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How can I be modest in Esperanto?

Ok so, here's my problem you smart people you. I've finished the tree but I'm still lacking this phrase. I either missed it, it isn't there or I'm looking at this from a distinctly english perspective and the obvious answer is staring me in the face but sounds weird to say in english.

I know how to say that I'm good at something. I know how to say I'm bad at something. I know how to say I'm a beginner and an expert. But how do you say "Yeah I'm OK at that" in Esperanto? (Jes, mi estas boneta en blah?)

Google Translate is failing me as it just keeps saying "Bone" for "OK", "Alright", "Decent", "Not bad" etc. but then that's just saying it's good. Do I need to say boneta (Little good?)? Is there a better word to use there? Saying "I'm a little good" (Good-ish?) still sounds a little braggy in english.

How would you say "I'm a novice" in esperanto in casual conversation?

April 26, 2018



"Mi estas iom bona en XY" aŭ "Mi sufiĉe regas XYon" estas kutimaj frazoj en Esperanto. Precizajn tradukojn de tio mi ne povas doni, ĉar mi ne kapablas esprimi nuancojn en la angla.


Mi komprenas kion vi sugestas, kaj ĝi funkcias iom (dankon) kvankam ĝi ankoraŭ sonas al mi stranga. Mi ne certas kial. Mi ne rajtas traduki ĝin ĝuste en mia kapo.

Mi bezonos kutimi uzi vortojn malsame kaj ne aldoni kulturan antaŭjuĝon.


"Mi sufiĉe (pli-malpli, iom, iomete) kompetentas pri XY".


I too am interested in this. Being able to express degrees of confidence and humility is really key for so many languages. This is the first time I've run across this question for Esperanto. So, thanks for asking! ^_^


Ah see, I didn't even think of using mez as a "Middle good". That's interesting


So, I would still say, mi estas komencanto, ( I am a beginner) or even mi estas nur komencanto (I am only a beginner) mi parolas esperanton iomete, ( i speak esperanto a bit), or if you want to be more than a beginner but less than an expert mi estas progresanto ( I am somone who is progressing, still learning, not expert) Those are the usual phrases I have actually heard.

I suppose you could say mi parolas esperanton suficxe bone ( i speak esperanto well enough) Or at a push mi parolas esperanton ne malbone. But I don't recall having heard the latter actually said and it seems a bit convoluted and counter to esperanto's tendancy to say what you mean and not look for idioms or round-about ways to express things.

Beware the desire for word for word translations or transliterations, they often don't work and what one culture views as modest another culture might take literally.


Jes: mi parolas esperanton sufiĉe bone


Or at a push mi parolas esperanton ne malbone. But I don't recall having heard the latter actually said and it seems a bit convoluted and counter to esperanto's tendancy to say what you mean and not look for idioms or round-about ways to express things.

In my experience, "ne malbona", "ne malbone" etc. are common ways to express the nuance "actually somewhat good, but not necessarily good enough to be called 'good'" — essentially the same as can be expressed in English with "not bad".

It's used in Esperanto literature, too. (The more general form "ne mal<some adverb or ajective>" off course even more often.)


The more hierarchical a society or culture, it seems (at a casual glance from me) to have more attention to politeness in it's linguistic forms. So, that's part of why im curious about Esperanto. It is used by people from all over the world.


I like Esperanto, don’t get me wrong, but I am so far at bonvolu and danko for words that are polite. I just don’t know if it is diverse enough to cover the entire world, since it was designed from a European perspective. I, too, cannot wait to hear what Esperanto can do.


I dont feel that a single language could necessarily have much of a capacity for diversity, tajen in comparison of just how much diversity in the world exists. It's why im adamantly opposed to the idea of a universal language. Other languages get squeased out under the pressure of the larger commerce languages we have already. Those languages are not adequate to express, affirm, and value the perspectives of so many people. We lose huge amounts of problem solving capacity with the death of languages and the assimilation/washing of cultures.


I understand that sentiment, however I give Esperanto a pass here. It isn't like French or English where they just want to be the one and only language. Esperanto was never made to be a universal language, it was always a Universal Second Language. One where everyone keeps their 'mother tongues' and the cultures that are involved there but still have a way of communicating across borders. That way nobody gets special treatment (Like how many english speakers these days think everyone should just learn their language so they don't have to learn anyone else's)


There are people however who have given up other languages to use Esperanto as their only language. They are raising their children in this language as a first language and hope that those children will learn other languages more easily because of it.

I am sure it is not as isolating as the child who was raised speaking Klingon, but who abandoned Klingon when he became older for the language that was being spoken by the other people around him.

The language that everyone should learn is sign language, except it isn’t actually universal either. So we have to learn the version that is in our area. We can’t just tell deaf people to learn our language!

Now that doesn’t mean that Esperanto is not useful. I am going to learn it. It just feels a bit more rudimentary for having to fit so many different cultures. I would rather speak to someone in their native tongue when I can, but there is probably just so many that I can learn.


Isn't a novice and a beginner the same thing? "Me estas komencanto." or : :: :"Me estas novulo." I guess there is a difference. I would rather say "I am new at this." in English.

I am a little good at this. "Mi iomete bonas pri tio."

I do feel that Esperanto doesn't have as many nuances as we do in other languages. It does seem to often be black and white. Bona aŭ malbona!
I miss all my varying shades of gray.

"I will try, but I am still learning." "Mi provos, sed mi ankoraŭ lernas."


Komencanto = Beginner

Novulo = 'New guy'

Novico = Novice

Can you give an example of a 'shade of gray' that you can't express in Esperanto?


I think it feels different because english has so many superfluous words. Like how would you say Big, Large, Grand, Huge, Giant, Ginormous, Titanic, Elephantine, Herculean, Gargantuan etc.?

We have all those shades for what boils down to as "Granda... Grandega... Grandegaga (Final fantasy joke)


ampleksa, behemota, cxielskrapa, cxioma, ega, epopea, giganta, grandioza, kolosa . . .



I think that with any language since I am so much better at my own, I feel that I don’t have the tools to really write in the new language. The dictionaries are growing for Esperanto and there is a large community from which to ask questions about the language, so I am sure this will improve. The Esperanto course is just not as long as some of the other courses and we could use the extra vocabulary. Thank you for your kindness.

I probably need to spend more time reading the Esperanto Wikipedia. I haven’t even finished the Esperanto tree yet.

(I had a different account before, so this account does not really reflect what I have already learned.)

Maybe Esperanto is not quite the right language for me. If I create a word, I am always wondering if I have it backwards. Perhaps they use the opposite term and this should be the opposite term with “mal-“ in front of it. I just need to write with a dictionary for now.

How would you say “Would you be so kind as to help me find this place, as I feel a little bit lost and I am unsure how to get there from here?” then “I really appreciate your kindness, thank you for your time and effort.”

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