “o”:

  • Jeno = the thing which follows
  • Por defendi kontraŭ la meloj, oni bezonas la jenon… = In order to defend against the badgers, you need the following (things)…

According to the PMEG, when using several “jen”s in a sentence, they introduce alternatives. Here’s an example from that page:

  • la maro estis ja jen ruĝa, jen verda, jen blua

I find this tricky to directly translate, it’s kinda like when we do this in English:

  • The sea was here red, there green, and there blue!

In this kind of sentence “here” and “there” would mostly be interpreted as different locations or parts of the sea. But “jen” can mean equally this or that the colour changed (so the person beheld different colours of sea). Almost like, if you imagined you were there at the time:

  • Behold red! Now behold green! Now blue!

I love the the simplicity of the word. And how it’s meaning neatly fits into the equally useful words “jena,jene, and jeno”.

The main PMEG page for it is here.

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2 thoughts on “Behold!

  1. Jen is a good word. I have sung “Jen”, the song from “La Porkoj” to my kids as a lullaby. The boys like it, but my daughter prefers something with a lot more beat.
    If you don’t know it, look it up on Youtube.
    I think it is used well in the song, a line below as an example, with my translation.
    Jen la suno
    Jen la Luno
    Jen, Du malsamoj astroj

    THERE’S the Sun
    THERE’S the Moon
    THEY’RE two different bodies in space.

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