A box for cigar holders

I was casually reading some Esperanto, when suddenly the word “klingon” popped up in the most serious of texts!

I then realised it was simply the word “klingo” (“blade”) with the accusative “n” on the end to mark it as the object of the sentence!

Anyway, it also reminded me of the suffix “ing”, which led me to the topic for this post: the distinction between the suffix “ing” and the suffix “uj”.

Some definitions lead them to be confusingly similar, but in actuality their differences are quite clear. And they’re pretty handy!

Let’s work with the example root “cigar-“. “Cigaro” simply means “(a) cigar”. What happens when we add our suffixes?

  • cigaringo = cigar holder
  • cigarujo = cigar box/container

“Ing” makes a word which is a holder/sheath for the object described by the root it’s attached to. This’ll often be some structure that the object is partially put in, for holding purposes. E.g. a scabbard for a sword (glavo : glavingo)

Whereas “uj” constructs a word which is a container (usually for storage purposes) for objects described by the root it’s attached to.

And because I enjoy silliness: a “cigaringujo” is a container for cigar holders!

“Uj” happens to have a couple other uses too, if you’re interested!

  • When used on a fruit, berry or flower, it often shows the thing upon which that object grows. E.g. a “pomujo” is an “apple tree” from “pomo” = “apple”. Apparently, due to the confusion with “a container for apples”, people are now starting to use “pomarbo” for such things!
  • If you’ve got a word like “Anglo” = “Englishman”, you can construct the country name from the people. “Anglujo” is the container for Englishmen “England”!

Check out the PMEG pages on uj and ing. Also, a great guide to using Esperanto’s affixes.



4 thoughts on “A box for cigar holders

  1. I have often wondered about “ujo” v/s “ejo” v/s “lando” … eg I find it more intuitively correct to say “Esperantejo” (place of Esperanto) or ideally “Esperantlando” (country of Esperantists) rather than “Esperantujo” (container of Esperanto??). Or is it that “ejo” is used for verbs (as in lernejo or pregxejo) and not for nouns? Any insight will help. Thank you Andy

    • Well, you can definitely use “ejo” on nouns, e.g: ĉevalejo = stable (place for horses).

      I agree that “ej” and “uj” seem to have quite the crossover. A “lando” is often just used as a straight up replacement for “uj” usually at the aesthetic preference of the nationals of said countries.

      There are some simple rules to distinguish between “ej” and “uj”, e.g.

      – Only”uj” can show X grows on Y. E.g. you can only talk about an apple tree with “uj” (pomujo).
      – When concerning an action word, “uj” only talks about a container, not a general place, e.g. “trinkujo” = e.g. trough (a container out of which animals drink), but a “trinkejo” is a bar/pub.

      But both can be used figuratively. And that’s where the lines get really blurry. But here’s my personal view as to why “Esperantujo” is more natural than “Esperant(o)lando” or “Esperantejo”:

      Firstly, “Esperant(o)lando” is a mouthful, so I doubt it’d catch on, and it more literally means “country”. But the more important distinction is “ej” vs “uj”. The definition of “ej” is more like “place destined/assigned for X”, whereas the Esperanto community (Esperantujo) and countries more generally, aren’t really thought of as being assigned or purposed for a people, instead people originate from there, or grow up there. This is much closer to the meaning of “uj” given that a pomo comes from a pomujo; it is the natural container for a thing. Something destined to contain X, or destined to grow X.

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