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.

To suddenly know!

I was reading “Gerda Malaperis!” (Gerda disappeared!) by Claude Piron and came across this word: ekscii

Remember that “c”s are pronounced like “ts”s and those two “i”s are pronounced separately! Like:

  • ekst-see-ee

Not only does the word look bizarrely cool, but I thought the meaning was pretty nifty too.

“Ek-” is a prefix usually put on the front of an action, that makes a new word that emphasises the start, or sudden beginning of the action. See my previous post talking about it.

“Scii” (which in itself is a pretty interesting word, it’s the word I have most trouble pronouncing fluently in a sentence, especially when a word ending in “s” comes before it…) means “to know”.

So the result is literally something like “to suddenly know”. More usually translated as “to find out”! I’d been wondering how to say that in Esperanto, given that translating “find” and “out” together makes no sense… Find outside?


I have now returned to England! ‘Twas a journey fraught with hassle and drunken people. But the time away was good! I’m now knee deep in all my stuff as I attempt to move house! But I shall attempt to return to some sort of normal schedule of posting. I’m surprised I managed to get regular posts out all last week, but my tiredness is definitely showing this week! I’m thinking up some more topics, and hopefully soon will have plenty to pollute the web with.

For now I’ll leave with you a word I came across in “Being Colloquial in Esperanto”:

  • Ekdormadi = To suddenly fall into a long slumber

I thought it was quite an achievement. Very pretty and very functional!

How is it made?

From the verb “dormi” = “to sleep”. The prefix “ek” creates the feeling of suddenly starting, or quite fleeting. For example, adding it to the verb “to look” would make “to glance”, or “to laugh” would be “to burst out laughing”.

Adding the suffix “ad” gives the idea of a continual action, a sustained action.

So… To suddenly fall into (ek-) a long/continual (-ad) sleep (dormi)!


Today marked a return to course material in Esperanto. For a week or so now I’ve been indulging various linguistic whims concerning Esperanto. Browsing the forums at Lernu.net, getting knee-deep in various issues of the language that are probably far beyond me at the moment, but it was certainly interesting!

But as I said, today I returned to the Esperanto learning material I was working with, from where I left off. In doing so, I came across the prefix “ek-“.

Alone as a word, it means something like “let’s go!” or “let’s start!”.

However, when you put it at the beginning of a word, it gives the feeling of a ephemerality, or suddenly starting:

  • dormi = to sleep; ekdormi = to fall asleep
  • vidi = to see; ekvidi = to catch sight of
  • aŭdi = to hear; ekaŭdi = to get wind of
  • flugi = to fly; ekflugi = to take flight
  • brili = to shine; ekbrili = to flash
  • kanti = to sing; ekkanti = to burst into song
  • rigardi = to look at; ekrigardi = to glance at
  • bati = to hit; ekbati = to lash out
  • ridi = to laugh; ekridi = to burst out laughing
  • rigardo = a look; ekrigardo = glance
Seems to make some awesome meanings that you need entirely new words or phrases for in English, and it seems to naturally imply them without much thinking required. Quite an interesting little word! I’m having fun making a few slightly less innocent words with it…