Ways of working with one another

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This post explores ways of expressing “one another” / “each other”, as in examples below:

  1. They hugged each other
  2. They worked with one another
  3. They fought against each other
  4. They gave a present to each other

The simplest way is to use some configuration of “unu” (“one”) and “alia” (“other/another”).

  1. Ili ĉirkaŭbrakis unu la alian
  2. Ili laboris unu kun la alia
  3. Ili batalis unu kontraŭ la alia
  4. Ili donis donacon unu al alia

Notice the main difference with how it’s constructed in english. You don’t say “with one another”, you say “one with the other”. Also note that if there is no relation like “to/against/with” (because instead it’s a direct object relation), then you take up the accusative “N” (1).

But what other tools do we have in our tool-belt?

We could use “reciproke” = “reciprocally”:

  • Everyone understood each other = Ĉiuj komprenis sin reciproke

Or we could use “inter” (“among/between”) as a prefix to the action word. Or even “inter si” (roughly “among themselves”):

  • They fought each other (amongst themselves) = Ili interbatalis = Ili batalis inter si

I love how simple but complete “ili interbatalis” is!

Wanna read about “si”? I’ve got previous posts on it: 1, 2

Dank’ al the PMEG for this information!

Can anyone think of other ways to express this?

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. 🙂

He killed his father!

“He killed his father!”

Did he kill his own father? Or did he kill another man’s father? You just don’t know! In Esperanto, there is a way of resolving this and similar kinds of ambiguity. The word for “he” is “li”. The word for “his” is “lia”. However, if we want to simply refer back to the subject of the verb, we use the pronoun “si” or in this case, “sia” for possession (his/her/its). Therefore, if we don’t use some form of “si” we must be talking about someone other than the subject of the verb!

1. Li mortigis lian patron.

2. Li mortigis sian patron.

(Remember the ‘n’ is just the accusative ending)

Sentence 1 means “He killed his (someone else’s) father”. Sentence 2 means “He killed his (own) father”.

Simple yet useful!