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  5. "Ne krokodilu!"

"Ne krokodilu!"

Translation:Do not speak your native language when Esperanto is more appropriate!

December 1, 2016

60 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vanege

Ctrl-C ; Ctrl-V


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rykemasters

"Don't crocodile!" also works. But it wouldn't be very useful if Duolingo listed that as the translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Noisytoot

M-w C-y (the Emacs version)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/proedie

The more natural way to say this in English would be: ‘Speak Esperanto!’

This is not accepted, though. :/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

I agree. I reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atti

There also are "ne aligatoru!" and "ne lacertu!" and they are all different. So "speak Esperanto" is not the exact translation.


[deactivated user]

    I have not come across "ne aligatoru!" or "ne lacertuloj!" (Did you mean "ne lacertulu!" by the way?) What do they mean? PIV doesn't include them.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    I have a hard time keeping the other ones straight. Aligatori and kajmani have to do with speaking national languages that are not your native language. I forget which is which but it has to do with whether one or both speakers is native.

    Lacerti has two meanings - not really related. One has to do with speaking another planned language at an Esperanto event. If I had to guess, the second meaning has to do with speaking languages which you sort of understand because the languages are similar.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/atti

    Salivanto is right, it should be "ne lacertu". There are even more "reptiliumi" words: https://eo.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptiliumi


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    I didn't say so explicitly, but I intended to agree with DavidLamb3 that I have not heard ne lacertu or ne aligatoru either - not in two decades of activity. Mostly these words are not used except to win trivia contests. It's possible that aligatori has found a new life in the word aligatorejo, but otherwise these are pretty rare. Certainly people don't run around telling other people not to do them. If they're used, they're used positively.

    The one specimen that I recall "in the wild" was in an entry in Pasporta Servo many years ago. This was when it was in book form and space was limited. The description read, in part:

    • La edzino kajmanas germane.

    The translation, in context, would be something like:

    • I am the only one in the house who speaks Esperanto, but my wife (in addition to being a native speaker of the local language) is a non-native speaker of German and would be willing to speak both languages with you.

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/camcamcam753

    Does anyone know what this has to do with the crocodile?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    Nobody knows for sure. A plausible explanation is that someone once saw people who come to an Esperanto event to "not speak Esperanto" and compared them to a cold-blooded reptile with few redeeming social graces, and the comparison stuck.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

    I've also heard a story connecting it to the expression "crocodile tears" ("a false, insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief. The phrase derives from an ancient belief that crocodiles shed tears while consuming their prey." - Wikipedia).

    Something along the lines of "The learner says that they want to learn Esperanto but they keep speaking their own language at the Esperanto event. They're just as hypocritical as a crocodile crying while consuming its prey."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

    I seem to remember Arika Okrent, in her book In the Land of Invented Languages, saying it had to do with the crocodile looking out from below the water, but I cannot remember the connection or whether she said where she learned that.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenMLee

    The explanation I heard back in the 90s is that early Esperanto teachers would use puppet shows, and the crocodile puppet would speak the native language instead of Esperanto. So, "ne krokodilu" basically means "don't be like the crocodile puppet."

    Let me see if I can find the reference. I'll have to dig out my Esperanto books from back then, including the biography of Lidia Zamenhof that I have. I think it might have been in there, because she was a HUGE teacher of Esperanto, as you might imagine.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    That's one of the many explanations in circulation, but nobody knows for sure (as several people have already commented.)

    I think they were rubber toys, but - same idea.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JenMLee

    Yeah, I looked in the Lidia book and didn't find the reference. If I find it, I'll post it somewhere.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    I'm not sure what you're looking for. Like I said, it's one of several plausible explanations but nobody knows for sure:

    Students of Andreo Cseh. When Cseh taught Esperanto, students were only allowed to speak their native language when they were holding a wooden crocodile he always brought with him.

    Lidia taught using the Cseh method, so I suppose that's what you're thinking of.

    Source: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/krokodili


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/utkugurdal

    Neniu scias ekzakte. Kelkaj eblaj klarigoj de Vikipedo - https://eo.wikipedi0.org/wiki/Krokodili#Etimologio


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ConorFingleton

    Just realized "Don't crocodile!" is accepted. I've been typing in the whole "Do not speak your native language..." spiel every time there's been a question like this. I feel like a sucker. :P


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

    There is a subtle mistake in the definition of krokodili at the top of this page (as of April 2020 as I write this.) A key element in krokodili is speaking nacilingve when it would be appropriate to speak Esperanto. It's not limited to your native language In fact, really speaking any language when you should be speaking Esperanto is krokodili.

    By the way, the short and simple translation of Ne krokodilu! is:

    Ne krokodilu!

    • Speak Esperanto!

    As for whether it's true that the beginner may crocodile:

    La komencanto rajtas krokodili.

    Nu... li rajtas krokodili. Tio ne signifas ke li efektive krokodilas.


    Where does this expression come from?

    Nobody knows for sure. A plausible explanation is that someone once saw people who come to an Esperanto event to "not speak Esperanto" and compared them to a cold-blooded reptile with few redeeming social graces, and the comparison stuck.

    Another theory has to do with the rubber animals used in the old "Cseh method" classes.

    Students of Andreo Cseh. When Cseh taught Esperanto, students were only allowed to speak their native language when they were holding a wooden crocodile he always brought with him.


    Do people really use the word krokodili?

    Yes, all the time.


    What about other similar expressions like aligatori, kajmani and so on?

    No, they're not used nearly as widely, but being able to recite all the different kinds may make you popular at parties.

    I have a hard time keeping the other ones straight. Aligatori and kajmani have to do with speaking national languages that are not your native language. I forget which is which but it has to do with whether one or both speakers is native.

    Lacerti has two meanings - not really related. One has to do with speaking another planned language at an Esperanto event. If I had to guess, the second meaning has to do with speaking languages which you sort of understand because the languages are similar.

    I have not heard ne lacertu or ne aligatoru either - not in two decades of activity. Mostly these words are not used except to win trivia contests. It's possible that aligatori has found a new life in the word aligatorejo, but otherwise these are pretty rare. Certainly people don't run around telling other people not to do them. If they're used, they're used positively.

    The one specimen that I recall "in the wild" was in an entry in Pasporta Servo many years ago. This was when it was in book form and space was limited. The description read, in part:

    • La edzino kajmanas germane.

    The translation, in context, would be something like:

    • I am the only one in the house who speaks Esperanto, but my wife (in addition to being a native speaker of the local language) is a non-native speaker of German and would be willing to speak both languages with you.

    Wait, could you say that all again?

    Sure. Krokodili is defined as speaking nacilingve when Esperanto would be more appropriate. It doesn't matter if it's your native language. If someone is speaking non-native Spanish when they should be speaking Esperanto -- that absolutely would be described as krokodili.

    Now, some people over the years has come up with different subsets of krokodili (often generalized to reptilumi - another unnecessary word), but being able to recite the distinctions is more of a party trick than anything else. In practice, nobody slices it so thin - and in practice, the only one you need to know is krokodili.

    By the way, the meanings have been sliced so thin that there are even more meanings than reptiles to assign to them (e.g. lacerti has two unrelated meaning.)

    Personally, in my own usage, I only ever say krokodili and occasionally kajmani. I wouldn't be able to recall what aligatori means, except for the occasional tradition of the aligatorejo - and while I've read the distinction between kajmani and aligatori, I don't think it's important enough to worry about.

    I really never say aligatori but I do say kajmani. The difference between the two is that with aligatori there's at least one native speaker speaking or listening in.


    What about aligatorejo?

    I do think aligatorejo is a useful term - since it implies a place where you can "bend the rules" and find a native speaker to practice with, but aligatori as its own verb isn't really useful -- it just means krokodili.

    By the way, the reason I say kajmani is that it clearly indicates that the speaker is not a native speaker, as explained in my example above.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexVaughnMiller

    I went through this exercise over and over before finally getting the wording just right enough to be accepted. "Would be more appropriate" feels more natural than "is more appropriate".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jorge.R.Nogueras

    Yeah, I had a lot of issues trying to word this one just right, too.

    By the way, are you using the "Report a problem" button to report things like these, though? I'm not sure how quickly the course creators would get to issues reported in the forums --if they check them at all! :-)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlexVaughnMiller

    Yeah I did that as well. Since the Esperanto culture section has so many esoteric concepts, I wanted to discuss them on the forum as well to see if my suggestions are as accurate as I think they are.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jorge.R.Nogueras

    I certainly agree with you: in fact, I believe I, too, submitted a report precisely suggesting "would be more appropriate," ha ha. Great minds think alike, hopefully? ;-)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SquirlRat

    I reported this too and got this e-mail back in March:

    "You suggested “Do not speak your native language when Esperanto would be more appropriate.” as a translation for “Ne krokodilu!” We now accept this translation. :)"

    However, now the above answer seems to have been removed as an accepted translation :/

    "The beginner is allowed to speak his native language when Esperanto would be more appropriate." is still accepted as an answer for "La komencanto rajtas krokodili." though.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SciuroRato

    "Do not speak your native language when Esperanto would be more appropriate" is now accepted again :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RadioAngel_

    "Don't crocodile" or "No crocodile" should work too.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

    'No crocodile' would probably be 'Ne krokodilo', which has a more literal meaning. 'No crocodiling' should be good, though.


    [deactivated user]

      There doesn't seem one correct way in English of translating this Esperanto idiom. It seems pot luck whether an answer is accepted.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamScott794079

      In English, this is quite an ironic statement, because do not speak your... Is so inefficient as apposed to ne krokudilu.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dalingo8

      I have put only half of the sentence "Do not speak your native language." - but it was accepted. So that other part of sentence "when Esperanto is more appropriate" - is it not necessary, or is it understood even if you don't say it?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

      This is an unnecessarily lengthy translation anyway, nobody's going to hear 'Ne krokodilu' and think 'Oh, that means "Do not speak your native language when Esperanto is more appropriate"'. They're just going to understand it as 'Ne krokodilu' as is or as 'Don't crocodile', so it doesn't really matter how you translate it as long as you have the idea in Esperanto-culture down.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

      When you really understand a language, you don't translate in your head. You just understand.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Setsuko670458

      Wouldn't "Do not speak your native language when Esperanto is more appropriate!" be "Ne parolu vian gepatran lingvon kiam Esperanto estas pli taŭga!"?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keniko1

      It's slang. But i believe your literal translation is correct.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerbaltic

      Vi nur anstatauxigu "gepatran" per "denaskan" kaj jes, estus la lauxvorta signifo.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

      I would say "denaska lingvo" and "gepatra lingvo" are basically interchangeable - but note that the actual definition of krokodili has to do with speaking nacilingve - and is not limited to one's native or mother tongue.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      the actual definition of krokodili

      I thought you were more of a descriptivist than that :)


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

      I meant "the actual meaning... as used by actual speakers, and as documented in PIV."


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ajfalcaoBR

      I never understood. is this some kind of pun?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DuolityOfMan

      Does it have to be your native language to be considered crocodiling? I find that when I can't say something in Esperanto, I tend to switch to my non-native Spanish.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      Does it have to be your native language to be considered crocodiling?

      In general, yes.

      I find that when I can't say something in Esperanto, I tend to switch to my non-native Spanish.

      That's aligatori.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

      I see it differently. Krokodili is defined as speaking nacilingve when Esperanto would be more appropriate. It doesn't matter if it's your native language. If someone is speaking non-native Spanish when they should be speaking Esperanto -- that absolutely would be described as krokodili.

      Now, some people over the years has come up with different subsets of krokodili (often generalized to reptilumi - another unnecessary word), but being able to recite the distinctions is more of a party trick than anything else. In practice, nobody slices it so thin - and in practice, the only one you need to know is krokodili.

      By the way, the meanings have been sliced so thin that there are even more meanings than reptiles to assign to them (e.g. lacerti has two unrelated meaning.)

      Personally, in my own usage, I only ever say krokodili and occasionally kajmani. I wouldn't be able to recall what aligatori means, except for the occasional tradition of the aligatorejo - and while I've read the distinction between kajmani and aligatori, I don't think it's important enough to worry about.


      P.S. To anybody who cares to reply to this message and explain the details of meaning that I've left out, I want to be clear that I left them out on purpose because I don't think they're important.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/proedie

      I'm very much interested in the different forms of reptilumi. Sure, it's only a party trick, but I think it's fun. Do you know of an English list?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

      There is no one definitive list; as salivanto said, different people disagree on how many verbs there are and what exactly they mean.

      That said, https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krokodili has two lists (in Esperanto).


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/proedie

      Thank you. That is very interesting. If I understand this correctly the words depend less on the intention of the speaker than I thought.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/proedie

      I don't think so. In my understanding aligatori means to speak another language for the sake of speaking that other foreign language you speak. To improve your Chinese with some native Mandarin speakers at an Esperanto gathering for example.

      I don't know if there is a special word for ‘speaking a language other than Esperanto or your own for the sake of making yourself understood’.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

      Later you said:

      If I understand this correctly the words depend less on the intention of the speaker than I thought.

      I think your later analysis is correct. Intention doesn't really factor in. I see I've written a bit about this topic in this thread and in another and I want to see if I can compile everything into one coherent comment, but briefly, I really never say aligatori but I do say kajmani. The difference between the two is that with aligatori there's at least one native speaker speaking or listening in.

      I do think aligatorejo is a useful term - since it implies a place where you can "bend the rules" and find a native speaker to practice with, but aligatori as its own verb isn't really useful -- it just means krokodili.

      By the way, the reason I say kajmani is that it clearly indicates that the speaker is not a native speaker. I'll include a specific example in my main post.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesDanielChr

      In English the terms "native language" & "native tongue" are equivalent, but not recognized by the checking algorithm. Annoying.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jorge.R.Nogueras

      Unfortunately there is no "checking algorithm": just translations entered by hand. If you think a correct translation is missing, you should use the "Report a problem" button to suggest it.


      [deactivated user]

        I agree, but it is not possible to suggest alternatives now using the report button. The only thing you can do is to tick the "My answer should be accepted" box.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

        I clicked that box A LOT while testing out this lesson.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jorge.R.Nogueras

        As far as I know, that IS the way to propose alternative answers, so yes, please do that.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidAlanJ

        this was a copy and paste job


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tribela

        What happened with crocodile, and is this really used in real?


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

        1 - Nobody knows.

        2 - Yes.

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