Thursday, August 07, 2008

esperanto for fantasists

One of the things I like about learning Esperanto is that the rapid progress you make encourages you to keep going, even when the only other person in your area who speaks the language is your 8-year-old.

Because it's a designed language, rather than one that grew organically, Esperanto has extremely regular grammatical rules. Verb conjugations, for example. It doesn't matter if the subject is first person or third, singular or plural, the verb ending is always the same. Thus it's mi estas, vi estas, ŝi estas and so on; compare that to English, where the same phrase is rendered I am, you are, she is.

Similarly, nouns always end in O, infinitives always end in I, adjectives always end in A, and adverbs always end in E. A little monkeying makes it possible to turn the same root into four different parts of speech: sano (health), sani (to be healthy), sana (healthy) and sane (healthily). So I can say Mi sanas or Mi estas sana, and thus I have two ways of saying "I am healthy," depending on the preferences of my native tongue and the strictures of the medium I'm using to write or speak.

It takes some getting used to. Saying "I make bread morningly" (Mi matene faras panon) doesn't come quite as naturally as saying "I make bread in the morning" (Mi faras panon en la mateno), but I have to give the language credit for flexibility. Especially since I'm assured that any root can be turned into any part of speech, which would indicate that I can say Ŝia onklo nokte panas, but I really have no idea what it would mean to say "Her uncle breads nightly."

Ah well. I'm having fun, which is a good thing to say about any hobby, and as is borne out by the following:

1. La vampiroj manĝis la bluajn kukojn.
The vampires ate the blue cakes.

2. Ŝi renkontis la marvirinon kiu faras sekan panon.
She met the mermaid who makes dry bread.

3. Mi kredas ke mia filo kaptis malsanan lupviron per sukero kaj lakto
I think that my son caught an unhealthy werewolf with sugar and milk.
[Hm. Could I say that as "Mi kredas kiu mia filo sukere kaj lakte kaptis malsanan lupviron"?—ed.]

4. Vampiroj ne amas lupvirojn ĉar ili trinkis la brunan limonadon.
Vampires don't like werewolves because they drank the brown lemonade.

5. Dudek fantomoj ne vidis la butikon.
Twenty ghosts didn't see the store.

These are, of course, essential sentences in any language. The one I haven't figured out yet how to ask is, "Where is the bathroom?" Fortunately, here in my own house, my family can understand the question in English in the unlikely event that I need help.


Remush said...

Kie estas la necesejo?
Kie estas la banĉambro?
Kie estas la banejo?
Kie mi povas lavi miajn manojn?
Kie estas la tualeto?
Sed depende de la loko kaj la alparolato vi povus uzi pri krudaj vortoj (fekejo, pisejo, urinejo, kakejo), je via propra risko.

Remush said...

pardonu: pli krudajn vortojn

mankso said...

Good for you! But a couple of grammar pointers, if I may, before you fossilize these mistakes!:
1 - your use of the accusative for direct objects is rather capricious! In some sentences you recognize one and mark it accordingly, but in others you ignore it completely. I'll leave you to figure out which - I'm sure you are intelligent enough for that. ALL direct objects must be marked in Esperanto - and there is one in most sentences! If in any doubt, check this:

Ŝi renkontis la marvirino ke faras sekan panon.
In addition to one unmarked direct object (and one marked one!), you have not used a relative pronoun [kiu/kiun/kiuj/kiujn] but a conjunction [ke]. This is a mistake rather typical of Romance-language speakers. It should be '... marvirino, kiu faras ...'

Hope this helps you to progress even faster! Estas vere rimarkinde, kiom rapide oni kapablas progresi, kiam trovighas apuda helpo, chu ne? Bonan kuraghon kaj rapidan progreson mi deziras al vi!