"My dog is happy when I brush it."

Translation:Mia hundo feliĉas kiam mi brosas ĝin.

June 21, 2015

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This may not be the right place to ask this question...but going through these lessons, I see they refer to animals by "it". But what if I want to talk about my female dog...am I allowed to describe her as female? Like "Mia hundo felicxas kiam mi brosas sxin"? or does it always have to be "gxi(n)"?


Good question, and the answer seems to depend on the cultural background of the speaker/listener. English speakers seem to be happy referring to family pets as he/she, but would usually use "it" when talking about an animal they're not familiar with. In other cultures and languages though, using "he/she" for a family pet sounds mad — you sound as if you actually believe that the pet is a person!

And those habits are likely to carry over into Esperanto. So yeah, I use "ŝi" to talk about our family cat, but I've no objection to other people referring to her as "ĝi", and I'm prepared to adjust to "ĝi" myself if whoever I'm speaking to is confused/bemused/annoyed by my use of "ŝi".

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Incidentally, in my rudimentary understanding, in Mandarin, he, she, and it have different symbols, but they are all pronounced "ta" with the same tone.


And until the 20th century, they were all written with the same character too.


Thanks for clarifying!


If you want to specify your dog is female without using ŝi, you can just add the female affix and say 'hundino' instead of 'hundo'.


La uzanto babelpescado demandis:

what if I want to talk about my female dog...am I allowed to describe her as female? Like ... "ŝin" ?

Good question! I thought it would be helpful to share a note I found in the preface of the novel "Princino De Marso" (the Esperanto translation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel "A Princess of Mars"):

Notu: La besto Ula estas en la verko ĉiam nomata "li"; laŭ la brita kaj la usona idearoj estus nenature nomi amikan beston per "ĝi," kaj speciale por hundoj oni uzas ĉiam "li" aŭ "ŝi."

English translation:

Note: In this written work, the animal Ula is always called "he"; according to British and American schools of thought it would be unnatural to call a friendly animal by "it" -- and especially with dogs, people always use "he" or "she."

Basically, "ĝi" is often used for animals and pets in Esperanto, but not necessarily always. If both the speaker and the listener have no issue using the British and American convention of "li" and "ŝi" pronouns, you're welcome to use "ŝi" for your own dog.

In fact, using "li" and "ŝi" for animals is not breaking any grammatical rule in Esperanto, but be aware that non-Anglophones may consider it to be an odd choice of usage.

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