Esperanto missed its chance


I’m not certain whether Esperanto can recover from such a horrendous and unforgivable oversight. I feel like it might be possible, but it’d take some work. Let me explain.

I’m talking about a dilemma that many Esperantistas will have encountered: the actual Esperanto word for dilemma “dilemo”.

Well now, the term “dilemma” and its many incarnations in other languages (dilema, dilemma, dilemmeДилемма, dilema), originate from the greek for “double proposition”. Surviving separately in both English and Esperanto are the terms “lemma” and “lemo” respectively for just “proposition”. This separation means that “trilemma” is also used in English, for when you’ve got three alternatives to consider instead of two!

I thought that was pretty neat. But this is only possible because English is numerically promiscuous, caring not whether the number 2 is represented using prefixes like “bi”, “two”, or “di”.

To make this relationship more clear, I reckon that Esperanto should have gone for “dulemo” since our fair “two” is “du”. This would be the perfect hint that tri-lemo, dek-lemo and sescent-sesdek-ses-lemo are perfectly reasonable 😀

Now, of course I’m just playing with you, Esperanto; I love you to bits. But you gotta admit, dulemo is way more fun even by itself. For one, it looks like it could also mean “the tendency to be a ‘d-person'”, whatever that might be…  😀 (d(o) – ul – emo).

Turn around – de temp’ al temp’ mi disrompiĝas!


It’s all about word versatility this evenin’. We turn a simple word into whole bag of tricks. So don’t turn back, nor avert your eyes. The word of interest is:

Turni : To Turn (pronounced TOOR-nee)

This word specifically means that the subject is turning something. As in “I turned the hands of the clock”, or even “I turned the clock into a watch”. But never “I turned around” or “I turned into a badger”. The difference with those last ones, is that they are implying that the turning is happening to the subject of the verb, the thing doing the action. But Esperanto has a different word for that.

Therefore, if I said the broken phrase “Mi turnis en melon” for “I turned into a badger”, an Esperantist would ask you “You turned what into a badger?” Your sentence is incomplete!

First, lets take the dictionary dive:

Turnilo: winch / crank / tool for turning

Using the suffix “-il” for specifying a tool for performing an action, we can arrive at “a tool for turning”, which is quite versatile in itself; we can tack any noun at the front to get “a tool for turning [noun]”:

  • ŝraŭbturnilo: screwdriver
  • diskturnilo: disk unit / drive / turn table

Deturni: to turn away / to avert

Deturnu viajn okulojn! = Avert your eyes! Here we use the word for “from”. So instead of just turning a thing, we’re turning it from something else. Whenever you get a nice strong action word like this, you can make fun use of “sen” = “without” to describe things that proceed without that action. Here the “a” ending makes an adjective, for describing nouns:

  • sendeturna: without turning away / unflinchingly.  “la sendeturna okulo” = “The unaverting / unflinching eye”.

Returni: to turn back

The “re” prefix means repetition, or going back. So putting the “re” infront of “turni” will usually mean turning something back the other way, or in the opposite direction.

Turniĝi: to turn (around) / rotate / gyrate / revolve (toor-NEE-jee)

Here’s that sneaky “iĝ” suffix again. It means literally “to become [turned]”. Our root here is “turn”. So this is like putting the turning action back on the subject. Remember how we couldn’t use “turni” to have the subject talk about itself turning, it must always be turning something else? Well we can with the suffix: I turned into a badger = Mi turniĝis en melon. While it might be hard at first to deal with Esperanto’s strict nature about who is the subject of a verb, it actually means the sense of words very easy to interpret and reason over for word building when you get the hang of it.

Elturniĝi: to manoeuvre / wangle / contrive

Woah. How did we get that? Looks like a flippin’ Elvish name! So we start with the basic “turniĝi” and add to it the ever useful “el” meaning “out of”. So it’s literally like turning yourself out of a difficult situation! And whenever you’ve got yourself a cool verb like that, you can always make a word to describe someone with that quality:

Elturniĝema: elusive, resourceful, slippery, wily

The “em” suffix (and the adjective “a” ending here) describes something that has the tendency, inclination, or disposition for a given action. So something/someone that is “elturniĝema” is one who tends to be able to wangle and manoeuvre!

A lot of the above can be mix ‘n’ matched, many things that work for “turni” (turning something) work for “turniĝi” (being turned)!

Kapturno: dizziness, giddiness, swimming (in head), vertigo

Using the noun ending “o”, a “turno” is just “a turn(ing)”. When we combine with “kapo” = “head”, we have a head-turning. Which is used to refer to when it feels like your head keeps turning you strangely when you’re a bit dizzy!

And now for some extra fun outside of the safety of a dictionary:

Diskturnisto: DJ

Using the “ist” suffix, which is like English “er” in “Shoemaker”, “Writer”, “Runner”, or “ist” in “Novelist”, “Florist”, “Tourist”, we can define someone who is professionally occupied with turning disks 😀

Neturnita: Unturned / Yet to turn

One might used this to describe someone bitten by a zombie but not yet dead… 😛

Nuboj en la kosmo

Nuboj en la kosmo

Bela kaj bone vortigita blogaĵo pri interesa temo !


Homoj, kiuj regule uzas teleskopon scias ke nenio estas pli ĝena ol nuboj. Malgraŭ tio, multaj el la plej belaj strukturoj en la kosmo estas nubegoj. Ne temas pri nuboj el akvo, kiel tiuj, kiujn oni vidas surtere, sed nuboj el jonoj, gasoj kaj polveroj. Ili troviĝas ekster la sunsistemo, sed ja videblas kiel svagaj makuloj en multaj teleskopoj. Pro tio, ili nomiĝas nebulozoj, laŭ la Latina vorto ”nebula”, kiu signifas nebulo aŭ nubo. Kosma turisto ankoraŭ povus rigardi ĉirkaŭ si tamen. Malgraŭ tio ke nebulozoj estas miloj da fojoj pli densaj ol ”malplenaj” partoj de la universo, ili daŭre estas malpli densaj ol la plej bonaj vakuoj, kiujn inĝenieroj povas krei surtere. Se oni plenigus botelon de 1L en nebulozo, oni tipe kaptus kelkajn milionojn da atomoj. Tio sonas kiel granda kvanto, sed se oni farus la saman sur la surfaco de la Tero, oni fakte kaptus ĉirkaŭ 1022 

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Apply squirrels where needed – Apliku laŭbezone sciurojn


I recently realised that one of the little enjoyments of my day is when I discover words that demonstrate neat uses of word building. And so this marks the start of a new sub-type of blog post category!

In “productive words”, I’ll introduce a root word which I think has one or more interesting, convenient, or useful constructions that are also found in an Esperanto dictionary (safety reasons). Then, we’ll completely throw caution to the wind and posit some more constructions that aren’t in the dictionary for the sheer heck of it.

Feel free to ask about any words used, or methods of construction; I won’t go into all of them here to start.

Bezoni : To Need

Dictionary examples:

  1. laŭbezone: where needed / as need be / as needed
  2. bezonaĵo: requisite / a thing that is necessary
  3. senbezona: needless

“Laŭ” (“according to” / “following” / “along”) is a frequent culprit for producing interesting constructed words. It works so nicely with so many things. Number 1 is definitely my favourite! So succinct, and avoids those different English variations in favour of a single logical version. But I do also like how simply we get to “requisite” using the “aĵ” suffix!

My thoughts:

  1. Bezonema: needy
  2. Bezonaĉo: base/nasty urge/need also has “necesbezono” as “manko de ĉio, kion postulas la fizika vivo”. What would you say that translates to? Basic needs?