To Word-thingy

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As you know, the PMEG is a pretty awesome resource. And a great model for clear and concise language. Whilst having a read the other day, it used a word that particularly tickled me. Check out this sentence:

  • En la komencaj tempoj la principoj por fari A-vortojn el ne-ecaj radikoj ne estis klare vortumitaj = In the early days [of Esperanto], the principles for making A-words from non-quality roots were not clearly vortumitaj.

Now, I may be reading into this a bit much, but this struck me as a particularly inticing use of the suffix “-um”.

The suffix “-um” has an indefinite meaning. It really has to be used sparingly for when nothing else will do, otherwise we’d be awash with ambiguity. It’s often used on a root when there’s a common thing done with the root, that the normal form of the root does not really cover, but that everyone will guess when you’re talking about it.

I once read someone describe its use on an action root as “to do the X thing” where X is the root. So “brakumi” is “to do the arm thing”, and context or common usage would tell us this is “to hug”. In fact, I think I saw this on the “Amikumu” website, which describes the meaning of “amikumu” as “do the friend thing” (pass time with friends).

Vortaro.net equates “vortumi” with “vortigi” (to express with words / to phrase). By itself this is quite a neat word. But why might PMEG have chosen “vortumi” instead of “vortigi”?

The PMEG sentence is not trying to say that no one ever tried to talk about the word building principles, but that no one set them out like the PMEG is doing in a more clear, official-like manner for others to follow. So I think “vortumi” is actually quite like the English idiom “to put into words”, which also implies “put into speech or writing”!

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3 thoughts on “To Word-thingy

  1. Ha, mi aŭdis la vorton “vortumi” tiel ofte, ke mi apenaŭ ekkonsciis, ke temis pri la radiko “vort-” kaj la sufikso “-um”! 🙂

    (Parenteze, vi havas tajperarojn en la citaĵo de PMEG: unue vi skribis “vortumitaj”, sed en la angla traduko vi skribis “vortumigitaj”).

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