Translation:Who is this woman who sleeps here?
Let me guess - you are a receptionist in a hotel or a motel, so when you come to work in mornings your ask who is that female guest who is sleeping here.
Is this sentence a subordinate clause, or is it two combined sentences? The English is ambiguous. Could it mean "This woman who sleeps here, who is she?" Or could it be "Who is this woman? Who is it who is sleeping here?"
It is a subordinate clause. Theoretically it could be two sentences, but I in this case I would write them separately: Kiu estas ĉi tiu virino? Kiu dormas ĉi tie?
So, is the Esperanto as ambiguous as the English?
In German it would be clear. In German the translation would be either: "Wer ist diese Frau, die hier schlaeft?" or "Wer ist diese Frau? Wer schlaeft hier?", but the two German sentences have slightly, but clearly different meanings (unlike the English).
I don't know if it's accepted or not, but from what I could tell you could theoretically use ke instead of kiu the second time.
Kiu estas ĉi tiu virino, ke dormas ĉi tie?
Who is this woman that sleeps here?
Wanting to use ke as a relative pronoun is a common mistake of English and Romance-speaking beginners, because that (or que) in these languages have several meanings, but you can't use ke in this sentence because it just doesn't make sense.
It would be incorrect for the translation, but would it be wrong grammatically and/or semantically?
From what I understand Kiu, kio and kies can be used as descriptive clauses, describing a subject or object in the mainclause. Ke seems to have many uses, but it doesn't describe a single word. I guess I'll have to get better to understand the finer details of Ke, but for now I know enough to tell the difference.
Have a lingot, as thanks. :D
Do you happen to have any sources that describe why Ke can't be used in this fashion? Because I can't see why it would be wrong.
Ke means "that", but it is conjunction "that", not relative pronoun "that" - and as usual, it is English that is ambiguous, not Esperanto (I seem to always point that out these days).
Ke can thus never function as a subject or object of a sentence, it just links two clauses together, and the second clause also needs its subject and predicate to be a complete sentence:
I see that you are sleeping here. (conj) Mi vidas, ke vi dormas ĉi tio.
I see you that sleep here. (pronoun) Mi vidas vin, kiu(j) dormas ĉi tio.
The ambiguity is resolved by where the rising tone marking the question falls in the case of both English and Esperanto.
They are in fact to sentences, one into another. When "kiu" works as a subordinating conjunction it links the subordinate clause to the main one.
What is the first cxi doing in this sentence?
In other words, what would be different if we said "Kiu estas tiu virino, kiu dormas cxi tie?"
"Tiu virino" = "That woman"; "Ĉi tiu virino" = "This woman". In this case, it indicates proximity.
The first ĉi changes the meaning of tiu from that to this. The second ĉi changes the meaning of tie from there to here.
So, if you said "Kiu estas TIU virino [...]", it means "Who is THAT woman [...]". If you mean "Who is THIS woman [...]", you should say "Kiu estas ĈI TIU virino [...]".
Oh my, I had to listen to this many times to get it. And then...I laughed and understood the urgency in his rapid speech.