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. 🙂

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