Yes and no – with your head

Two fantastic verbs today: kapjesi and kapnei (pronounced respectively “kap-YES-ee” and “kap-NEH-ee”).

So for us English folk and many others, “kapjesi” means “to nod” and “kapnei” means “to shake ones head”.


These words are both awesome for two related reasons:

1. What a perfect and to the point construction they have!

  • “kapjesi” is “kapo” (head) and “jesi” is “to say yes” or “to assent”.
  • “kapnei” is “kapo” (head) and “nei” is “to say no” or “to deny”.
  • So you are saying “yes” or “no”, using your head! 😀
  • Ŝi konsentas, do ŝi kapjesas = She agreed, so she nodded.

2. These words seem to reflect the true spirit of how Esperanto spans cultures. No matter what your culture does with their head to indicate “no” or “yes”, these words have you covered! For example… I’ve heard that in Bulgaria for instance they shake their head for “yes” and nod it for “no”. But you always know that “kapjesi” is to agree with a head gesture!


4 thoughts on “Yes and no – with your head

  1. Bona artikolo, dankon! Ĝi memorigis min pri grava principo en reteja konstruado: ‘Apartigu stilon de enhavo’. Ekzemple: estas pli bona difini iun tekston kiel “klaso=averto” ol “koloro=ruĝa” ĉar, iam poste, vi eble dezirus akcenti tian tekston alimaniere, kaj vi povos simple ŝanĝi via regulon pri kiel la klaso de “averto” devus aspekti.

    Great post, thanks! Reminds me of an important principle in web construction: ‘Separate style from content’. Eg, it is better to tag some text as “class=warning” rather than “color=red” because, at some later time, you might want to highlight such text in a different way, and you can just change your rule as to how the class of “warning” should appear.

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