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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

464               The Loom of Language
number or person, e g mi skribas (I write), h skribas (he writes), ni
skribas (we write) It sticks to affixation for tense and mood, and there
is no shortage of them We have to learn the -i for the infinitive, -as
for the present indicative, -is for the past indicative, -os for the
future, -u for the subjunctive and imperative, and -us for the con-
ditional There is only one auxiliary, esti (to be) By chasing it
through the different tenses and moods (estas, estzs, estos> etc ) and
then combining it with the three active participles (amanta loving,
aminta having loved, amonta going to love), you can manufacture
18 different compound constructions, and then double the number
by substituting passive participles for the active ones (amata loved,
amita having been loved, amota going to be loved)
Zamenhof 5s vocabulary consists of a collection of arbitrarily chosen
roots, which grow by addition of about 50 derivative prefixes, suffixes,
and infixes The most glaring defect of the Esperantist stock of words
is that it is not consistently international To be sure, Zamenhof did
choose some roots which are pan-European In this category we find
atom, akstom, tabak, tualet He also chose roots which are partially
international, i e common to a large number of European languages
In this class we meet, e g ankr (anchor), emajl (enamel) These inter-
national and semi-international words had to comply with Zamenhof 5s
sound and spelling conventions They also had to take on Esperanto
terminals As oftefl as not they are therefore unrecognizable, or at best
difficult to recognize, e g kafo (coffee), venko (victory), kom (know),
kun (run) What is worse, they are often misleading Thus sesono does
not mean season, as we might suppose It means one-sixth So also/05z/0
stands for a spade, not for a fossil Not even the starchy food called
sago escaped mutilation Its rightful name was changed to saguo pre-
sumably because sago (Latin sagittd) was badly needed to designate
the Esperanto arrow
Zamenhof rejected an enormous number of internationally current
words He dismissed hundreds ending in -ation, -ition, and -sion, or
distorted them, e g naao for nation^ naaa for national A large class of
words in the Esperanto dictionary are not international in any sense
To coax the susceptibilities of Germans, or Russians who do not or
did not then welcome addition of international terms derived from
Latin or Greek roots, Zamenhof included words which add to the
difficulties of a Frenchman or a Spaniard without appreciably lightening
the burden for a Dutchman or a Bulgarian This compromise was
responsible for roots such as bedaur (German bedauem = regret), flug