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[EN/EO] Listen and Learn in Esperanto: Council with the Munchkins (w/ Subtitles + Vocab Guide)


Listen and Learn with this excerpt from the book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, translated by Donald Broadribb. You can turn on subtitles in English or Esperanto to read along, and you can also click here to read the entire book

Flustrigi - starts from the root "Flustr-" for "whisper," adds the suffix "-igi" to make the root into a transitive verb. For example, "Mi flustras" (I whisper), but "Mi flustrigas la voĉon" translates literally into, "I whispered my voice," but we'd probably say, "I fluttered my voice."

Potenca - Powerful ("potent")

Smeraldo - Emerald

Ĝuste - Do you know the difference between "Ĝusta" and "Prava?" Both of these words can translate into English as "right," but in Esperanto they have very different meanings. "Ĝusta" is better understood as precise, and "Prava" is better understood as "correct." To build on our previous example about "Flustrigi," consider the words "Ĝustigi" and "Pravigi." If you regulate, order, or "make precise," then you want "Ĝustigi," but if you want to excuse or justify, then you want "Pravigi." Likewise, if you want to say that something is right (precise, on point, accurate), you want "Ĝusta," but if you want to say that something is right (correct, without misunderstanding, being of the right opinion), then you want "Prava."

Names invented for fantasy stories often don't translate very well out of their native language. In this case, "Munchkin." Do you translate the letter of the word, or its spirit? In this case, it looks like Mr. Broadribb started with "Manĝeti" (to snack, nibble, munch), arbitrarily removed "-e" the word, and then added the -ulo suffix to indicate a person. Munchkin... Manĝtulo... I guess it works?

There are two other fantasy names you'll find in this reading: "Kveluloj" and "Palpbrumoj." In the original English, Mr. Baum named one of the peoples of the Land of Oz, "Quadlings." In translation, Mr. Broadribb named them, "Kveluloj," apparently starting with "Kvar," replacing the last two letters with "-el," and then finishing with the suffix "-ul" to indicate a person.

Another people who reside in the Land of Oz are the Winkies, which Mr. Broadribb translated as "Palpbrumoj." Can you figure out how he got to that translation? "Eyelid" is "Palpebro," and "To wink" is "Palpebrumi," so just like he did before he chose to throw out a vowel, tack on the "-o" noun ending, and that's how we ended up with "Palpbrumoj."

Apudstari - Welcome to Esperanto, where you can glue words together to make new words that better suit your purpose. In this case, "apud" (near, close by) and "stari" (to stand) give us "apudstari" (standing close, to by-stand.)

Ekkrii - Here's more word-building for you! We start with the prefix "Ek-" (a sudden action, or beginning), the root "Kri-" (shout, scream, yell), and you get "Ekkrii" for a sudden shout or yell.

Indiki - To indicate, show

Maljunulineto - I remember the very first time I read this word and it threw me for a loop. Let's break it down: "Mal-" (opposite, inverse), "-jun-" (young), "-ul-" (person), "-in-" (female), "-et-" (diminuative, small), "-o" (noun). So, that's just one long word for what in English would be "little old lady."

Arĝenta - Silver

"Tiom aĝa" - Mr. Broadribb was a terrific Esperantist and did a lot of great writing, but dear student, you must remember that in modern usage we no longer use "-om" correlatives in this way. In all situations where we want to express severity or degree ("She was so old") we use the "-el" correlatives. In modern usage, we would say, "Ŝi estis tiel aĝa" (She was so old).

El - The prefix "El-" shows up a few times in this reading, and I think it's important to remember that has two meanings. First, it can mean movement out from within. For example, you can "kuri el la domo" (run from the house) or "indiki iun el ili" (indicate one of them). Second, it can mean thoroughly or completely. We actually do the same thing in English, for example, "to dry" and "to dry out" have direct parallels in "sekiĝi" and "elsekiĝi." 

How do you wear clothes in Esperanto? Well, there are a few ways to say it and they're all perfectly good. "Surporti" literally means to "Wear on." You've also got, "Surhavi," which literally means to "have on." And finally, you've also got "Porti," which literally means just "to carry." Depending on the context, one can be better than the other, but you'd be understood whichever you choose.

Skui - To shake

Polvo - Dust. Be mindful that you don't confuse this with "Pulvo" which means "gunpowder!"

Dezerto - Desert, or a hot, dry place, usually with a lot of sand. In English, it's actually pretty common to misspell Desert as "Dessert." The final course of a meal is called "dessert," and is characterized by a sweet, delicious thing (Dolĉaĵo). So if you want to refer to the course and not specifically its consistency, then you want "Deserto," but if you want specifically to say that you're having a sweet treat, then you want, "Dolĉaĵo!"

Sklavigi - To enslave. This starts with the root "Sklav-" (slave), adds the transitive suffix "-ig-", and then tacks on the verb ending "-i." So literally, "To make a slave," or just, "enslave."

And finally, here's a friendly reminder to not confuse "Loĝi" (to lodge, reside, dwell) with "Vivi" (to live, be alive). Given that "to live" can be used so flexibly in English, it's a very easy mistake for beginners to mix up "Loĝi" and "Vivi."

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