Mopping and Finger-showing

I happened upon a word meaning “to point” today! It was “fingromontri” (pronounced “fin-gro-MON-tri”; IPA: fingro’montri). It’s made up of the components “fingro” and “montri” (“finger” and “to show/indicate” respectively). I love how it is literally just “to finger-show”, it neatly expresses “fingre montri” = “to show with a finger”, exactly what pointing is.

I also found a word that I just love pronouncing over and over, “ŝvabri” (pronounced “SHVA-bri”; IPA: ‘ʃvabri). It means “to mop/swab”. Again, I think the “ŝ” plus consonant combo at the beginning is what gets me going!

And… Have you been lurking around Lernu.net lately? In one of the English threads one of the users pointed out a funny word “intimo”… Does it mean intimacy, or fear of women? 😀

Mouse necks

Similar to a previous word “tiama” (see previous post), I came across “ĝistiama”, which instead of describing something that is “of that time”, it describes something that is “until that time”. It describes something that existed (or did something, or was in a particular state) earlier and up to a specified time.

  • En 1872 mi renkontis lin, li estis la ĝistiama reĝo de la meloj = In 1872 I met him, he was king of the badgers up until then (= the until then king of the badgers).

Also… I was totally confused today. I was reading one of Claude Piron’s Esperanto books and came across the word “muskolo”. I had absolutely no idea that it means “muscle”!

Guess what I did know though?!

I know that “muso” = “mouse” and “kolo” = “neck”!!

I simply stared in confusion for a few minutes, as out of nowhere, in a perfectly sensible sentence, I was reading “mouse-neck” or some suchlike!!! 😀

An interesting mood

I was meant to write this for friday… What a fail! I want to talk about the “U-mood” of verbs in Esperanto. Most English books seem to call it the “imperative” mood. But on page 67 of “Being Colloquial in Esperanto”, David Jordan points out that its functions include things that could be considered “imperative”, “volitive” or “subjunctive” when comparing to how these moods are used in some other languages. If this means nothing to you, no worries, I’m gonna explain.

A brief (and coarse) statement of what is meant by a “verb mood”:

Know verb tenses? Ways of modifying the verb (like “to hope”) so that it is in the past, present or future. Well “mood” is another way of altering verbs to show some other detail. Mood shows how the speaker considers the action to be aligned with reality, desire, or intent. The “indicative” mood is the simplest, and it shows that the action was, is or will occur: a fact. It’s the one you get used to first (in Esperanto verb endings in indicative are “-as”, “-is” and “-os” for example). The reason the mood we’re interested in is called the U-mood in Esperanto, is because it involves putting the ending “-u” on the verb (esperi = to hope, goes to “esperu”).

So, combining what I’ve read in section 12.1.3 in “Being Colloquial in Esperanto”, on this PMEG page, this one too,  and around the Lernu forums, here’s how I reckon one uses the “u-mood”!

A verb in the u-mood, generally corresponds to an action/state that is not a fact/real, but that is desired, ordered, or aimed for.

You can use it for direct commands (like the “imperative” mood):

  • Kuru! = run!
  • Pafu lin! = shoot him!

Here, you are implying the pronoun “vi” (“you”). In other words, there is a person you’re commanding; you’re telling them to run or shoot him. A common word for “please” in Esperanto is usually used in the U-mood (since you’re expressing desire):

  • Bonvolu helpi min! = Please help me!

You can include a pronoun to make indirect commands. These often have many different translations, often including words like “let” or “should”, or “ought” or “may”.  They show a desire for the action, or that that action should be. In a full sentence or scenario, context will normally reveal which nuance is appropriate, but extra little words could also clarify.  So (including examples from the sources):

  • Georgo faru ĝin! = Let George do it!
  • Li parolu = Let him speak = He should speak
  • Li parolu, mi petas = Let him speak, please (I ask)
  • Ni manĝu! = Let’s eat!
  • Oni ne provoku melon = One shouldn’t (oughtn’t) provoke a badger.
  • Ŝi belu, kaj mi ŝin forgesu = Let her be beautiful and let me forget her

I love “ŝi belu”, so NEAT. That’s grammar-gasm material right there.

The U-mood is also used in phrases introduced by “ke” (= “that”) after a verb which expresses desire, a strong wish, request or command. The phrase introduced by “ke” is called a subordinate clause; the verb in this clause should be in the U-mood. This usage corresponds to some uses in other languages of the “subjunctive” mood.

  • Mi petis ke vi ne provoku la melojn = I asked you to not provoke the badgers! *(literally: I asked that you not provoke the badgers)
  • Mi volis ke vi alportu al mi lin vivanta! = I wanted you to bring him to me alive!

Note that you don’t need the U-mood after an expression of hoping (like, say, in Spanish with the subjunctive):

  • Mi esperas ke vi venos = I hope that you will come

However, if you want to add the nuance that the phrase is desired as well as hoped for, then you might use it:

  • Mi esperas ke vi venu = I hope and want that you will come

Furthermore, the U-mood should be used after “por ke” = “in other that” = “in order to” = “so that”. Since the phrase that follows will always be what is aimed or desired.

  • Mi aĉetis glavon por ke mi venku la melojn = I bought a sword, so that I might defeat the badgers
I don’t think I’ve missed anything major… But do let me know if I have! 😀

* I’ve always jumped at the chance to unashamedly split my infinitives; I thoroughly enjoy doing so.

Changing, whether one wants to or not

I was looking up a few words in the Lernu.net dictionary when I came across a little gem: “vole nevole”, it means “whether one wants to or not”. Such a neat little construction! It comes from the action root “vol-“.

“Voli” means “to want/wish”. Its adjective form (“vola”) means “willful, desired”, and so the adverb “vole” means “willfully”. And just like we use “pli malpli” for “more or less”, “vole nevole” is used for what is essentially “willfully or not willfully”.

Also! I’ve noted down another word. I came across it on one of my usual strolls around the ole PMEG. You’ll find it near the bottom in the “Vortfarado” (word building) section! It’s “tiama”, it’s an adjective derived from the table-word “tiam”. “Tiam” means “then/in that time”. But “tiama” is able to describe a noun (0-word). It usually translates as something like “of that time” or “then”:

  • En 1872, mi renkontis la tiaman meloreĝon= In 1872, I met the badger-king of that time

Seems pretty neat!

Don’t use the past to talk about the future!

Just noticed a sneaky little note at the end of this PMEG page. Thought I’d bring it up!

Now keep in mind that the simple past, present, and future tenses in Esperanto (words ending in “is”,”as”,”os” respectively) actually do quite a bit of work (and now that I know much more about them, I’m considering writing a few posts talking about their interesting bits). For example, past tense “legis” from “legi” (to read) can mean any of the following depending on context:

  • read (past tense)
  • was reading
  • have read
  • have been reading
  • had read
  • had been reading

Most commonly it will either be “read” or “was reading”, and maybe helper words will stress the other meanings. E.g. “jam” literally meaning “already”:

  • Ĉu vi jam legis tiun libron? = Have you (already) read that book?

The note on that PMEG page explains what you do in Esperanto when talking about having done something in the future. In English we might say:

  • I will hunt the badger as soon as I have read this book

“I will hunt” is simple future tense. But look at the weirdness we’re doing with the “read” verb. “I have read” is the perfect tense! It describes an already completed action/state! This is a bit odd, since we wouldn’t use “as soon as” if the action was already complete! I should already be hunting the badger if the reading was done!

Fear not, Esperanto makes sense. You’ve got two options. The first and most simple is to use the simple future tense:

  • Mi ĉasos la melon tuj kiam mi legos ĉi tiun libron

Notice “legos” is just the simple future tense (will read). Since all it’s doing is describing a future event!

Your second option, is to be deadly precise using participles (see my series on the things):

  • Mi ĉasos la melon tuj kiam mi estos leginta ĉi tiun libron

“mi estos leginta” is literally “I will be having-read” (“estos” is future tense of “esti” = “to be”), corresponding to “will have read” (=at some point in the future the reading will be completed), in the more clunky English rendering:

  • I will hunt the badger as soon as I will have read this book

Remember me?

Ĉu vi memoras min?

Here we go starting to get into the swing of things again! Took some time off from work and I think I’m ready for it come Monday! Managed to do a lot of Esperanto reading during the time off; got a few ideas for blog posts.

We’re kicking off with a word and a phrase. The word is “ĵaluza” (pronounced “zha-LOO-za”, where “zh” is a French “j”; IPA: ʒa’luza). It means “jealous”. I simply love it because of its sound. The “ĵalu” bit sounds weird and interesting, and the “uza” bit almost sounds like jealousy (the concept) to me. I know, I’m strange.

The phrase is what I think is a pretty neat rendering of the phrase “as soon as”. I think I came across it whilst reading something by Claude Piron. It’s “tuj kiam”, literally meaning “immediately when”. Ekz:

  • Li forkuris tuj kiam li ŝin vidis = He ran away as soon as he saw her

It feels like it makes more sense than “as soon as”.

Let’s say we have this: “X as soon as Y”.

Where X and Y are two separate events. “Soon” feels like it is talking about a notion of earliness/lateness (if something happens soon, then it happens earlier than something later).

So to me, “X as soon as Y” says that X is as late/early as Y (since “as” shows comparison), which is kinda what we want and probably achieves the same result, but it feels messy/imprecise. We want to say that whenever Y happens, X happens immediately then, enter: “tuj kiam”!