1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Esperanto
  4. >
  5. "La du gepatroj estas la patr…

"La du gepatroj estas la patro kaj la patrino."

Translation:The two parents are the father and the mother.

May 28, 2015



Ge- implies both genders. So, if they are two, they must be a man and a woman.


It implies them inclusively, not exclusively. Gepatro for instance means any and all parents regardless of gender, or simply parents. It does not mean "mother and father".


Sorry Stephie, but this time you're wrong - ge means both sexes together. Otherwise it wouldn't be needed. It's a little confusing for native English speakers, because in English, besides a few exceptions, there are no distinction between sexes.

E.g. when you say dentist, your don't know is it a male or a female. Or when you refer to a gardener - you can't know is it a male or a female. Doctor, teacher, thief... the list is endless. Luckily Esperanto has that distinction, so we better use it properly, that way it's easier for everybody.


You are right.

Unfortunately, the Advent of the Duolingo course has increased this confusion.

Specifically, they translate "gepatroj" into "parents". It's not really correct, but it does make learners think that gepatroj means "parents".

Esperanto indeed has no word for "parents". It only has "mothers", "father", and "mother(s) and father(s)".

This confusion has also lead to some people using a singular form of gepatro (which isn't a correct word, implying a singular individual consisting of both male and female gender), which confuses other speakers who did not learn this false equivilance.


Hey Stephie, gepatro doesn't mean anything, because ge- is not a prefix in Esperanto, but rather a circumfix ge⟩...⟨j (which simply means it attaches to both ends of words). Once attached, it implies that you are talking about a group of its word, which contains at least one subject of either gender.


Jes, ne cxiam :) La gepatroj de mia infano estas lia patrino kaj lia patrino


Vi estas du patrinoj, ne du gepatroj.


I find it so strange that the "opposite" of father, patro is patrino. I know that's the style of the language, to cut down on unnecessary words but I feel like matro would come much more easily for mother! Just a thought.


This has occurred in some splinter groups of Esperanto, but since it is so laborious to then overhaul the rest of the language to have their own words for males and females, it is easier to just let it be. I personally believe in the icx/sxli movement where patro would mean one parent (gender undefined), patricxo would mean father, and patrino would mean mother, and additionally sxli (a combination of sxi and li) would mean a pronoun for a person that does not label their gender, the speaker does not know it, or it is superfluous.


I know many Esperantists are annoyed by all the calls for reform (thinking of a certain fiasco, maybe rightfully so), but Gender just isn't what it used to be in the ducking 19th century and this is the one thing that I really detest about the language.


Honestly it is irrelevant. I am trans myself and Esperanto poses no issues for me speaking or listening.

It already covers gender in the way it needs to and you can use it to speak of people without referring to gender as well.

La homo estas bela = the person is beautiful


you could also say "gxi" estas bela, like Zamenhof did.


But there is no 'official' gender neutral way to refer to family members, and there's not a uniform way that fits with the other aspects of the language to distinguish that something is male (vira is mot precise)

  • 1930

Non native English speaker here: Are there more or less gender issues in Esperanto compared to English?


I'd say it's about equal; however, there are differences.

In EO, the gender issues are largely semantics and the debates are about whether reform is necessary and what would be the best way to reform.

On the other hand, in EN, the gender issues are cultural and the debate is on whether or not two gender, no gender, and/or trans gender people exist, leading to a more hostile backlash against gender reform in the language.

However, EN is not a gendered language, so there are a lot more gender neutral words such as "parent", "spouse", and "they" that can be used to skirt around gendered terminology.

  • 1930

Interesting, so we have an example of a language that didn't influenced the culture. One of the arguments against US English as an international language is that the USA culture comes through the language. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the phenomenon has at least some limits.


Ido handles it quite a bit better, but sadly there are few speakers and fewer teachers.


Uh, im not sure if you know but many languages are like this. Also it helps cut down on words


It is kind of tricky since people see Esperanto as being able to change on a dime since it's an engineered language. It isn't supposed to evolve like other languages, that's the beauty. Just leave it be and let it be a simple language as intended.


Mensogulo ne mensogis kiam li diris ke la hodiaŭa Esperanto-parolado ne estas la sama kiel antaŭ cent jaroj. Li tute pravas! Bonvolu, se vi lin (kaj min) ne kredas, legi, ekzemple, la ĵurnalon "Le Monde Diplomatique en Esperanto". La artikoloj parolas pri ĉio, precize kaj klare, uzante vortojn kiuj, kompreneble, ne ekzistis antaŭ kelkaj jardekoj. La frazkonstruado (k.e. la esenco de Esperanto) tamen restis netuŝita. Kaj tio estas la miraklo de la Lingvo Internacia.


If it starts unnecessarily changing, there's also a risk of different "branches" drifting from each other, which would be ridicolous for a hope-to-be global language. It's not easy to get all the esperanto speakers, who are shattered on the whole world, to be informed and to accept a change, unless it's just a new word. This language is already plenty elastic and this is what should be exploited


Exactly. Esperanto was also built to be simple and easy to learn. That's why there are so many suffixes such as -ino. Its to cut down on the amount of root words


And that's why a simple new suffix like -iĉ- for masculine would solve the gender problem elegantly. Because it is simply in the spirit of the language.


Yeah, it isn't supposed to evolve like other languages because we people in Esperanto sit down together and make a conscious decision to change the language while other languages change because of humanity's continuing march of progress and change. Sure, it makes a hell of a lot of irregularities, but at least it fits to describing our time. We need to change this part of Esperanto, or be left in the dust.


Kvankam Esperanto estas artfarita lingvo, ĝi nature ŝanĝas dum la tempo (samtiel kiel aliaj lingvoj ŝanĝas). La lingvo de hodiaŭ ne estas sama kiel la lingvo unu centjaro antaŭ.


If someone identifies as ambiguous, or if the gender is unknown, "Ŝli" seems to be nearly natural. At least you'll get the point across. Though in English, "they" also works (A convict escaped. They are crossing the sea). I don't think that's acceptable in Esperanto though, if "Ili" is explicitly plural. So before getting into political issues, there doesn't seem to be a way to refer to someone who's gender is unknown. -iĉi sounds like a good idea. It sounds a bit asymmetric to me to refer to a group of boys and girls as "knaboj" and then an explicit group of girls as "knabinoj", since there's no word for an explicit group of boys. I guess you can say "La knaboj kaj knabinoj", "La knaboj" and "La knabinoj" to make it more explicit, but that sounds like work. The thing is with "Ŝli" and -iĉo" is that your just adding words, not modifying others, so it's less intrusive. But then again that might just be my English idioms crossing over to Esperanto.


The pronoun ĝi is exactly intended to refer to someone whose gender is unknown. It is not equivalent to English "it" in this application.


I'm sorry, but I am going to need to disagree with you wholeheartedly. "Ĝi" is only used in the sense of a third-person non-living thing, and does not have the additional usage of referring to a person. Sure, some people in Esperanto use it that way, but it's better to use "ŝli" for that sense.


Sorry, MailmanSpy, but you take your whishes or beliefs for reality when they are not. There is actuelly a reference in Esperanto, it is PIV (Plena Ilustrita Vortaro de Esperanto / http://vortaro.net/) regularly updated. We should never forget this reference.

In PIV, there is no mention of "ŝli". This word does not exist. On the other hand, under "ĝi", you find " *ĝi. Pronomo uzata por referenci aŭ al senseksa realaĵo aŭ al estaĵo, kies sekson oni ne bezonas precizigi: la tranĉilo tranĉas bone, ĉar ĝi estas akra; la infano ploras, ĉar ĝi volas manĝi." You get the same answer in all reference dictionaries (e.g http://www.reta-vortaro.de/revo/).

So oscarmatic is perfectly right: Ĝi is not equivalent to English "it". The pronoun ĝi is used to refer to something without gender or to someone whose gender does not need to be specified.


I don't mean to sound rude although I acknowledge that it may come across that way.

"Ŝli" is not better to use as it is not even defined. "Ĝi" on the other hand is defined to refer to beings without referring to sex. http://vortaro.net/#%C4%9Ci


Dear Tuxayo: I am not qualified to answer your question, so I won't. I will rather refer to the wise comment you posted elsewhere in this forum: "(...) About the current issue, it seems that we can just use gepatroj with a gender neutral meaning, even if ge- isn't gender neutral. It seems the most common solution to this case." I agree with you, and actually this works perfectly in Esperanto conversations.... for the plural form!

Now, if you want to use the singular, with no reference to gender, then you get into trouble in many languages. For example, if you want to talk about a teacher, (male or female), in English you are blocked. Shall you use He or She. Nowaday English opted for They, but this is far from being OK! In Esperanto, you have the same problem, but not because of Esperanto - which tells us to use "ĝi" -, but because of the foreign language speakers who "export" their gender issue into Esperanto. It seems that they simply can't see that ĝi is NOT equivalent to the simple "it" in English.

  • 1930

Sukram1947: Can we use ĝi even when we know someone's gender but it's not relevant to what we want to say? When looking at the definition I'm not sure whether such use would be tolerated.


I can't get my head around why this comment has so many downvotes.

Havu lingoto!

  • 1930

Thank you Sukran1947 for your explanations, it's more clear now.

(for some reason my question appears after your answer which makes hard following the thread)


"It sounds a bit asymmetric to me to refer to a group of boys and girls as "knaboj"" "geknaboj" is the word you want there. There is an indicator for a mixed group of gendered nouns in Esperanto: the ge- prefix. Used in this discussion's topic sentence, even.


"Ŝli" always makes me think of "he-she", so I personally wouldn't want to use it for myself or be referred to that way. I wouldn't be able to NOT think of it when I hear it. But if somehow, ŝli was made the official pronoun for a person with an unknown or nonbinary gender, I'd just accept it.


I believe there's a gender-neutral pronoun, "ri"?

  • 1930

It doesn't seem accepted enough and has few issues: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ri#Esperanto


I don't like "Patriĉo", and also why would it be a problem? Why can't you just imagine that the original form is -ino and then it transforms into -o?... I have to use "La" which is female in spanish, all the time and I don't care, it sounds beautiful


Other than gender neutrality, my opinion is also swayed by a ambiguity standpoint as well. Some words in Esperanto, such as "amiko", can be either "gender neutral-friend" or "male-friend', but without sufficient context, it can either of them. With the -icx suffix, there is no ambiguity, and "amiko" would always be translated as "gender neutral-friend"


Yes, MailmanSpy, some words in Esperanto, such as "amiko", can be either "gender neutral-friend" or "male-friend'. But BASICALLY, all words in Esperanto are "gender-free", neutral. "Amiko" is firstly a friend without any sexual connotation. "Miaj amikoj" means "my friends", not "my male friends". It's only when you want to specify, that you are going to use "amikinoj", viraj amikoj", etc.

Now, where is the problem? We should not create problems where there is none! Start speaking Esperanto, and you'll see that there is just no issue about all that. We should concentrate on learning the language instead of polluting these forums with endless personal gender problems.


Yes, singular, words in Esperanto have generally evolved to become more gender-neutral over time, but for words like "patro", you cannot apply a gender-neutral meaning, thus the "-iĉ" suffix would be useful in this case. The "-iĉ" suffix isn't about polluting esperanto with endless personal gender problems; it's an actually useful suffix that can be used when you don't know the gender of the person you're referring to or some animal. Other major languages have had neutral grammatical genders for a long time, so this isn't some SJW crusade but a easy fix to the confusing evolution and development of gender in Esperanto.



To me, whenever i see "patrino", my mind envisions "mother" not some version of she-father. What is important in the end is the meaning of the word and not its formation.

This is related to the controversy over the English word "woman" being formed from "man". which also strikes me as silly. As neither English nor Esperanto are not going to be changed easily, I suggest it is simpler in the end just to sigh and live with it.

Actually, I think the solution may be in the hands of the Esperanto speakers themselves. How? Just USE the form "matro"; it will be understood and eventually, with enough usage by enough speakers, become a part of the language by default.

It will be easier than changing the use of "woman" to something different in the English speaking world!

l know this will be an unpopular opinion, but it is the one I get to live with and I hope there may be a few who agree with me.


Actually, "woman" and "man" in English come from two separate (or maybe more like semi-separate) origins. "Man" used to be a term for the human race as a whole and has since become the term for a male person. "Woman" evolved from the word for "female person".


Thank you, it just proves has silly the man/woman controversy is. Maybe it's not widespread, but my former female minister made me aware of it. She refused to schedule any hymns that in any wany referred to men.


Oh, many people believe it to be true. It's a pretty common misconception. I've heard of some even sillier ones. Some people want to find sexism everywhere. :(


As Sphinx1824 mentioned, the word "woman" was not formed from the word "man". Rather, in older English, "man" was a neutral term, and there were two similar but separate words for each sex -- "werman" for a man, "wifman" for a woman. Over time, the prefix for a man was dropped, whereas the prefix for a woman was not, which is why the two appear the way they do today.

Incidentally, some fun facts: The word "wifman" is the root of the word "wife", and the word "werman" is the root of the word "werewolf".


So, basically. A pre-medieval/mediaval form of English did what people today wish Esperanto would do. Have "homo = human" and "homicxo = werman" and "homino = wifman". Or something similar. How humorous. x3


I am actually surprised that esperanto has sxi/li/gxi. I am Hungarian and we have one word for these 'ő', or Turkish has 'o'. I never understood the need for these.


Good remark! In fact, Zamenhof decided to keep the he/she/it (li/ŝi/ĝi) for a very simple reason: it makes all sentences using pronouns easier to understand! No need to look farther. And no need to add anything, except, maybe, that Z. was right :-)


One of the reasons people have argued for it is for better translation of other languages, especially religious texts (some people even want to add an explicit feminine plural, isxi for this reason). If gxi had remained a viable gender neutral option, then you could use it when translating a language with only one pronoun (or when the original language used a gender neutral pronoun), and he or she when specified


Actually the opposite of patro would be "malpatro"; "patrino" is just the feminine form of "patro".


Cf. catalan "padrí" "padrina" (godfather, godmother)


Yeah, You would think that the Esperanto word for "mother" would be "matro," and not "patrino," which basically means "female father."


"Virino" doesn't mean "female man" and "knabino" doesn't mean "female boy". In the same sense, "Patrino" literally means "mother". Esperanto tries to keep the number of root words to a minimum. But it is sexist in a way that male is the default. There have been calls to change that.


Perhaps if you have no knowledge of the language or linguistics.

Btw "partino" basically means mother and literally means mother. It in no way means "female father".


Perhaps, Matro (for mother) and Matrino (for father) and never Matro and Patro at the same time, but with this you would need to change all the nouns with feminine and masculine genres. If those genres exist then you need to respect the Esperanto form.


The idea of having Matro for mother and Matrino for father is the same problem but in reverse order. To have the base word assumed to be "female" and then the modified or "affixed" word male is "sexist" in the same way that some claim the current system is.


I also understand that people think Romance languages are sexist, I can see the comments about the default masculine but it's not the case for Esperanto. I know a large list of institutions and organizations that we can say they are sexist, and it's wrong. Sexism cannot exist more in the planet! But Esperanto has born against the limits and all the Esperantists defend the equality and freedom. I will always defend Esperanto! Because it's free from borders and prejudices. I hope we can learn Esperanto but more we can learn to respect all the humanity to thank his creation and all the propagandists in the world!


Yes, I know already is the same problem, but I say the system of Esperanto is not sexist and it cannot work in a different way, never I said to change the system. If I read Esperanto from my point of view of Spanish, then I can see the articles are so close to feminine articles in Spanish but this is not sexism. So, the writing system is aiming for the equality always. People that is disliking the system do not have solid arguments to say that is a sexist language.


I think the root issue is not the specific words "patro" and "patrino". The issue is that male word forms are the general default, while all female word forms are derived from the male forms using an affix. Though not quite the same thing, linguistically speaking, I would compare the impact to something like using "scientist" and "woman scientist". It demonstrates a preferential defaulting to male. How much that default matters is something we could argue over all day long, but the fact that it exists is simply that: a fact.

I'm not saying I like this as a default, because I don't, but I do understand that it was done for the sake of simplifying the language, and it is a product of its time (late 1800s). Personally, I think the simplicity of Esperanto is one of its most appealing and defining features, so I would not be in favor of fixing this issue by adding a bunch of completely novel root words to the language.

That said, I believe I could support a fix that works with the current framework of Esperanto and maintains its overall simplicity -- perhaps, for example, through the addition of an equivalent male affix. As a side effect, such a change could serve to increase clarity and decrease ambiguity, which is generally regarded as a positive outcome.


Thank you! It's been said several times, as if the pandering is supposed to be appeasing.


Maybe right at the beginning but then you get very used to the word patrino. It is not a real problem.


Guys, stop saying this is heteronormative!!! It is talking about a specific example, ok?


Well, it's 2015... so that's not always the case. :)


It didn't say it's always the case. In this one particular case, the parents are a man and a woman.


So many false cognates with Swedish ugh!


I find it interesting to read all the arguments for/against the addition of matro. Yet, no one brought up the subject of or grandparents, which both use a completely unrelated word "avo/avino". Are we also going to point out that there should be a separate or matronly word for this distinction as well? No? Then your defense seems a bit flimsy. Your whole basis for adding "matro" is because you want the cognate there. Of course, as multiple people have said, it would simply make no sense. It would have to be patro, and matrino and there is no in between. The idea isn't to make one gender lesser than the other, it is simply to identify male or female of the same type of word. Perhaps, it is simply better to think of the word as parent as it was intended. E.g. male parent, female parent. The words mother and father are simply arbitrary, if the word for male parent were foot, and female parent were hand, it would make no difference to their use in Esperanto.


I was marked wrong for saying "mother and father" not "father and mother", is this really a mistake or just because we're in beta?


Sometimes when translating it's necessary to change the order of words in a sentence so that they make sense in English (like if you need to change the order of the subject and the direct object so that the sentence is semantically clear). However, if there is no reason to change the word order, then it's best not to do it.

I don't think Duolingo was wrong to mark your answer as incorrect.


It's better to just follow the order of the sentence as closely as possible when translating, but still report it.


Oh I understand, but there are multiple ways of saying the same thing. I just wanted to know if 'mother and father' somehow takes a different meaning to 'father and mother'.

The English collocation of 'father and mother' sounds wrong (at least for me), like 'fork and knife' instead of 'knife and fork'. If it's something like this I get it.


The difference between "mother and father" and "father and mother" is cosmetic only, when you're the one forming the sentence in the first place. Neither one of them is wrong. However, when you are translating something that someone else said, you have a responsibility to be as true to the original as you can, even if a certain collocation sounds awkward.

Perhaps the person who made up the sentence is exactly the sort of person who would put "father" before "mother." (This could actually prove to be an important nuance, so you wouldn't want to miss that as a trantranslator).


This is good advice...!


Is there a separate word for dad or daddy.


Yes, it is "paĉjo", and similarly "panjo" for mom or mommy.


i put farther not father


Any advice on speaking the "tr" sound. I'm getting better at softening the r when I speak, except when there's a t in front. Then, it keeps having the same sound like in "train" or "tree"


If I have 2 moms should i say gepatrinoj?


Good question. There are a lot of comments above, talking about gender reform in Esperanto. You can read a lot about it here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_reform_in_Esperanto

To answer your question : in my opinion, no, you can't do that. The standard meaning of ge- is "of both genders". In that case, adding the feminine -in- after seems to me incompatible. This also means that you can't just say "Mi havas du gepatrojn." because according to standard Esperanto the ge- means that both masculine and feminine genders are represented, which in your case is not true (I'm not saying that's fine. It's just how it is in standard Esperanto).

The masculine -iĉ- affix is a proposal to make the masculine and feminine words symmetrical and make the language gender-balanced (the roots are not supposed masculine by default). This means that "patro" could mean "parent" all the time, since we now have "patriĉo" to mean father, which would be symmetrical with "patrino" ("mother"). In that case, you could say "Mi havas du patrojn. Ili ambaŭ estas miaj patrinoj." (I have two parents. They are both my mothers.)

The problem with that, is that if you are not certain whether the person is using "reformed" Esperanto or not, you cannot be sure what they mean. Somebody could understand "I have two fathers. They are both my mothers." and be very confused.

That is why some iĉists keep using the prefix ge- as meaning "of whatever gender" (instead of "necessarily containing both genders") and use in singular words too. That is to say, using "gepatro" as meaning "parent" and "gepatroj" as meaning parents (not necessarily of 2 different genders). This is mainly to remove ambiguity with the standard Esperanto, since the addition of -iĉ- and making the root words all neutral would fix the problem.

That means that in your case, you could be saying "Mi havas du gepatrojn. Ili ambaŭ estas miaj patrinoj." (I have two parents. They are both my mothers.)

In any case, even with the reforms, ge- with -in- would be inacceptable.

Hope this helped. :-)


Why don't you shout it louder so the people in the back can hear you better.



In "la du getpatroj" "du" is an adjective right? Why we do not say "la dua getpatroj" ?


It is an adjective, but it is the cardinal/counting format. Du = two. The "a" ending is reserved for ordinal numbers. Dua = second. On a side note, numbers in Esperanto seem to have no grammatical rule to their cardinal forms. Nul Unu Du Tri Kvar Kvin Ses Sep Ok Naux Dek


did anyone else hear this as Dougie?


Se vi legas ci tion, me esperas, ke vi havos bonan tagon.




*Gejaj Geesperantistoj unuiĝu!


Oh my god, these questions suuuuck. Why are they getting so long!

Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.