the Ig and the Igx in Esperanto

Can someone explain to me in terms how this works, I don't really understand this very well and am struggling to get my head around it, thanks

February 1, 2016


zubiz explained it perfectly, but I want to give it a try with a slightly different approach:

In Esperanto, every root (like "abund-", "akompan-", or "akv-") can in theory take any of the endings "-o", "-a" or "-i", but every root has in itself a "main meaning".

For example: when you think of the root "abund-" the first word coming to your mind is "abunda" (not "abundo" nor "abundi"), so the main meaning of that root is adjectival or qualitative. When you think of the root "akompan-" the first word coming is "akompani", so that root has verbal meaning. And when you think of "akv-", you first think of "akvo", so the root has nominal or noun meaning. When you look for a word at any dictionary (like "Reta Vortaro" or "Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto), you can also see the whole family, this is: all other common words derivating from the same root, and usually the word at the top holds the main meaning of the root. Thus you will see that "abunda", "akompani" and "akvo" are all at the top of their families.

But how can you know if a given root has adjectival, noun or verbal meaning? There is nothing in the word itself that indicates it, so the only way is by trusting your instinct; it usually is the first word that comes to mind, and if you want to be sure, you can check on a dictionary. Note that in some few cases, it is not easy to determine the dominant meaning of a root, and thus, you might find that one dictionary displays one word at the top, and another dictionary displays another one at the top.

Now, the trick to dominate "ig" and "iĝ" is to understand how they work depending on the type of root. FOR ADJECTIVAL/QUALITATIVE ROOTS: "abunda" = "abundant"; "abundi" = "to be abundant"; "abundigi" = "to make (something) abundant"; "abundiĝi" = "to become (/to be made) abundant".

  • "Ŝiaj larmoj estas abundaj" / "Ŝiaj larmoj abundas" = Her tears are abundant.
  • "Via rifuzo igas ŝiajn larmojn abundaj" / "Via rifuzo abundigas ŝiajn larmojn" = Your refusal makes her tears abundant.
  • Ŝiaj larmoj abundiĝas post la mesaĝo = Her tears become (/are being made) abundant after the message.

In short: In adjectival roots, “-ig” verb means that the subject gives that quality to the object, and “-iĝ” verb means that the subject receives that quality. The above example applies to all adjectival/qualitative roots.

FOR VERBAL ROOTS: "akompani" = "to accompany"; "akompanigi" = "to make (someone) accompany another person" (like forcing your friend to go with you or someone else to the store, for example). Examples:

  • Mi iras al la lernejo = I go to school.
  • "Mi igas miajn filojn iri al la lernejo" / "Mi irigas miajn filojn al la lernejo" = I make my kids go to school.
  • Mi mortos morgaŭ = I will die tomorrow.
  • "Mi igos vin morti morgaŭ" / "Mi mortigos vin morgaŭ" = "I'll make you die tomorrow" / "I will kill you tomorrow".

In verbal roots, the meaning of "-iĝ-" depends on whether the original verb can have object or not.

If the root verb cannot have object, "-iĝ-" means "transition to that action": - "Sidi" = to sit (yourself) ; "Sidiĝi" = to start to sit (yourself) - "Esti" = to be ; "Estiĝi" = to start to be

If the root verb must have object, the new verb with "-iĝ-" can't: - "Konfuzi" = to confuse something or someone; "Konfuziĝi" = to confuse oneself / to get confused. - Mi konfuzis mian fraton = I confused my brother (about something) - Pardonu min, mi konfuziĝis = I’m sorry, I got confused "Fari" = to do, to make ; fariĝi = to become. - Mi faris novan inventon = I made a new invention - Mi fariĝis kuracisto = I became a physician / medic / doctor

In verbs with “-iĝ” (like fariĝi, sidiĝi, estiĝi, naskiĝi…), we don’t use accusative, because they can’t have an object. I will explain this: Most verbs directly link an agent (he who performs the action) with its recipient (he who receives the action), like in “mi malfermis la pordon” (I opened the door); in such phrases, the agent is the “subject”, and the receiver is the “object”. In this cases the accusative indicates who is the “object”. But in the phrase “la pordo malfermiĝis” (the door [was] closed), we don’t have an agent (we don’t know who closed the door); we only have the receiver (the door). In those phrases, the receiver is the subject, and since we don’t have anything to function as object, no accusative is needed.

Note, however, that when dealing with intransitive verbs, Zamenhof left the option to replace a preposition with accusative, as long as it doesn't hamper the comprehension. Therefore, I think you could say something like "mi edziĝis vin" instead of "mi edziĝis kun vi", but I'm not sure.

In phrases like "Mi fariĝis kuracisto", for example, you are saying that you suffered a transition to become a medic; it is NOT that you "actively inflicted" a verb on yourself or someone else; and thus the phrase has no object, and requires no accusative.

FOR NOUN ROOTS: In these roots, “-ig” can mean “to make the object be the root noun”: Edzigi = To make someone become a spouse: Li edzigis sian filon al riĉa fraŭlino. And iĝ can mean “to become the root noun”: Edziĝi = To marry: Mi edziĝis kun vi, ĉar mi amas vin.

IN CONCLUSION: In adjectival roots “-ig” means “to make something + (adjective of the root)”, and in verbal roots it means “to make something + (verb of the root in infinitive)”. In adjectival roots “-iĝ” means “to become + (adjective of the root)”, and in verbal roots it means “to be made + (verb of the root in infinitive)”. In verbs with “-iĝ”, the subject is he who suffers the action (the one that usually is the object) and they have no “object”, hence why they have no accusative. In noun roots, “-ig” means “to make the object be the root noun”, and iĝ means “to become the root noun”. It is also possible to create words like “klarigo” (klar-ig-o) = clarification ; or “fortiĝo” (fort-iĝ-o) = (self-)strengthening. I hope I didn't confuse you more... XD

September 5, 2017

That's probably among the most difficult features in eo. The biggest issue is that when you learn a verb, you also have to learn weather it is transitive or not. I'm also currently learning but I focused on this part of eo quite a bit, so from the top of my head, this is roughly how I formulated:

You first have to know that there are roughly 2 types of verbs: transitive and intransitive. Transitive ones can take a direct object and intransitive ones never do.

One function of ig/iĝ is to switch the transitivity. -ig makes so that the subject performs the action denoted by the verb on someone else. Example: normally sidi is intransitive, so when you add -ig, it becomes transitive and means that subject is making someone else sit: La patrino sidigis la bebon. A more straightforward example would be morti = to die, mortigi = to kill.

Likewise -iĝ works the opposite way: the subject comes to being, rather than doing it, and hence, becomes intransitive: naski (do give birth) is transitive, but when you say naskiĝi as in "mi naskiĝis en usono", it means I was born in the USA.

But there are other details, like from non-verb roots you can create verbs like amikiĝi, edziĝi, ruĝigi (to make something red) etc.

One other detail that comes to my mind is that sometimes -iĝ can be applied to some intransitive verbs like sidi, thus becoming sidiĝi, which refers to starting to sit (the action of becoming sitting from standing). So I noticed that normal way of saying "sit down!" is actually "sidiĝu!" rather than "sidu". Similarly when -ig is applied to transitive verbs, it again means that the subject is making some other person do what the verb says. For example when you say "La patrino manĝigas la bebon" that would mean the mother is feeding the baby.

February 1, 2016

You can say "sidu!" as well, this meaning "be seated!". "-iĝ" often has the sense of "to become", thus "sidiĝu!" = "become seated" = "sit down/have a seat"

February 2, 2016

Okay, thanks for correction. I just encountered the -iĝ version more frequently.

February 3, 2016

This part is also my weak part. I wonder why the igx takes in NO accusative in the exercise in duolingo. I could not figure out why it is so. Dankon antauxe.

February 2, 2016

I wonder why the igx takes in NO accusative in the exercise in duolingo.

Simply because it is the rule. Like I said in the 2nd paragraph in my previous comment, intransitive verbs never take a direct object and verbs ending with -iĝ are always intransitive. I'm not sure about other uses of accusative like time, measurement etc, by the way.

It also makes a sense if you think of the meaning of the verb you want to use. Take for example amikiĝî, when you say you are becoming friends, you can't become friends something/somebody, but you may become friends with someone. Likewise you can't sit something, stand up something, blush something, get married a person. In all those cases you need at least a proposition or nothing, but never a direct object that you can perform the action upon.

February 3, 2016

edit: Or perhaps were you asking about the verb iĝi? In that case you can think of iĝi as similar to esti. Some verbs create what is called "copula". There is a set of verbs that behave that way but I don't have an exhaustive list of them. Esti, iĝi, fariĝi, ŝajni, aperi, troviĝi, nomiĝi are among some.

February 3, 2016

zubiz, that is the first time I've ever understood these rules. Very well explained. You have my profound gratitude.

January 31, 2018
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