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… 😛


6 thoughts on “Turn around – de temp’ al temp’ mi disrompiĝas!

  1. Ho, ŭaŭ, mi neniam vidis la sencon de “turni” por signifi: “Turni sin en “! Se mi estus leginta tion aliloke, mi estus pensinta, ke temis pri nura paŭso el la angla, sed mi vidas, ke tiu senco ja ekzistas en PIV: “3. Meti en novan formon, kondiĉon, staton”.

    Mi ankaŭ ne vidis la vorton “kapturno” antaŭe, sed ja “kapturniĝo”, kaj mi vidas, ke ambaŭ estas en ordo. (Mi tamen preferas la vorton “kapturniĝo”, ĉar onia kapo “turniĝas” memstare: neniu “turnas ĝin”, ĉu?) 🙂

    Dankon pro la artikolo! 🙂

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