“Screwing” is fun in Esperanto


I just had quite the enjoyable eight or so minutes; I discovered the word for “screw” in Esperanto, and it is gorgeous and supremely fun to pronounce over and over:


The first bit might take some effort if you’re not used to the combo, because we’ve got ŝ sounding like “sh” in “show”, immediately followed by a rolled r! Then that satisfying ending with (like “ow” in “how”) followed by bi  (like the word “bee”).

As Esperanto regulars will see, the “i” ending makes this the verb form, so it means “to screw”, from the base noun form “ŝraŭbo” which is just “a screw”.

And it only gets better with some of the combos you can build off of this guy. Let me show you a couple of my faves.

ŝraŭbaĵilo = screw threading tool

Now that’s fun to say, and I think, quite a neat construction. Here we’ve got two suffixes:

  • : the ĵ is like the “s” in “pleasure”. This suffix when applied to a root which is at base a noun, produces that concrete thing/object which is most related to the original thing. So applying it to “wood” makes “something made from wood” applying it to spider makes “spider web”. Typically context will make this most clear. Here, “ŝraŭbaĵo” would be “screw threading”. See my other posts referring to . The PMEG has a super useful page for better understanding this powerful suffix here.
  • il: applying this suffix (pronounced like “eel”) to a root we get a “tool for [root] “.  Here, we get a “tool for producing screw threading”! Of course, followed by the “o” noun ending. Other posts mentioning il here.

ŝraŭbingo = nut

This also quite neatly produces a related word, by quite simple means. We’ve got the suffix: ing which means “holder for [root]”!

But crucially, the important bit is that these words are delightful to wrap the tongue around!

If you’d like to stick to the beauty of Esperanto’s one sound per letter, then remember to pronounce the ending as “bin” followed by “go” (as “go” in “got”), instead of how the “ng” merges in English “bingo”. But you won’t be hassled if you don’t care about such things!

Now, my wife caught me talking about using nuts on screws (not bolts), and gave me a informative lecture! So for anyone who knows the differences: if we go by the dictionary at vortaro.net , “ŝraŭbo” in Esperanto is a very general term for a cylindrical threaded object that one turns to fix!

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… 😛

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

Vortaro.net also has “necesbezono” as “manko de ĉio, kion postulas la fizika vivo”. What would you say that translates to? Basic needs?

Frothing at the Mouth


In the past weeks, a number of perfectly pleasant interactions with completely competent individuals out in the world made me feel very… animated, shall we say. And after regaling friends with my tales of these… Interactions… A lovely little Esperanto word formed in my brain:

  • ŝaŭmbuŝa

Besides being gorgeous and bouncy with them lil’ accents and an almost balanced feeling (ŝaŭ … uŝa), it’s just plain fun to say aloud:

  • sh + ow (as in “cow”) + m + BOO + sha
  • showm-BOO-sha

And I think it’s a neat way of expressing the sentiment of this post’s title idiom:

  • ŝaŭmo = froth/foam
  • buŝo = mouth
  • ŝaŭmbuŝo = a frothing/foaming mouth
  • li estis ŝaŭmbuŝa = He was frothing at the mouth (literally: he was froth-mouthed, via the adjectival -a ending)
  • ili trasuferis lian ŝaŭmbuŝan rakonton = They suffered through his frothing-mouthed story.

We could even go full adverb here (with the magic adverb-making -e ending) should we need to describe a verb instead of a noun/pronoun:

  • ŝaŭmbuŝe = froth-mouthedly / with a frothing mouth / while foaming at the mouth / etc.
  • ŝi laŭte kriis ŝaŭmbuŝe = She shouted loudly, foaming at the mouth

This word is an example usage of a word-building formula I discussed on the blog in the distant past, but instead here we’re using an “object root” (ŝaŭmo) as the property “P”. Why not take a trip into my past and see: https://adventuresinesperanto.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/word-building-formula/

To Word-thingy


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”!

Strangers from distant lands… Friends of old

“La duonon el vi mi ne konas duone tiom, kiom mi volus; kaj mi ŝatas malpli ol la duonon el vi duone tiom, kiom vi meritas.”

The above may give away that I’ve been reading the Esperantisised version of The Fellowship of the Ring. If not, then perhaps this’ll jog your memory!

It’s brought to my attention neat words such as:

  • tremvoĉe = with a trembling voice
  • vetermakulita = weather-worn
  • taŭzi = to tousle, dishevel, jostle
  • pomŝarĝita = apple-laden
  • mukokula = mucus-eyed

Also, I’m beginning to notice the little tricks that a good translator uses to try to capture the original flavour of a text. Let me give you an example:

There is a hobbit surname “Proudfoot”. In his speech, Bilbo refers to them collectively as “Proudfoots”, and one loud hobbit corrects him to “Proudfeet”. The humour behind this comment relies on the irregular plural of the English word “foot” (feet). So how can this humour be transferred to Esperanto when in our beautiful language all words have their plural with the simple addition of a “j” (including the word for “foot”!)?

Well, this is the solution the translator opts for:

… [bilbo speech] … Bonkorpoj, Brokhusoj kaj Fierfutoj.
“Fierpiedoj!” kriis maljuneta hobito

Bilbo uses the wrong notion of “foot” (“futo” is an Esperanto word, but it isn’t the anatomical “foot”), and is subsequently corrected.

I think that’s kinda neat! I’m looking forward to comparing the rest of the translation to the original and gaining some insights!

The traditional way to become

A little lexical musing for you today!

We have a perfectly good word for “to become”, which is “iĝi”. We can use it by itself, or use it as a suffix (as it was originally intended):

  • ŝi iĝis pala = she became pale
  • ŝi paliĝis = she became pale

But, according to the PMEG, a more traditional word for “to become” is “fariĝi”. Though apparently the use of “iĝi” is on the rise. I’m glad to hear this, because of how neat the smaller word is, and because I couldn’t figure out how “fariĝi” could actually mean “become”, when it has the word for “become” in it already!!!

Firstly, I’m gonna suggest a reason why “fariĝi” is more traditional, and why “iĝi” seems to be taking over. For this, just assume that it makes perfect sense for “fariĝi” to mean “to become”, then once I’m done, I’ll suggest a reason why I now think it kinda makes sense that it does.

In my previous post, I linked you to an article by Claude Piron on the evolution of Esperanto. In that article he reveals that it wasn’t always the done thing to use affixes as words in their own right; they were always attached to proper roots. But nowadays, affixes are proper words too! We can say “endi” = “to be necessary” (from the suffix “-end”), or “emi” = “to have a tendency to” (from the suffix “-em”)!

Given that affixes couldn’t be used alone, and “iĝi” is one of the most important affixes, it couldn’t have been used alone!

So an alternative was needed, a word to attach it to, which’d maintain the “become” meaning. So that’s my guess as to why “fariĝi” is more traditional! But now affixes can be used alone, so this is far more convenient!

So why the specific word “fariĝi”?

  • fermi = to close
  • fermiĝi = to become closed, to be(come) closing
  • fari = to do, to make
  • fariĝi = “to become doing”? “to become making”? “to become made”?

For some reason, my brain couldn’t think of anything else for a while. But here’s what I think now:

See this sentence:

  • la doloro faros lin viro = pain will make him a man

Look how “doloro” is the subject; it is doing the making.
See how “lin” is the direct object; he’s the one being made into something.
“Viro” is a complement, it shows the result of the action.

When you put “iĝ” on the end of a verb, the old direct object becomes the new subject, and we no longer care about the original subject (the reverse to suffix “ig”, which adds an object); it disappears. I may blog about this in more detail, but here’s what I mean:

  • Ŝi farbis la domon blua = she painted the house blue
  • La domo farbiĝis blua = the house was painted (lit. became painted) blue

“Blua” is our complement here; it’s the result of the action in both cases.

But notice how the original subject (ŝi) is overwritten with the object (domo) using our suffix. In the second sentence, “domo” is the new subject of the new verb (in evil speak: “iĝ” makes a transitive verb which takes a single object, into an intransitive verb). Read this section of Being Colloquial in Esperanto if you’re crazy interested and can’t wait for me to post more about it.

Back to fari:

  • la doloro faros lin viro = pain will make him a man
Which with “iĝ” becomes:
  • li fariĝos viro = he will be made (lit. become made) a man

The old object (lin) overwrote the old subject (doloro), which we now don’t care about, and we’re left with the complement.

Notice how “X is made Y” means “X becomes Y”!!!

  • He is made a man = he becomes a man

So this is why I think I now see why “fariĝi” pretty much equals “to become”. Still, I much prefer “iĝi”! 🙂

I had some real trouble explaining this, so if you need clarification, don’t hesitate to ask!

Ya mouth’s full o’ words

Found some really inventive words today! If you’ve been paying close attention to the Lernu forums since at least… December, maybe? Then you might have seen my source: an article by Claude Piron, because I think someone may have linked to it a while back.

Besides being an incredibly interesting article on the evolution of Esperanto, there are a couple of anecdotes about some pretty cool uses of the word building system.

  • jeskaze = if you (one) agrees, in the case of agreement
  • buŝpleni (pri)= to “constantly pay lip-service (about)”, constantly talk about, mouth full of speech (about)


“jes” = “yes”, and “kaze” is the adverbial form of “kazo” = “case”. So “kaze” is like “in the case”. “Kazo” apparently originally talked only about “case” in the linguistic sense (e.g. accusative case), but has since drifted to be like “affair/event”, more like “okazo”. A less risky version may well be “jesokaze”! Regardless, this word is like “in the case of yes/affirmation/agreement”. Pretty neat!


  • buŝo = mouth
  • plena = full/complete
  • pleni = to be full/complete (see this previous post for why, and this one for an interesting point about this transformation)

So “pleni” is “to be full”, and if we add a word to the front, is says that we’re full in a particular kind of way. By adding “buŝ” to the front, we’re saying that the manner in which we’re full, is characterised by “mouth” in some way.

  • Ili buŝplenas pri homrajtoj = They constantly pay lip-service to human rights / Their mouth is full of speech about human rights

Literally “they mouth-full about human rights”.

I think that’s pretty cool don’t you?

If you haven’t already, do take a read of that article; it really shows how our language has grown in some interesting ways!

“Buŝpleni” made me think up “plenbuŝe”:

  • Dum la tuta manĝo, lia koramikino parolis plenbuŝe!

Know what I mean by that? 😀

Unify and rise up!

I was listening to really quite an interesting talk today, but the room was SO incredibly warm, and I’d had to much for lunch. So I began to nod off… BUT! In an effort to stay awake and thinking, I began to listen really hard, and try to translate in my head what they were saying into Esperanto!

I noted down all the words that I could not translate, and subsequently tried to build words for them. And one of my favourites was for “unify”. I had no idea what the word for “unify” was! So I came up with the idea of making many things into one.

Soooo… “unu” is the word for “one”, and the suffix “ig” means “to cause/make <root>”. So “unuigi” = “to make one/to unify/to unite (something)”!

Esperanto word-building wins! I thought it was pretty neat. I later looked it up, to confirm, and found this definition in Reta-Vortaro:

  • Kunigi plurajn objektojn en unu tuton = To make together several objects into one whole

Also, wanna know something weird?

Well, according to my wordpress stats, someone found my blog today, by googling “esperanto porn”!

Whichth hour is it?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Hello Duolingo-folk, 8+ years after I wrote this!  Let me know if you need further clarification in the comments below.

In Esperanto this is how you’d say it’s 3 o’clock:

  • Estas la tria (horo)

Which is literally:

  • It’s the third (hour)

Which I think is nice and simple.

The little interesting thing today, is in asking the question “what time is it?”

  • Kioma horo estas? = What time is it?

Specifically “kioma” is the cool bit. It comes from “kiom” which is a correlative word (see previous post), meaning “how much/many”. I just like the simplicity of why the “a” is there:

I think the PMEG’s explanation is pretty neat:

You use “kiom” to ask for:

  • Unu, du, tri… = One, two, three…

And you use “kioma” to ask for:

  • Unua, dua, tria... = First, second, third…
So “kioma horo estas” is like “which-th (or even “how many-th”) hour is it?”, to which you reply with “the fourth”! 😀

I just found why “which-th” was so natural to my brain. I had indeed read it before. Check out this page of “Being Colloquial in Esperanto”. It has a neat little sentence that is ambiguous in English:

  • Which of his sons are you?

Is the answer “the third” or “charles”?

But in Esperanto “kioma” asks for “whichth” (the third): which one are you in order?

And “kiu” asks for “which” (charles): which son are you?

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!

Outsmart the Badgers

Another couple words I like today! One sneaked in at the last minute; I discovered it a second ago whilst looking for something else!

I just love to pronounce this first one: “superruzi”. It’s pronounced “soo-pehr-ROO-zee” (IPA: super’ruzi). Remember to trill those “r”s and pronounce them as two distinct “r”s! Pronounce every letter in Esperanto words! If you find this a smidgin troubleful, try pronouncing separately the components “super” then “ruzi” and speed up as you get used to it!

It means “to outsmart/outwit”. “Ruzi”‘s definition on Lernu.net gives “to deal subtly, dodge, shuffle, to be cunning, tricky”. And “super” is like “over, above”. In verb form “superi” is like “to exceed/surpass”. And RetaVortaro explains “superruzi” as “superi per ruzo”: “to surpass by means of subterfuge/trickery/cunning”. Pretty cool construction too really!

Ni superruzos la melojn!

Next, I just like the construction of this word: “Aliiĝi”. Okay… I kinda like the overabundance of “i”s too :D. It’s pronounced “al-ee-EE-jee” (IPA: ali’idʒi).

It means “to change/alter”.

It’s talking about the subject altering. e.g.

  • hieraŭ, mi aliiĝis = yesterday, I changed (as in, it was me that changed)

You can’t use it to say “I altered the colours” (that would be “aliigi”!). This is clear in its literal meaning:

  • It’s made from “alia” = “another/other”; “alio” is like “something else”.
  • The ending “iĝ” is like “to become <root>”.
  • So “aliiĝi” means “to become something else”.

So using it to say “I altered the colours” will actually come out as “I became something else… the colours” HUH? Because no matter what object (e.g. colours) you try to tack onto it, “aliiĝi” is always referring to the subject as being the thing that changes.

The suffix “ig” means “to cause <root>”, so “aliigi” is like “to cause to be something else”. See why you’d use this word instead to alter the colours?


Mopping and Finger-showing

I happened upon a word meaning “to point” today! It was “fingromontri” (pronounced “fin-gro-MON-tri”; IPA: fingro’montri). It’s made up of the components “fingro” and “montri” (“finger” and “to show/indicate” respectively). I love how it is literally just “to finger-show”, it neatly expresses “fingre montri” = “to show with a finger”, exactly what pointing is.

I also found a word that I just love pronouncing over and over, “ŝvabri” (pronounced “SHVA-bri”; IPA: ‘ʃvabri). It means “to mop/swab”. Again, I think the “ŝ” plus consonant combo at the beginning is what gets me going!

And… Have you been lurking around Lernu.net lately? In one of the English threads one of the users pointed out a funny word “intimo”… Does it mean intimacy, or fear of women? 😀

Mouse necks

Similar to a previous word “tiama” (see previous post), I came across “ĝistiama”, which instead of describing something that is “of that time”, it describes something that is “until that time”. It describes something that existed (or did something, or was in a particular state) earlier and up to a specified time.

  • En 1872 mi renkontis lin, li estis la ĝistiama reĝo de la meloj = In 1872 I met him, he was king of the badgers up until then (= the until then king of the badgers).

Also… I was totally confused today. I was reading one of Claude Piron’s Esperanto books and came across the word “muskolo”. I had absolutely no idea that it means “muscle”!

Guess what I did know though?!

I know that “muso” = “mouse” and “kolo” = “neck”!!

I simply stared in confusion for a few minutes, as out of nowhere, in a perfectly sensible sentence, I was reading “mouse-neck” or some suchlike!!! 😀

Changing, whether one wants to or not

I was looking up a few words in the Lernu.net dictionary when I came across a little gem: “vole nevole”, it means “whether one wants to or not”. Such a neat little construction! It comes from the action root “vol-“.

“Voli” means “to want/wish”. Its adjective form (“vola”) means “willful, desired”, and so the adverb “vole” means “willfully”. And just like we use “pli malpli” for “more or less”, “vole nevole” is used for what is essentially “willfully or not willfully”.

Also! I’ve noted down another word. I came across it on one of my usual strolls around the ole PMEG. You’ll find it near the bottom in the “Vortfarado” (word building) section! It’s “tiama”, it’s an adjective derived from the table-word “tiam”. “Tiam” means “then/in that time”. But “tiama” is able to describe a noun (0-word). It usually translates as something like “of that time” or “then”:

  • En 1872, mi renkontis la tiaman meloreĝon= In 1872, I met the badger-king of that time

Seems pretty neat!

Remember me?

Ĉu vi memoras min?

Here we go starting to get into the swing of things again! Took some time off from work and I think I’m ready for it come Monday! Managed to do a lot of Esperanto reading during the time off; got a few ideas for blog posts.

We’re kicking off with a word and a phrase. The word is “ĵaluza” (pronounced “zha-LOO-za”, where “zh” is a French “j”; IPA: ʒa’luza). It means “jealous”. I simply love it because of its sound. The “ĵalu” bit sounds weird and interesting, and the “uza” bit almost sounds like jealousy (the concept) to me. I know, I’m strange.

The phrase is what I think is a pretty neat rendering of the phrase “as soon as”. I think I came across it whilst reading something by Claude Piron. It’s “tuj kiam”, literally meaning “immediately when”. Ekz:

  • Li forkuris tuj kiam li ŝin vidis = He ran away as soon as he saw her

It feels like it makes more sense than “as soon as”.

Let’s say we have this: “X as soon as Y”.

Where X and Y are two separate events. “Soon” feels like it is talking about a notion of earliness/lateness (if something happens soon, then it happens earlier than something later).

So to me, “X as soon as Y” says that X is as late/early as Y (since “as” shows comparison), which is kinda what we want and probably achieves the same result, but it feels messy/imprecise. We want to say that whenever Y happens, X happens immediately then, enter: “tuj kiam”!

Foaming teddy bears

I can’t remember why, but I had an urge to find out what the Esperanto expression for “teddy bears” is the other day, but to my dismay, I was having difficulty locating it in dictionaries! So I resorted to google and soon came across an amusing little cartoon. And for some reason the phrase really clicked with me: pluŝaj ursoj = teddy bears (pronounced “PLU-shy OOR-soy”; IPA: ‘pluʃaj ‘ursoj). Especially “pluŝaj”, it sounds really pleasant in a cute way, which is exactly the feeling I get from “teddy”.

Additionally, something else made sense to me. Do you know about the star constellation whose proper name is “ursa major”? Perhaps you know it by the name “big dipper” or “great/big bear”? Oddly, I never really paid attention to what “ursa major” actually meant, but of course it’s just latin for something like “bigger bear”. So it’s no real surprise we’ve got “urso” for bear in Esperanto!

The next word for today means “to foam/to froth”, and it is “ŝaŭmi” (pronounced “SHAU-mee”; IPA: ‘ʃawmi). I liked this word when I came across it because it’s awesome along couple dimensions:

  1. The opposing marks above the “s” and the “u” (going in opposite directions) give it a very quirky and interesting look.
  2. The actual sound of the word itself is not only fun (I love pronouncing the “ŝaŭ” bit), but also to me it really feels like foaming, do you get the same feeling?!

Not always obeying the rules

Remember the little word “si”? I have a post about it here, where it has strict rules about how it is used. Namely, it always refers to the subject of the verb. But there are some occasions where it breaks those rules, and those are in certain fixed expressions.

“per si (mem)” = by itself/themself (alone), by means of themself/itself (alone):

  • Oni komprenas liajn gestojn per si mem = His gestures by themselves alone are understood

Notice how “oni” is the subject here, but that “si” refers to the gestures.

“inter si” = between/among themselves, mutually with each other

  • “Lingvo Internacia” kaj “lingvo tutmonda” estas du tute malsamaj objektoj, kiujn miksi inter si oni neniel devas = “Lingvo Internacia” and “lingvo tutmonda” are two totally different things, which must in no way be mixed up with eachother

Notice how the direct object is “kiujn” referring to the two different terms, and so “si” is referring to the direct object! I’m just using these examples to show those times that this rule is broken, but that doesn’t mean that the fixed expressions always work this way:

  • Ili parolis inter si = They spoke/talked among themselves

“Si” here is properly referring to the subject. Context will usually make this clear!

“siatempe” = “in/at that time, in the concerned time, etc.”

It can be used regardless of what the subject is, because it just always refers to an implied time, independent of the subject:

  • Mi volis siatempe proponi regulon = I wanted at the time to propose a rule

If it had to refer to the subject strictly (like “je sia tempo” would have to), then it would be “at my time”. But it doesn’t!

Check out the PMEG page from which I took most of my examples. You’ll also find a couple more expressions there too! Good ole PMEG. 🙂

Loyal as one pleases

A pretty word and an awesomely constructed word today!

The pretty word is “lojali”:

  • Meaning: “to be loyal”, from “lojala” meaning “loyal, faithful”.
  • Pronunciation: loy-AL-ee
  • IPA: loj’ali

Don’t you think it looks quite interesting having the tall stalks of the “l”s equally spaced either side of the low tail of the “j”? That plus its very short, snappy syllables finishing on a subtle “i”, makes for a pretty word indeed!

The awesomely constructed word is “laŭplaĉe”:

  • Meaning: “as one pleases” from “laŭ” meaning “according to, along, by”, and “plaĉe” meaning “pleasingly, in a pleasing way”. So “laŭplaĉe” is like “according to a pleasing manner, how one pleases”.
  • Example: vi povas elekti laŭplaĉe = you can choose as you please
  • Pronunciation: lau-PLA-che
  • IPA: law’platʃe

Such simple roots smooshed together to create a versatile word. In English, to express the same idea we have to change the words a bit in different circumstances, notice how “as one pleases” must became “as you please” in the example sentence. But “laŭplaĉe” will always mean that the subject of an action is doing said action according to how they please. Mojosa.

A very touching nostril

Many apologies for such a long and unexpected absence… Slowly pulling myself together! Hmm, how would you express that in Esperanto… Is it very idiomatic English? Or do you see it in other languages?

We do have “tiri” = “to drag,draw,pull, tug”, and so “kuntiri” = “to draw/drag/tug/pull together”. So, could one use “sin kuntiri” = “to pull oneself together” do you think?

  • Mi malrapide kuntiras min = I’m slowly pulling myself together

I quite like the metaphor of being all in pieces, and tugging everything back in place. So given that the metaphor in itself makes sense, then perhaps it’s permissible.

Anyways, before I got sidetracked, I was about to put a couple words all up in your faces!

The first of which is “kortuŝa” (pronounced: “kor-TOOSH-a”; IPA: “kor’tuʃa”), which means “moving/touching” (as in a thing that evokes emotion). This word is mojosa for two reasons!

The first being that in my opinion the sound is pleasant, and oddly matches how I think “touching” should sound. The “tuŝa” is just really gentle and pleasant, and with the addition of “kor” it’s like a strong starting note.

Secondly, its construction is pretty damn cool. “Tuŝi” means “to touch”, and “koro” is heart. Lump them together, and make it an adjective with an “a”, and you get a description of something that touches your heart!

The next word is “naztruo” (pronounced: “naz-TROO-o”; IPA:”naz’truo”), which means “nostril”. I simply found this word incredibly amusing because it’s literally made up of “nazo” = “nose” and “truo” = “hole”. So we have “nose-hole”!

Fines on daydreaming

Late posting tsk tsk. Ĉi tiu semajno … malfacilis. Today is for three words I came across. I think they’re neat because of the way they are constructed. The meaning goes together nicely.

  1. pripensinda = worth thinking about
  2. revpensi = to think wishfully, to daydream unrealistic thoughts (the action noun form “revpensado” = “wishful thinking”)
  3. monpuni = to fine (to charge someone money as a penalty)

Here’s how they’re made, and hence why they’re neat!

  1. “pensi” = to think, “pri” means “about, concerning”. So “pripensi” is “to think about, to consider”. The suffix “-ind” means “worthy of <root>”. So something which is “pripensinda” is worthy of consideration, worth thinking about.
  2. “revo” = “dream, daydream”. So to “revpensi” is to think in a way characterised by dreaming, or daydreaming.
  3. “puni” = “to punish, to correct”, and “mono” = “money”. So the action “monpuni” is to perform some kind of correction or punishment, characterised by money. I.e. the taking of it!

Word building on fire

I was pleased today. I decided that I wanted to know how to say “to kindle” (as in start a fire) in Esperanto. And instead of looking it up, I tried to think of the most logical way of constructing it…

Okay so I need to start with “to burn” (bruli), but this means, that the subject is burning (mi brulas = I am burning: i’m actually on fire, not burning something else). So I need to make it “cause something to burn”, by adding the appropriate suffix “bruligi” = “to burn (something)”. Then I need to add in the idea of the burning just starting, “ekbruligi”! (see post on ek).

The reason I was pleased, is that I then looked up this word, and found its entry in the dictionary to mean exactly as I planned! I think I’m really understanding word building now.

I really like the rhythm of the word “ekbruligi” too! It’s nice and bouncy.

Oh, by the way

Awesome word today: parenteze (pronounced pa-ren-TE-ze)

It means “by the way”.

The reason it’s awesome in my opinion, is because it makes way more sense (i.e. what do we actually mean by, “by the way”?? What way??).

We often use “by the way” to introduce a parenthetical statement (a statement which is not grammatically necessary, and is like an afterthought, or additional explanation. This was in fact a parenthetical statement by the way, and it is placed in parentheses (in brackets (another parenthetical statement)).

The Esperanto word for “parenthesis” is “parentezo”. By changing the noun ending “o” to the adverb ending “e”, we make the word more like “in a parenthetical manner, parenthetically” in other words, “by the way”!

Chocolate born to chirp

A desire suddenly happened upon me to look up pleasant-sounding words with the letters “ĝ” and “ĉ” in them, which respectively are pronounced as “g” in “gem” and “ch” in “chin”.

So here are some that I’ve found, and enjoy the sound of:

  1. Ŝanĝiĝi = (Shan-JEE-jee) to change (not change something else. The subject of this verb is the thing that’s changing). E.g. nun ke li havas amanto, li ŝanĝiĝis = now that he has a lover, he has changed (he  changed, became changed). From “ŝanĝi” = “to change (something into something), plus “-iĝi” = “to become <root>”, so “ŝanĝiĝi” = “to become changed into something”.
  2. Naskiĝi = (Nask-EE-jee) to be born.
  3. Ĉokolado = (Cho-ko-LA-do) Chocolate.
  4. Ĉasaĵo =  (Cha-SA-zho, where “zh” is pronounced like “s” in “pleasure”) game, quarry (in a hunt). “Ĉasi” = “to chase/hunt”, and the suffix “-aĵ” means a concrete thing characterised by the root word. Therefore “Ĉasaĵo” is a thing that is chased/hunted, i.e. quarry.
  5. Ĉifi = (CHEE-fee) to crumble, crease (something).
  6. Ĉirpi = (CHEER-pee) to chirp.

In 1, I love the “jee-jee” bit, especially when you have the word in past tense “ŝanĝiĝis”, finishing with the “s” makes it sound very flowing to me.

In 2, I think I almost like the “nask” sound almost as much as “ĝ”!

3 sounds bumpy in a rhythmic way, it’s kinda fun to say over and over…

4 and 5 are generally quite pleasing to pronounce, but the “ĉir” in 6 is my favourite sound out of the three. There’s something much more pleasing about its sound than how “chir” would be pronounced in English (“chirp” sounds so bland in comparison).


It’s a funky word day. In the spotlight we have “jen” and its variants. It’s pronounced “yen”. Easy!

It’s kinda like “see this/behold/voila”. In this state, it’s an interjection (words like “hello”,”bye”,”uh oh!”.

You might use it like this:

  • Jen ĉi tiuj libroj… = See these books/check out these books

It can often replace “here” (ĉi tie), and other non-interjection words that talk about a particular thing or place. It adds more emphasis on drawing attention:

  • Jen estas pomo = Behold it’s an apple (instead of “ĉi tie estas pomo”)

So what happens when we bother it with endings?

Adverb ending “e”:

  • Jene = thus/in the way I’m about to show
  • Kompletigu la dokumenton jene…. = Complete the document thus (in the following way)….

Adjective ending “a”:

  • Jena = that which follows (what I’m about to show)
  • Antentu la jenajn punktojn… = Pay attention to the following (which I’m about to show) points

Noun ending “o”:

  • Jeno = the thing which follows
  • Por defendi kontraŭ la meloj, oni bezonas la jenon… = In order to defend against the badgers, you need the following (things)…

According to the PMEG, when using several “jen”s in a sentence, they introduce alternatives. Here’s an example from that page:

  • la maro estis ja jen ruĝa, jen verda, jen blua

I find this tricky to directly translate, it’s kinda like when we do this in English:

  • The sea was here red, there green, and there blue!

In this kind of sentence “here” and “there” would mostly be interpreted as different locations or parts of the sea. But “jen” can mean equally this or that the colour changed (so the person beheld different colours of sea). Almost like, if you imagined you were there at the time:

  • Behold red! Now behold green! Now blue!

I love the the simplicity of the word. And how it’s meaning neatly fits into the equally useful words “jena,jene, and jeno”.

The main PMEG page for it is here.

Yet more

Recently been looking at “Laŭ”, a word I think I might have mentioned liking the sound of before (edit: indeed I have! Here). It means “According to/following/along”. I’ve been trying to find or think of uses in word building, because it has such a useful meaning, but is such a neat and tiny word.

So here are some that I’ve found:

  • laŭleĝa = legitimate, legal (leĝ0 = law, leĝa = legal, so lit. “according to law”)
  • laŭe = accordingly, according to that, conforming to that
  • laŭvorte = verbatim, word-for-word (vorto = word, so lit. “according to words”)
  • laŭiri = to go along (iri = to go)
  • laŭnature = according to nature (naturo = nature, nature = naturally, so lit.”by naturally, along naturally”)
  • laŭcela = adequate (cela = goal,aim,purpose, so lit. “according to purpose”)
  • laŭplane = according to plan (plano = plan)

I love the sound of “laŭe”. I think I am indeed hooked on the “aŭe” sound.

I also feel like these words really neatly express the concepts identified. Sentences like:

  • Mi laboras laŭplane = I am working according to plan
So neat!

Be beautiful with nightmare make-up

A few words that I like today! I like them mostly for their actual sound when spoken:

  • Koŝmaro = nightmare. Pronounced “Kosh-MA-ro” (trill that “r”!)
  • Ŝminki = to make-up (a verb for putting on make-up, e.g. “ŝminki sin” = “to make-up oneself, to put make-up on (oneself)”. Pronounced “SHMIN-kee” (try not to say “shming-kee”, but it’s not the end of the world…)

I have a feeling it is again the “ŝ” being following with the consonant that has tickled my fancy. It’s just a quirky sound.

Also, pleasingly, today I was buying lunch at the university, and came across some bottled mineral water, branded with the name “Belu”. It made me smile.

Since in Esperanto, “belu” is the imperative form (probably future post!) of the verb “beli” = “to be beautiful” (from the quality-like root “bel-“, so “bela” = “beautiful”). The point being that, “belu” means “be beautiful!”

So I bought it.

Idiot doctrine

Perhaps an example of Esperanto humour today… I came across this word: “Idiotismo”. It means “Idiom”. An idiom is a word or group of words whose meaning is based only on usage. In other words, just by looking at the words you can’t tell what they mean, in fact, often they’ll seem to mean something completely different!

For example “She kicked the bucket”. “To kick the bucket” is an idiom, it means “to die”. A non-native speaker only beginning to learn English may wonder what on earth you’re talking about!

Esperanto has very few idioms. As a language, it makes quite a lot of sense!

So the funny thing is that “Idioto” means “Idiot” and “Ismo” means “doctrine/-ism”. So in the eyes of Esperanto, an idiom (“Idiotismo”) is made up of those words! It’s the same as “Idiot doctrine” or an “Idiotism”! 😀


Baby branch

Fewer posts this week I’m afraid! Tough week. Hopefully I’ll have some ideas sorted out for next week!


I found an awesome usage of word building today: branĉido = sprout/shoot

  • Branĉo = branch
  • -id suffix means “offspring of <root>”, “born of <root>”.
  • Pronounced “branch-ID-o”

Now, there is a word “ŝoso” (pronounced “SHO-so”, quite pretty itself), which means “sprout/shoot”. But I like the logic of “branĉido”!

The “-id” suffix can also be used metaphorically. There is a another constructed language called “Ido” based off of Esperanto, short for “Esperantido”, offspring of Esperanto! 🙂

Ahead of before

I think this letter is very pretty: ŭ

Maybe even as pretty as “j”s… 

I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. You will most often find it after an “a” or an “e”. It’s somewhat like a “w”.

  • Antaŭ is like “ANT-ow”, like “ow” in “cow”.
  • Eŭropo is like “Ayw-ROP-o”, like “ayw” in “wayward”.

It’s sometimes used to spell foreign words with “w”s in them, or in onomatopoeic words.

Today’s post is about “antaŭ”. Both it’s prettifulness, and how it makes some pretty varied words in word building.

  • Antaŭ = ahead of, in front of, before (in terms of both time and space)

So without further delay, here are some combinations I found interesting:

  • Antaŭe = ahead, formerly, previously
  • Antaŭa = previous, last, prior, former
  • Antaŭvidi = to foresee (vidi = to see, so somewhat like “to see beforehand”)
  • Antaŭsento = presentiment, an intuition about the future (before-feeling)
  • Antaŭzorgo = precaution (zorgo = care, so like “care beforehand”
  • Antaŭdiri = to forecast, to prophesy, to foretell (diri = to say,tell)
  • Antaŭparolo = foreword (parolo = speech)
  • Antaŭlasta = the one before last, penultimate (lasta = last)
  • Antaŭsigno = indication, omen (signo = sign,signal)
  • Antaŭdecidi = to decide in advance
  • Antaŭjuĝo = prejudice (juĝo = judgment, so “judge beforehand”)
  • Antaŭafero = a preliminary (afero = thing, a before thing)
  • Antaŭtempa = premature (tempo = time, before-time)
What a variety!

I love the sound of the first two. The “ŭe” and “ŭa” sounds I think are the ones to blame!

Do comment if you know of any other interesting words made from “antaŭ”!