"Ŝi ofte telefonas al miaj gepatroj."

Translation:She often calls my parents.

May 31, 2015

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Who does, your teacher?


Or the first dinner with his parents went a little too well.


Can I say: Sxi ofte telefonas miajn gepatrojn...? In accusative case...


Is there a difference in meaning between using accusative and "al"?


Not really. According to PIV telefoni is transitive. In the example used there the direct object is that which is communicated via telephone. However, when this direct object is omitted, you can usually just put the indirect object in the accusative case (just like with instrui: “Mi instruas Esperanton al vi”; “Mi instruas vin”). So you can say “Mi telefonas novaĵon al miaj gepatroj”, and “Mi telefonas miajn gepatrojn”. Here it should be clear from the context (just like with instrui) that you're not sending your parents via phone, but rather that you are phoning them.


yeah, look up "indirect object


Although it'll probably show up later in the course, I just want to ask: is there a version of "to call" that isn't implied to be over the telephone? Like if I wanted to say "Call me Lupo" when introducing myself to someone.

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"nomi" is to name something, although I think your sentence is far more commonly "Mia nomo estas Lupo" or the shorter "Mi estas Lupo." I suppose you could say "Nomu min Lupo" — the imperative form. (Dankon, Joffysloffy!)

There are a few related verbs:

  • "voki" is "to call" as in "Mi vokas la knabon, kaj li venas" — "I call the boy, and he comes"
  • "alvoki" is "to call upon" or "to summon" as in "Ni alvokas vin meti flanken viajn diferencojn" — "We call on you to put aside your differences"
  • Also "elvoki," "kunvoki," "provoki," etc, all derived from the Latin "vocare"


Very helpful! Thanks! Shouldn't it be “Nomu min Lupo?” (Also, why is that actually correct? Isn't Lupo the indirect object to ‘nomu’, hence there should be some preposition before that, as not both the direct and indirect object can be in the accusative case simultaneously, while they both do need one without a preposition. E.g., you can say: “Mi instruas vin pri Esperanto.” or “Mi instruas al vi Esperanton.”, but not “Mi instruas vin Esperanton.”. Shouldn't it be something like “Nomu al mi Lupon.” or “Nomu min je Lupo.”?)


I think that Lupo should be the object and mi the indirect object, as the structure of the sentence seems similar to e.g. "Send me a letter," but I'm not sure. Also, I think that the preposition je is always optional; Rule 14 of the Fundamento states "Instead of je, the objective without a preposition may be used, when no confusion is to be feared." I think "objective" here means "accusative," though, so this would present more trouble...


I figured it out! Apparently there are transitive copulas and ‘nomi’ is one of them. Verbs like ‘esti’, ‘fariĝi’ and ‘nomiĝi’ are copulas, i.e., ‘connecting verbs’. Thus you say “Mi fariĝis gardisto.” (= “I became a guard”), note the lack of the accusative case in ‘gardisto’. Back to the sentence in question. In this particular case, ‘nomi’ is both transitive (i.e., it takes a direct object) and a copula (thus it connects things, but now it connects the object, not the subject as in aforementioned copulas, to something). Thus you'd say: “Mi nomas vin Lupo”, where ‘nomas’ connects ‘vin’ and ‘Lupo’, while ‘fariĝi’ connected ‘gardo’ and ‘mi’, the subject.

Another example of a transitive copula is ‘opinii’. For instance: “Mi opinias ŝin bela.” In English you do the same: “I find her pretty.”; ‘find’ connects ‘her’, the object, and ‘pretty’.


Very interesting about the transitive copula. That's something I didn't know about and now get to look into. Perhaps you can help me analyse the English, though.

When I say "Call me Lupo", there's an imperative in the form of "Call", a direct object in the form of "me" and a proper noun that modifies and adds extra information in the form of "Lupo".

Apparently, in English, this is an example of a short noun phrase in apposition to a pronoun used as the head of the phrase. The "noun phrase" in question happens to consist of just one word, a proper noun as the appositive.

It's basically the same as "My sister, Ashley, just recently graduated high school" where the proper noun Ashley is in apposition to "my sister". The difference is that Ashley is non-restrictive in this case while Lupo was restrictive.

So, now my question is, is there anything in Esperanto equivalent to appositive phrases? And if there is, how would the cases be handled in that situation? Both nominative? Both Accusative? I'm leaning toward the latter.


@draquila you're welcome :)!

@LupoMikti I honestly don't know the answer to your question I'm afraid (I'm not a linguist or anything!). Here is a huge wikipedia article on apposition in Esperanto: https://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apozicio and I'm sure your answer is in there somewhere :p. I would reckon that appositioned clauses, that are not connected by a copula, would be in the same case. So, I am thinking the following is correct: “Hieraŭ mi vidis mian amikon, Petron”, “Mi lernas Esperanton, la internacian lingvon, per Duolingo.” (I skimmed the wikipedia article and it seems like they use it like this.)


Thanks for the info, I guess I never really thought about what a copula is.


How about She often telephones to my parents.


"She often telephones my parents." works, but not with the "to".


Would "al" then be necessary to use alongside "telefonas"?


Yes, you can say “Ŝi ofte telefonas miajn gepatrojn.” Note that you then need the accusative case, as ‘telefoni’ is a transitive verb.


Wait why does that make the accusative necessary?


Because by omitting the preposition it has become ambiguous what the object is, so you need to denote the object by using the accusative case. If I had added the -n to ‘ŝi’, my parents would be calling her:
Ŝin ofte telefonas miaj gepatroj. = My parents often call her.
Ŝi ofte telefonas miajn gepatrojn. = She often calls my parents.


This is what I put and it was accepted. Perhaps not the most natural English sentence, though.


Wjat does the "as" suffix mean?

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It's the present-tense verb form.
-i: infinitive dormi "to sleep"
-is: past tense dormis "slept"
-as: present tense dormas "sleep/sleeping"
-os: future tense dormos "will sleep"
-us: conditional dormus "would/were to sleep"
-u: imperative dormu "sleep!"


I entered "Ŝi ofte telefonas miajn gepatrojn" and it was marked wrong. There was no option to report that I thought my answer was correct.


Scratch that - I just realized that it was a listening exercise and I entered miajn gepatrojn instead of what he said al miaj gepatroj


Kiam oni skribas "[verbo] [substantivo (noun)]," kaj kiam oni skribas "[verbo] al [substantivo]"?

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I eat cake = Mi manĝas kukon

"kukon" is clearly the direct object of "manĝas". "Eat" is a prototypical, unambiguously transitive verb.

I call my grandparents ~ I call to my grandparents = Mi telefonas al miaj geavoj

In English we can argue for the framework of "grandparents" being the recipients of the action "call" (and whether they are or not, it can be perceived that way), but in Esperanto it's framed as more indirect. In English, whether we include a preposition with the indirect object depends on the greater syntax of the sentence:

I gave him the ball.
I gave the ball to him.

In Esperanto, the preposition is mandatory regardless of syntax:

Mi donis al li la pilkon.
Mi donis la pilkon al li.


grandparents = geavoj

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Oops. Thanks.


She often calls to my parents.???


The ‘al’ in Esperanto does not literally translate to ‘to’ in English, neither vice versa.

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In English, calling someone and calling to someone don't quite mean the same thing, and calling to someone tends to involve telephones much less than just calling someone does.

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