I'm wondering why "glasses" is plural in Esp? Didn't they use a singular word for English "pants" or "trousers" because logically even though we use it in the plural in English, it really is just ONE thing. Same for eyeglasses. Although it has a plural form in English, logically it is just one singular thing, and in a logical language like Esperanto, I would have expected it to have a singular form.
Hi, I was interested in your question so I looked it up in la vortaro on lernu.net. La okulvitroj is a compound word. Okulo is eye and vitro is glass. Since you have two eyes, you have two okulvitro :)
I thought la okulvitro (not plural) would be the monocle, but monocle is actually monoklo. Interestingly, according to Wikitionary, okulvitro is actually a synonym for okulvitroj (see here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/okulvitro), or more rarely, a single lens of the eyeglasses, or (as I thought) a monocle.
Thank you for the research! While I totally accept and understand the concept, I still think it would be more logical if "eyeglasses" were a singular noun (same for scissors, pliers, trousers), and if the Esperanto plural marker "j" were used only for true plurals, ie two or more countable, independent things. Glasses is just one thing. If you break it apart into the two separate glass lenses, then it's no longer a functioning eyeglasses unit, but just the broken parts of one.
That's actually reassuring. I looked at the Esp. wiki article you graciously linked, and now I feel I can justify my (rather nerdy) insistence in using okulvitro for a single unit of eyeglasses. I'm wondering if the okulvitroj form didn't filter into Esperanto due to "contamination" from English and other languages? Our native languages lead us to certain errors in our learned languages, and since (basically) no one speaks Esperanto as a sole native language, there's not a large enough corpus of speakers to "protect" the language from some degree of contamination by the many learners who speak an L1 in which "glasses" is plural. (English, Italian, German, Spanish, French to name a few.)
I don't think it's contamination. Literally it's eye + glass. Okulvitro sounds like one eyeglass, just one glass piece. Nowadays it's not really glass, but the idea is still the same. Unless your glasses are made out of one long piece of "glass" (like skiing/diving goggles), okulvitroj makes more sense to me.
It's not just plural in English [glasses]. It's plural also in French [lunettes], Spanish [anteojos / gafas], Italian [occhiali], etc. It's singular in German [Brille], but then it is plural in Danish [briller], Norwegian [briller], and Swedish [glasögon]. It's also plural in Russian [очки], Polish [okulary], etc.
To this end, it's very reasonable that it's plural in Esperanto too; after all, Esperanto is an international language so might as well go with the majority on this one - and there indeed two "glasses", one on each side, unless it's a monocle.
Good question. Another question: if it is plural, do you use a collective noun in Esperanto to refer to more than one? "tri paroj da okulvitroj"?
Would one phrase a sentence differently if they mean to say that they are searching for something versus searching something? For example: "Adamo is searching for his car" versus "Adamo is searching Sofia's car." What about "Adamo is searching his car for Sofia."
That's an interesting distinction! I actually think you would need a different verb entirely. My dictionary app, and a quick google search leading to glosbe.com, offer 'traserĉi' for this. So your sentences would be "Adamo serĉas sian aŭton" versus "Adamo traserĉas la aŭton de Sofia". For your other sentence, I'm not sure if you mean Adamo is searching his car on Sofia's behalf, or he is looking for Sofia in his car. The former would be "Adamo traserĉas sian aŭton por Sofia". I'm less sure about the latter. I suppose it could be rephrased as "Adamo serĉas Sofian en lia aŭto"?
The PIV says traserĉi is a synonym of priserĉi (to search a location), but that traserĉi also has the connotation of a legal search (e.g. when the cops show up with a warrant to search your house).
The best way I've found to get an answer to a question like this is to use Lernu's English/Esperanto dictionary to get some possible answers without context, and then look those up in the PIV. It doesn't work every time, but when it does, I know I got a good answer.
Although "okul" is the Esperanto root for "eye", and "vitro" means "glass", surely no one these days talks about "eyeglasses" in English. Usually it's just "glasses", or occasionally "spectacles" or "specs".
I never say "spectacles" except as a joke. Eyeglasses is a fairly common expression, including in advertising.
Perhaps a US-UK difference then. "Eyeglasses" here tends to be found chiefly in historical settings.
Thanks -- I thought I was missing something, but couldn't work out what it was.
Hi everyone, does anyone know why " I am searching my glasses'' doesn't work ? Thanks in advance !
Yes, because "to search something" is not the same as "to search for something".
"I am searching for the house" = I do not know where the house is and I am looking for it.
"I am searching the house" = I have lost something and I think that thing is inside the house, so I am looking everywhere in the house for that thing.
Another example: at an airport, security may search you -- that does not mean that they do not know where you are (they are not searching for you), but that they look in places close to your body to see whether they can find something dangerous.
"I am searching my glasses" would imply that you look for something inside your glasses, in all the possible places inside your glasses.
"I am searching my glasses" would mean that you had lost something, and you expected to find it in your glasses! In English, if you want to talk about the item you are trying to find, the word "for" is necessary with the verb "search". You could say, "I am seeking my glasses", but "searching for" or "looking for" are far more usual.
Please cut the waffle! Who says eyeglasses instead of glasses or specs or spectacles?
From Salivanto's comment above, I got the clear impression that it is used in the US.
Salivanto approves. "My glasses" is more common. "Spectacles" is only ever said as a joke. "Eyeglasses" is used all the time when it's necessary to be specific.
Not necessarily - as in English, "okulvitroj" (plural) is used for one pair, or more than one pair, depending on context, which we don't have here.