Skip to main content

[EN/EO] Listen and Learn in Esperanto: The Cowardly Lion (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, or read the video description on YouTube for a link to the entire book!

Malkuraĝigi - Mr. Broadribb makes extensive use of the agglutination in Esperanto to form all sorts of compound words, and I remember that when as a beginner I first read his books I found his flowery prose challenging, so I like to give special attention to his longer constructions. Here, we have Mal- (logical opposite), -kuraĝ- (root for "courage"), -ig- (transitive suffix), -i (verb ending). Put it all together and your literal translation is "Un-brave-make," or, "To make cowardly." This sort of word-building is everywhere in Esperanto, and the faster you learn to mix and match prefixes, roots, suffixes, and endings, the faster you'll progress in Esperanto!

Miroplene - Another compound word, Miro- ("wonder"), -plen- (root for "full"), -e (adverb ending). So literally, "full of wonder-ly," but used as an adverb to describe the manner in which Dorothy regarded the Lion.

"Mi supozas ke mi naskiĝis tia." I don't know if this is the case for you, but for the longest time I found the "Tia" correlative a real challenge especially when I was trying to use it alongside a verb (as in this sentence.) The thing to remember is that adjectives describe the subject of the sentence and have zero relation to the verb, so if it helps you can move "Tia" before or after the second "Mi" in the sentence and it doesn't change the meaning. To avoid confusion with "Tiel" (that way, that manner), consider "Tia" to mean, "that-quality," "that-state," or "that-condition." For example:

  • "Mi supozas ke mi naskiĝis tia."
    • "I suppose that I was born that-quality."
  • "Mi supozas ke tia mi naskiĝis."
    • "I suppose that that-state I was born.
  • "Mi supozas ke mi tia naskiĝis."
    • "I suppose that I that-condition was born."

Muĝi - To bellow, howl, roar, low, moo, roar. It's not clear to me why Mr. Broadribb chose to use "Muĝi" to describe a lion's roar when Esperanto has the more precise, "Rori" (to roar). At any rate, just remember that there are lots of animal sounds to learn, including "Grunti" (to grunt), "Bleki" (cry, bleat, bray), "Hurli" (to howl), "Kvaki" (to quack), "Pepi" (to chirp, tweet, warble), and "Boji" (to bark). I'm sure there are more I've forgotten!

Urso - Bear. You might recognize it from the French, "L' ours," or from the Latin, "Ursa."

"Tiom malkuraĝa mi estas." Mr. Broadribb adores using -om correlatives to describe adjectives, and although there are plenty of people today who like to say the same, strictly speaking it is not correct because just like in English, the job of describing adjectives is given to adverbs and, in Esperanto, the -el correlatives: "Tiel malkuraĝa mi estas."

"Kiam ili aŭdas min muĝegi." A nuance I didn't understand at first in Esperanto was the use of the infinitive after a direct object. For a long time, I really thought that it was best to use a present active participle, but that really isn't the case. To try and explain why, consider the following two sentences. Do you see the difference? It's subtle but very important.

  • "Mi aŭdas kurantan leonon muĝegi."
    • "I hear a running lion roar."
  • "Mi aŭdas muĝegantan leonon kuri."
    • "I hear a roaring lion run."

Viŝi - To wipe

Larmo - Tear, teardrop

Pinto - Peak, point, tip

Vosto - Tail

"Mia koro komencas rapide bati." Do you know what was the first literary text ever written in Esperanto? I guess we'll never know!

Kormalsano - Kor- (root for "heart"), -mal- (logical opposite), -san- (root for "health"), -o (noun ending.) So literally, "Heart-un-health," or "heart disease."

Pludiri - Put together Plu- (further, more, on), -dir- (root for "say, tell"), -i (verb ending) and you get a single verb, "Pludiri," for, "go on to say," "went on to say." You'll find a similar construction in the verb, "Plusendi," which you might use when you "forward" (send on) an email to somebody else.  

Egalfacile - Egal- (root for "Equal"), -facil- (root for "Easy, Facile"), -e (adverb ending). Literally, "Equal-eas-ily," or, "Just as easily!"

Sovaĝa - Savage, wild, untamed

Aprobi - To approve, authorize, countenance, endorse, sanction, ratify, hold with, tolerate

Makzelo - Jaw, jawbone. From the Latin, "Maxilla."