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Question about viro, knabo and infano.

Hi guys,

I started learning Esperanto a few months ago on lernu. I've done one beginner's course on there, so I'm very much a komencato. I just have some questions about how viro, knabo and infano are used in Duo Esperanto. I learned that viro meant "a male", usually adult, but could apply to both men and boys. And virino meant "a female", usually an adult woman, but could also be applied to a girl. And viroj could refer to a group of people, of any gender and age. Here on Duo viro always means (adult) man and virino always means (adult) woman.

I also learned that "knabo" was the word for boy (or a child of non-specific gender), "knabino" for girl, and "geknaboj" for a group of children of both genders. I thought that "infano" was the word for an infant or young child, not a child in general.

Did I get this wrong? Is viro only ever applied to adult men, and virino only ever applied to adult women? Is infano actually applied to a child of any age? Or are these just minor differences between the two courses?

May 30, 2015



Viro means adult man, virino means adult woman, infano means child (of any age, and it doesn't matter if it is a girl or a boy. To call a female child infanino or a male child virinfano would be very uncommon, so it would be better to use "knabino" or "knabo" instead), knabo means boy, knabino means girl. If you want to express female you can use ino/ina, but this is not reserved to humans only.


First off, "geviroj" would be a better translation for a group of people, of any gender and age. Second off, drawing the line between "infano" and "knabo" is a bit hard and depends on the speaker, but "infano" is usually reserved for very young children such as babies, which is why you usually don't see the feminine "-in" suffix in "infano" because we tend to disregard the gender of babies since males and females look quite alike when young. To finish stuff off, your other knowledge gained from the Duolingo course is more correct than from the other course. Bonŝancon kaj ĝis respondo!


Sorry, but I partly disagree: geviroj would exclude everyone who is not an adult. And infano can be a girl or a boy, knabo is always a boy.


Laŭ Baza Esperanta Gramatiko:

  • viro: homo (aŭ besto) kiu ne povas naski, sed kiu necesas por generi (naskigi) idon - (human [or animal] who can not give birth, but which is necessary to be able to birth offspring)
  • knabo: juna viro - (young man)
  • infano: juna homo; ido de homo (aŭ besto); filo aŭ filino - (young human; offspring of a human [or animal]; son or daughter)


I prefer vortaro.net (online PIV) as a source for meanings of words. In this case there is unfortunately a contradiction between different sources


Vortaro.net is good but I hate having to log in to it and have another tab open on my browser. So, I usually use EO-EO at Lernu or Baza Esperanta Gramatiko published by UEA. Lernu and BEG tend to agree on most of the words I double check on.


In my opinion (or experience, when doublechecking with ReVo and vortaro.net) the lernu-vortaro is the least trustworthy. ReVo in this case is somewhere in between of vortaro.net and lernu/BEG


I've asked somewhere else and it seems that there is not just one right definition for these words. It depends a lot of the speakers's background (language, country, culture, etc.). So I still recommend www.reta-vortaro.de (for beginners) and www.vortaro.net (for advanced learners), but one should be aware that in international communication there can still occur misunderstandings (although in most cases the context will probably help).

And we should not forget the "Fundamento de Esperanto": http://www.steloj.de/esperanto/fundamento/


Thank you so much Sunjo. The links you've provided are really helpful. And it's good to be reminded that there are variations in usage even in a constructed language like Esperanto.


Thanks for the replies everyone! It's still a little bit confusing, but I think I understand it better :)


Agree that "infano" is a child of any age. Even an adult child in relation to their parent (even a 60-year-old is still the child of their 80-year-old parent).

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