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Esperanto for non-European languages

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Sprachprofi
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Germany
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Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 1 of 16
22 November 2010 at 4:04pm | IP Logged 
Ever since studying Swahili, I have been amazed at just how many of Esperanto's
structures allow me to understand features in languages that Esperanto is in no way
related to. Let's try to collect them here, for the sake of Esperanto-speaking
polyglots.

To be clear: I am looking for features of non-Romance non-Germanic languages which
resemble Esperanto's features without at the same time resembling typical features of
Romance or Germanic languages. I. e. features that would be new and alien and possibly
difficult to you if you didn't know Esperanto.


Ancient Greek
Participles not available in modern European languages but available in Ancient Greek
and Esperanto: past-active, present-passive, future-active (available in Latin) and
future-passive


Arabic
-a = -ino = for female family members, female professionals etc.
    جَدّ = avo = grandfather --> جَدَّة = avino = grandmother
m...a = -ejo = for places
     دَرَس = lerni = to learn   --> مَدْرَسة = lernejo = school


Chinese (Mandarin)
爱- = -ema = a disposition or tendency
    怀疑 = dubi = to doubt --> 爱怀疑的 = dubema = (hard to translate, "not
trusting"?
numbers (up till 9999)
    三百十五 = tri-cent dek kvin = three hundred fifteen
certain word constructions
    国 = lando = country --> 外国人 = ekster-land-ano = foreigner

Finnish
-ema = -lias
   puhe (speech) -> puhelias (talkative)
   antaa (to give) -> antelias (generous)
   uni (sleep) -> unelias (sleepy)
   kipu (pain) -> kivulias (painful)

-igi = -taa/-ttaa
muu (other) -> muuttaa (to change)
   vapaa (free as in freedom) -> vapauttaa (to free)
   kirja (mark, pattern) -> kirjoittaa (to write)
   herätä (to wake up) -> herättää (to wake somebody up)
   asua (to live, reside) -> asuttaa (to populate, colonize)


Swahili
ki- = -eta = makes things smaller
    karatasi = papero = papero --> kikaratasi = papereto = little paper
ma(ji)- = -ega = makes things bigger
    buibui = araneo = spider --> mabuibui = araneego = big spider
       macho = okuloj = eyes --> majicho = okulegoj = big eyes

u- = -eco = for generalised nouns
    kweli = vera = true --> ukweli = vereco = truth
-ua = mal- = to turn something into its opposite
    funga = fermi = to close --> fungua = malfermi = to open
-isha/-iza/-esha/-eza/-aulisha = -igi = cause sth./sb. to do something or to
happen
    kufahamu = kompreni = to understand --> kufahamisha = komprenigi = to explain,
announce
       tayari = preta = ready --> kutayarisha = pretigi = prepare, make ready

-wa/-ewa/-iwa/-lewa/-liwa = -iĝi = to become; passive construction
    kuzaa = naski = to give birth --> kuzaliwa = naskiĝi = to be born
       kuita = nomi = to call/name --> kuitwa = nomiĝi = to be called/named


... TO BE CONTINUED ...

Edited by Sprachprofi on 23 November 2010 at 7:23pm

7 persons have voted this message useful



ellasevia
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 Message 2 of 16
22 November 2010 at 5:23pm | IP Logged 
Swahili
-wa/-ewa/-iwa/-lewa/-liwa = -iĝi = to become; passive construction
    kuzaa = naski = to give birth --> kuzaliwa = naskiĝi = to be born
       kuita = nomi = to call/name --> kuitwa = nomiĝi = to be called/named

5 persons have voted this message useful





jeff_lindqvist
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Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
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 Message 3 of 16
22 November 2010 at 5:56pm | IP Logged 
I just want to say that ellasevia's example exist in Swedish too (even if it's not a non-European language):

-s = -iĝi = to become; passive construction
föda = naski = to give birth --> födas = naskiĝi = to be born
kalla = nomi = to call/name --> kallas = nomiĝi = to be called/named


In addition to the copula+past tense construction (e.g. to be+called), just about any verb can be made passive by adding -s.
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palfrey
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Canada
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Speaks: English*
Studies: German, French

 
 Message 4 of 16
23 November 2010 at 2:51am | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote:
Chinese (Mandarin)
[ ... ]
certain word constructions
    国 = lando = country --> 外国人 = ekster-land-ano = foreigner

I may be missing something here, as I don't know any Chinese. But the Esperanto formation looks very similar to the German "Ausländer" (Aus-länd-er, literally "outlander" in English), which also means "foreigner" or "alien".


Edited by palfrey on 23 November 2010 at 3:55am

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alang
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 Message 5 of 16
23 November 2010 at 4:00am | IP Logged 
Do not forget Agglutination. This is one reason I wanted to eventually learn Turkish and Uzbek after Esperanto.
2 persons have voted this message useful



lingoleng
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3837 days ago

605 posts - 1290 votes 

 
 Message 6 of 16
23 November 2010 at 5:05pm | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote:

Ancient Greek
Participles not available in modern European languages but available in Ancient Greek
and Esperanto: past-active, present-passive, future-active (available in Latin) and
future-passive

This is really a feature of Esperanto I found immediately pleasing: The full set of participles, which can result in an elegant expressive brevity.

Quote:
Arabic
m...a = -ejo = for places
     دَرَس = lerni = to learn   --> مَدْرَسة = lernejo = school

How about German backen -> Bäckerei, Metzger -> Metzgerei? (It is no longer fully productive, usable for new words, what makes it less convincing.)

Quote:
Swahili
ki- = -eta = makes things smaller
    karatasi = papero = papero --> kikaratasi = papereto = little paper

Diminutives are a common Indo-european feature, aren't they? Latin -ulus, German -chen, -lein, Spanish -ito, there are many of them.

Quote:
ma(ji)- = -ega = makes things bigger

Maybe less common, but in Spanish there are many of these augmentatives: sombrero -> sombrerón. (They often have a pejorative meaning at the same time, so that the analogy is not always complete, of course.)

Quote:
u- = -eco = for generalised nouns
    kweli = vera = true --> ukweli = vereco = truth

German wahr -> Wahrheit, English true -> truth ;-)

Quote:
-ua = mal- = to turn something into its opposite
    funga = fermi = to close --> fungua = malfermi = to open

I still don't know if I should find this mal- terribly ugly or wonderfully elegant, but it is nothing unusual: wahr -> unwahr, able -> unable. (These may not mean exactly the opposite, but often enough I think they do.)

I may miss some point, sorry then, but in this case I don't think your examples are very convincing. (I enjoy quite everything you write, so this is nothing personal, I hope this goes without saying.)
3 persons have voted this message useful



Sprachprofi
Nonaglot
Senior Member
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Joined 5009 days ago

2608 posts - 4866 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Esperanto, Greek, Mandarin, Latin, Dutch, Italian
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Swahili, Indonesian, Japanese, Modern Hebrew, Portuguese

 
 Message 7 of 16
23 November 2010 at 6:23pm | IP Logged 
Thank you for your comments.

Quote:
I may miss some point, sorry then, but in this case I don't think your examples
are very convincing.


The point is not to convince anyone! I do not actually want this thread to become
another place to discuss Esperanto's value; instead I'd like to increase the number of
threads that help Esperanto speakers indulge in polyglottery. Let's save us all a lot
of time by linking exotic concepts to Esperanto concepts. It's like finding mnemonics,
but better.

In response to your points, for me, the biggest difference is that in European
languages you learn things like true -> truth as separate units, you don't spend
time thinking about the defining quality of these words, and any semblance of
regularity (as with the German -ei) is seen as purely incidental. To learn Swahili
however, you can't afford to think of each constructed word as a separate unit, there
are way too many of them. From an English point of view, there is no connection between
the u- words, much less the -isha words; yet you have to discover the logical
connection and make it your own in order to master the language.

infaneco = utoto = childhood
grandeco = ukubwa = size
beleco = uzuri = beauty

Btw, the -ua only applies to verbs, while European un- is mostly for adjectives.

I also notice you haven't found European equivalents for -ema (爱) and -igi (-isha)
yet; if there are, let me know.
1 person has voted this message useful



GREGORG4000
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, Finnish
Studies: Japanese, Korean, Amharic, French

 
 Message 8 of 16
23 November 2010 at 6:38pm | IP Logged 
Sprachprofi wrote:
I also notice you haven't found European equivalents for -ema (爱) and -igi (-isha)
yet; if there are, let me know.

Obviously these don't apply quite as cleanly or easily as in Esperanto, but Finnish has pretty direct equivalents I believe:

-ema = -lias
puhe (speech) -> puhelias (talkative)
antaa (to give) -> antelias (generous)
uni (sleep) -> unelias (sleepy)
kipu (pain) -> kivulias (painful)

-igi = -taa/-ttaa
muu (other) -> muuttaa (to change)
vapaa (free as in freedom) -> vapauttaa (to free)
kirja (mark, pattern) -> kirjoittaa (to write)
herätä (to wake up) -> herättää (to wake somebody up)
asua (to live, reside) -> asuttaa (to populate, colonize)

Edited by GREGORG4000 on 23 November 2010 at 6:39pm



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