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[EN/EO] Listen and Learn in Esperanto: "Tri Deziroj"

The story was selected from the book "Kruko kaj Baniko en Bervalo" by Louis Beaucaire. Turn on subtitles in the video for English or Esperanto, or click here to download the book and read along! I've included a list of some words and phrases from the text that you might not understand right away

Plenumi: This is built on the root Plen- (full), the suffix -um- (undefined action or object related to the root), and the verb infinitive ending -i. I included this word as something you might not be familiar with because it's easy to confuse with another very similar verb, "Plenigi," from the same root Plen-, but with the suffix -ig- (to make, render, bring about) instead of -um-. In this way, "Plenigi" means "to make full," or "to fill up," whereas "Plenumi" means "to fulfill or accomplish." If you want your wish to come true, then you need to "Plenumi la volon!

Farite: In English, if you wanted to say that rain is falling from the sky, you'd say, "It's raining," but Esperanto is frequently a very literal language that means exactly what it says. That's why you would only ever say, "Pluvas" (Rains), and not "Ĝi pluvas" (It rains). What is this "it" of which you speak? Where is "It?" In Esperanto, the "it" is assumed when talking about the weather. In this sort of expression, the subject is assumed. Likewise, you can have sentences where there is neither a subject, nor an object, but only a verb... or, in this case, an adverb: Farite. This is made from the root Far- (to make or do), the past passive participle suffix -it-, and the adverb ending -e. In this sentence, "Tuj estas farite," there's neither a subject nor an object. Because there's no subject, Farit- may not take the adjectival ending -a. The only thing in this sentence is the verb, "estas" (present tense "is") which operates just like "pluvas" if I were describing the weather, so therefore the only ending which Farit- may accept is the adverb ending -e.  

Peti: In English, you can ask both a question and a pardon, but in Esperanto those are two different words. "Demandi" is the verb for when you want to ask a question ("Mi demandas vin," I ask you.), but "Peti" is the verb for when you want request, or ask to receive, something ("Mi petas vian pardonon," I ask your pardon.) If you have trouble keeping them straight, remember that you can "Demand" to know the answer, but you'll have to "Petition" if you want action.

Fariĝu: This word is based on the root Far- (to make or do), the suffix -- (to become or transition), and the imperative ending -u. I'm not enough of a scholar to say just how many languages observe this convention, but so I've been told it's pretty common across Romance languages that in sentences in which one clause begins by stating a person's strong want, desire, order, or other "force," the second clause will follow with the imperative (you know, like the "imperius curse" from Harry Potter?) In this example, we start with, "Ŝi volas, ke... (she wants, that...)" which sets us up for the second half of the sentence which shows her will or command, "... la kato fariĝu bela viro. (the cat become a handsome man.)" For a better explanation, check out this video!

Iama: This comes from the word, "iam" (at one time, at some time), but is given the adjectival ending -a. You might not have thought that you could do this with words about time, but chances are you've already done it without thinking. For example, nun (now) and nuna (current, present). Or, kiom (how much) and kioma (how many, what number). The beauty of Esperanto is that your imagination is more important than your ability to memorize! An exponentially large number of words can be created from just a small handful of prefixes, roots, suffixes, and endings. Try it out!

Riproĉa: An example of what I was just talking about is this adjective, "Riproĉa," which is created from the root Riproĉ- (blame, reproach, rebuke) and the adjectival ending -a. In this case, since Riproĉi is a transitive verb, that means that an adjective formed from it will describe something characterized by the action. You could likewise have a tranĉa voĉo (cutting voice).

Kastrigi: So, there's a little bit going on here. To start, this is taken from the root Kastr- (castrate) which if it had the verb infinitive ending -i would already be a transitive verb. For example, if you were a Bestkuracisto (veterinarian) you might be asked to Kastri (castrate) a cat  ("Mi kastris katon," I castrated a cat) However, if you were the owner of a cat but didn't know how to perform the procedure, then you'd have to ask a vet to do that for you, which is why before the previously mentioned verb infinitive ending -i we see the suffix -ig- (to make, cause, or bring about a state.) 

Generally, this suffix is most easily used with nontransitive verbs. For example, there's the verb "Promeni," which means to stroll, walk around, "promenade," or generally move about for pleasure (Mi promenas en la parko," I stroll in the park.) But, "Promenigi" uses the -ig- suffix to make an intransitive verb (something you do) into a transitive verb (something you do to something else). For example, "Mi promenigas la hundon en la parko (I walk the dog in the park.)" So, strictly speaking, if you add the suffix -ig- to a transitive verb, you're saying that you're making the object of the verb perform the action indicated by the root to which it was attached. 

So if you said that you "kastrigis la katon," the most literal translation is that you, "made the cat to castrate / perform a castration," but as the language has evolved over the years, it's become understood that when a transitive verb is given the suffix -ig- the meaning is made clear by the context, which is another way of saying that in no situation is a cat going to castrate somebody, but that the cat is going to be castrated by somebody else. 

Another example of this usage I can provide comes from the late Esperantist Donald Broadribb who was a prolific translator of English into Esperanto, and to whom I am grateful for so many rich translations of the books from the "Wizard of Oz" series. In one book, the Princess Ozma is ordering a lion and a tiger to be yoked to pull her carriage. Now, the verb "jungi" (to yoke) is already transitive. If the princess wanted to "jungi" the horses, she'd have to do that herself, but she ordered somebody else to do it, so she told a servant to "Jungigi" the two beasts. Clearly, the lion and the tiger aren't going to put yokes on somebody else who's going to pull the carriage, so the context makes it clear what's wanted.