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  5. "Ili trovis ŝin kulpa."

"Ili trovis ŝin kulpa."

Translation:They found her guilty.

June 1, 2015



'Trovi iun kulpa' sounds particularly English to me. Is this really how Esperantists worldwide would put it?


It's totally acceptable but one might say "Ili juĝis ŝin kulpa" or "Ili konstatis/konfirmis ŝian kulpon" or "Ili konkludis ke ŝi estas kulpa".


Trovi does have quite a broad meaning in Esperanto, see the 7th meaning here http://vortaro.net/#trovi


I would say it's Eurocentric, since, as far as I know, the word "to find" is used in the same way in German and French.


Not in French. We would say Ils la déclarèrent coupable. Literally, "They declared her guilty".


That would make more sense.


In Dutch it would mean that in their opinion she is guilty which is a bit different.


Not according to the 3 dictionaries I own. Decidi, jugxi, kaj determini are the ones I find. Even malkovri makes more sense, in the sense of discovering her guilt.


Uh oh, what did Sofia do now?


She stole my wheelchair.


She stole money from the queen.


malpura Sofia! mi ne sciis


I don't quite understand the sentence structure here, what exactly is kulpa attached to? Is this short for something like 'ili trovis ke ŝi estas kulpa' or 'ili trovis ŝin esti kulpa'?


You are correct that it is short for 'ili trovis ŝin esti kulpa', which explains why 'kulpa' doesn't take the accusative. The same as in "Mi opinias lin (esti) bona". I believe there's an example of this in PMEG (la Plena Manlibro de Esperanta Gramatiko) but I'm not finding it at the moment.


I was really confused about that too, thanks for explaining it.


Thanks! Is the other sentence, 'ili trovis ke ŝi estas kulpa', legal? Trovi needs a direct object, can 'ke + clause' be counted as one?


Remember that not all transitive verbs need a direct object, even if they can take one. Like "mi kantas" (I sing/I am singing) is a complete sentence, but "mi kantas melodion" (I sing a melody/I am singing a melody) is more explicit. But you are right that "trovi" doesn't make much sense without one. If you just say "mi trovas" it sounds like an incomplete thought. So, yes, a subclause is a fine replacement. So, yes, "Ili trovis ke ŝi estas kulpa" is completely valid. If you feel weird leaving off the object it's also valid to say "Ili trovis tion, ke ŝi estas kulpa."


So, you could say Ili trovis ŝin kulpi. then?


I think the verb "trovi" just works that way. It's the same in English, where the sentence is not "They found that she was guilty" or "They found her to be guilty", but just "They found her guilty".


But then, that's quite idiomatic. I don't know that any other language than English puts it that way. But then, I don't know most languages sufficiently well, of course...


Dutch also can do this. "Ze vonden haar schuldig", or "Hij vond hem interessant", etc. I don't think it's very rare or unusual, just a verb that takes multiple complements and links them together semantically in a certain way.


But in English it has a different meaning! 'To find someone guilty' is to establish someone's guilt, and I strongly suspect that's what Duolingo is talking about. 'Schuldig vinden' etc merely means 'be of the opinion that someone is to blame for something'.


Whoops, you're right, fair point. I should have used "bevinden" ("iemand schuldig bevinden"). It doesn't work in the more general case of "*Hij bevond hem interessant" that I attempted before, so it fits this particular English usage of "find".


Can I say kulpi meaning blame?


Kulpa = guilty

Kulpi = to be guilty

Kulpigi = to blame (kulp + -ig- + i)


"kulpi" = to be guilty

"klulpigi iun/ion" = to blame someone/something


That's a strange one... I would have thought "kulpigi" would be "to make someone guilty". But I guess in this case it makes sense to not be entirely regular in that regard. "Blame" is just a much more common thing to say.


kulpigi is still logical, if you think of -ig- as just adding a direct object. Then kulpi is "to be guilty", and kulpigi is "to assign someone to be guilty", which in short is "to blame".


Hmm... that gets us into a deep philosophical question. Is guilt inherent or societal? There is a case for both, though Zamenhof must have sided with the latter definition, since it is only with that definition of "guilty" that "kulpigi" can mean "to blame".


Shouldn't "kulpa" end in "n"? (To me, the sentence looks more correct as "Ili trovis ŝin kulpan.")

After all, "kulpa" is modifying "ŝin" and so needs the "n" to signify that.


Good eye, but this is a slightly different use than you're used to seeing. We've discussed it a bit in the above comments, but I found an example in PMEG (http://bertilow.com/pmeg/gramatiko/specialaj_priskriboj/perverba/objekto.html).

Contrast these two sentences:

  • Vi farbas la domon ruĝan. (= Vi farbas la ruĝan domon.)
  • Vi farbas la domon ruĝa. = Vi farbas la domon tiel, ke ĝi fariĝas ruĝa.

In the first example, both the noun and the adjective get the accusative as you're used to. You're painting the red house; before you started painting it, the house was red (although it's not stated whether it will remain so after the painting).

In the second example, you're painting the house red; you're making the house red with paint (though it's not stated what color it was beforehand).


That makes sense, thanks!

Your response got me thinking more about it, and I think I can add a little more clarification. Consider the English sentences:

  • We painted the red door.
  • We painted the door green.
  • We painted the red door green.

When translating to Esperanto, if you were to use the words "ruĝan" and "verdan" for "red" and "green" respectively, how would you know which was the old color and which was the new color?

In English, we know which is which because of the word order. (That is, the old color comes before the noun; the new color comes after.) But given Esperanto's freer word order, we can't depend on word order itself, so we have to mark one color with "-n", and leave the other unmarked:

  • Ni farbis la ruĝan pordon. (We painted the red door.)
  • Ni farbis la pordon verda. (We painted the door green.)
  • Ni farbis la ruĝan pordon verda. (We painted the red door green.)

Using both "ruĝan" and "verdan" in this last case would make the sentence "We painted the red green door" which is not what we want, and is also confusing.

This distinction is important when we use the verb "to name":

  • Esperanto: Ni nomis nian bebon Bela.
  • English: We named our baby Bella.

The name is the baby is not "Bela." Adding an "n" to "Bela" creates an adjective out of what's supposed to be a noun:

  • Esperanto: Ni nomis nian bebon belan.
  • English: We named our beautiful baby.

"Voki" ("to call") also works the same way:

  • Esperanto: Mi vokis la knabon feliĉan.
  • English: I called the happy boy.
  • Another English translation: I called the lucky boy.

Compare to:

  • Esperanto: Mi vokis la knabon feliĉa.
  • English: I called the boy happy.
  • Another English translation: I called the boy lucky.

So, back to the original sentence "Ili trovis ŝin kulpa." Let's modify it slightly to "Ili trovis la virinon kulpa" ("They found the woman guilty"). As is, it reads like this:

  • Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpa.
  • English: They found the woman (to be) guilty.

But add an "n" to "kulpa," and the meaning changes:

  • Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpan.
  • English: They found the guilty woman.

For that matter, you could change "kulpa" to "kulpe." Now we get a different meaning:

  • Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpe.
  • English: They guiltily found the woman.

We can even use all three forms in one sentence:

  • Esperanto: Ili trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa kulpe.
  • English: They guiltily found the guilty woman (to be) guilty.

(Can you see which form of "kulpa" corresponds to which form of "guilty"?)

Thanks again, traevoli. Your response was very helpful.


Yes, all of this is sound. However, in your final example, it would be better if the adverb preceded the verb, so your example sentence "Ili trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa kulpe," would be better as "Ili kulpe trovis la virinon kulpan kulpa." For emphasis, it might be even better as "Ili kulpe trovis la kulpan virinon kulpa."


Wow, this is amazing. It really clarified the matter for me. Dankon!


Kulpa is like culpable in English, which means deserving blame or in its older definition: guilty.


From Oxford Dictionary of English:

culpable |ˈkʌlpəb(ə)l| ... ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense ‘deserving punishment’): from Old French coupable, culpable, from Latin culpabilis, from culpare ‘to blame’, from culpa ‘fault, blame’.


Well, now we know who stole the wheelchair. I really thought it was Adamo, but Sofia was pretty suspicious.


Does "Ili trovis ŝin esti kulpa" also work?


Yep! Discussions above go into this in more depth.


Would something like "Ili trovis sxian kulpon" mean approximately the same thing?


That means "They found her fault," which is different.

"Ili trovis ŝin kulpa" is roughly the same as "Ili trovis, ke ŝi estas kulpa."


I continue distinctly to hear 'trogas', not 'trovis' in this sentence, over & over, so when I type what I hear it always registers wrong!


I'm not sure if you are hearing a different audio or one of us is hearing something very wrongly, but it seems quite clearly trovis to me. Do you get the same male voice as always?


Thank you for the reply.
I did listen very closely & carefully, many times, but it always sounded the same. That is why I began to report it. And it was always the same male voice as I have/had been hearing all along.
It possibly could have something to do with the voice being sampled into a computer program that generates the pronunciation elements & assembles them into sentences.
I hope that Duolingo will look into this and try to correct the problem since this is not the only occasion I have encountered mispronunciations during the lessons. And in case this might be somehow related to my computer, I'm using a Mabook Pro with Mavericks plus Safari. Cheers!


That is so strange. My GPS assembles words from phonemes (which often garbles them), and most of the courses on Duolingo produce audio with text-to-speech (which is anything but perfect). But this particular course (and the Esperanto course for Spanish speakers) was recorded by a human who speaks the language fluently and with a neutral accent. So I'm at a lost to explain why it's not coming through correctly on your end.


I agree, it's very strange. As you say, this was a human voice recording the sentences directly, and the pronunciation is always spot on as far as I can tell, this phrase being no exception on my end. I have no idea how the problem described by epicatt2 could have come about.


This has been a thoughtful debate, and significant because the final say in Esperanto belongs to the Esperantists. I wanted "Ili trovis sxin kulpan." I didn't prevail, but I did have my say.


Mea culpa, mea culpa!


Sounds very English. Shouldn't it be something more like "They discovered/proved her to be guilty?"

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