I’ll be back soon

Last week, my dad unexpectedly died. I find myself unable to express in either English or Esperanto, just how much he means to me, and how much I miss him already. He inspired me in many ways, and I owe much of who I am, to him.

I always wanted to make him proud, and one day be inspired by me in return. I’ll honour him by never giving up that goal, always striving to be better. That way, it will be his memory that has a hand in all I achieve, and so he’ll always be alive in me.

So hopefully I’ll be back posting soon.

As for the rest of the world, he left you things like this, epic songs featuring his awesome bass-guitaring, kindly uploaded by someone on youtube.

I’ll remember him with every note I play.

Sneaky nuance

I’ve talked before about using the verb form of a normally a-word instead of using “estas <adjective>”, for example:

  • Vi estas kuraĝa = You are courageous
  • Vi kuraĝas = You are courageous

For a long while, I’ve kept my eye open for any information about whether these phrases have different nuances, or whether they are strict equivalents. And this week I found something.

Firstly, it makes sense that if everyone uses these alternatives interchangeably then nuances in difference will slowly be lost. And this has happened with many words, e.g.

  • Vi estas prava = you’re right
  • Vi pravas = you’re right

No one would notice a nuance if you chose one of these in particular over the other, since they’ve become so interchangeable.

However, to use an example of Claude Piron’s:

  • La lago estas blua = the lake is blue
  • La lago bluas = the lake radiates blueness/glows blue

The idea here is that given that ‘estas blua’ is by far the more common construction, the other form feels intentionally different.

The possible nuance that arises when a word which is normally an a-word is made into a verb is a more action-like, verby meaning. So in the example above, the a-word only describes a static state of being blue, but the verb form (bluas) instead describes a blue-ness that is actually happening.

I think this nuance allows for some really interesting writing! Though I wonder how well it would come across in speech.

  • This page of the PMEG gives advice on making verbs, see the section “Verboj el ne-agaj radikoj” for information specifically about this idea of making verbs from a-words
  • This page of the PMEG gives advice on what I’ve been talking about, the loss of “esti”, under the section “Verbigo de perverba priskribo”

Foaming teddy bears

I can’t remember why, but I had an urge to find out what the Esperanto expression for “teddy bears” is the other day, but to my dismay, I was having difficulty locating it in dictionaries! So I resorted to google and soon came across an amusing little cartoon. And for some reason the phrase really clicked with me: pluŝaj ursoj = teddy bears (pronounced “PLU-shy OOR-soy”; IPA: ‘pluʃaj ‘ursoj). Especially “pluŝaj”, it sounds really pleasant in a cute way, which is exactly the feeling I get from “teddy”.

Additionally, something else made sense to me. Do you know about the star constellation whose proper name is “ursa major”? Perhaps you know it by the name “big dipper” or “great/big bear”? Oddly, I never really paid attention to what “ursa major” actually meant, but of course it’s just latin for something like “bigger bear”. So it’s no real surprise we’ve got “urso” for bear in Esperanto!

The next word for today means “to foam/to froth”, and it is “ŝaŭmi” (pronounced “SHAU-mee”; IPA: ‘ʃawmi). I liked this word when I came across it because it’s awesome along couple dimensions:

  1. The opposing marks above the “s” and the “u” (going in opposite directions) give it a very quirky and interesting look.
  2. The actual sound of the word itself is not only fun (I love pronouncing the “ŝaŭ” bit), but also to me it really feels like foaming, do you get the same feeling?!

Not always obeying the rules

Remember the little word “si”? I have a post about it here, where it has strict rules about how it is used. Namely, it always refers to the subject of the verb. But there are some occasions where it breaks those rules, and those are in certain fixed expressions.

“per si (mem)” = by itself/themself (alone), by means of themself/itself (alone):

  • Oni komprenas liajn gestojn per si mem = His gestures by themselves alone are understood

Notice how “oni” is the subject here, but that “si” refers to the gestures.

“inter si” = between/among themselves, mutually with each other

  • “Lingvo Internacia” kaj “lingvo tutmonda” estas du tute malsamaj objektoj, kiujn miksi inter si oni neniel devas = “Lingvo Internacia” and “lingvo tutmonda” are two totally different things, which must in no way be mixed up with eachother

Notice how the direct object is “kiujn” referring to the two different terms, and so “si” is referring to the direct object! I’m just using these examples to show those times that this rule is broken, but that doesn’t mean that the fixed expressions always work this way:

  • Ili parolis inter si = They spoke/talked among themselves

“Si” here is properly referring to the subject. Context will usually make this clear!

“siatempe” = “in/at that time, in the concerned time, etc.”

It can be used regardless of what the subject is, because it just always refers to an implied time, independent of the subject:

  • Mi volis siatempe proponi regulon = I wanted at the time to propose a rule

If it had to refer to the subject strictly (like “je sia tempo” would have to), then it would be “at my time”. But it doesn’t!

Check out the PMEG page from which I took most of my examples. You’ll also find a couple more expressions there too! Good ole PMEG. 🙂