"Ĉu la flago estas ruĝa aŭ blua?"

Translation:Is the flag red or blue?

June 30, 2015

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La flago estas verda kaj blanka kun stelo!


estas ruga, blanca, verda (Hungary ^^)


Perhaps I learned it incorrectly, but I thought "Cxu" was used when asking a yes/no question.


Think of it more as the upside down question mark of Spanish.


Except "cxu" is not used with other question words like "kio" or "kie" etc.


It is used when asking a yes/no question; the sentence translates to "Is the flag red or blue?".


In English, you could give four answers to that question: yes; no; red; blue.

Because "cxu" was used here, can the answer only be yes or no? If so, how would you ask whether it's red or blue, when you know it has to be one or the other?


Cxu is also used for either/or and multiple choice questions as well. Most Esperanto speakers aren't used to explaining it that way, even if they intuitively use it that way.


Does Esperanto have a means of distinguishing between or and xor?


Just context, common sense, and laying it out explicitly if necessary - same as English.


Now you have discovered the difference between Esperanto "ĉu" and Lojban "xu"! :-P

I like to think of "ĉu" as introducing a question of alternatives; thus thinking of "Ĉu la flago estas verda?" as short for "Ĉu la flago estas verda aŭ ne?", thus covering all "ĉu" questions under the either-or umbrella. None of which is official; it's just my personal musings and my mind insistently trying to unify things, whether they are actually unified or not.


In my experience, speaking Esperanto for almost 8 years, ĉu doesn't ask alternatives, it asks if the statement is true. Ĉu questions should be answerable with Jes or Ne. So, yes, it's a question of the alternatives jes and ne, but not more generally.

I don't feel as though the following is correct, I think it's ambiguous and can be said better:

Ĉu la floroj estas ruĝaj, verdaj aŭ flavaj?

I feel as though the answer, jes, is meaningful, that the flowers are one or more of those. If what you want to know is what color are the flowers, out of several alternatives, you should ask:

Kiaj la floroj estas, ruĝaj, verdaj aŭ flavaj?


Gregorio - For what it's worth, PMEG disagrees with you.


"Cxu vi volas kafon aux teon?"

Only a Smart Alec wold answer that as a jes/ne question.

Edit: As always, context is key. I could imagine the following rant:

"Verda flago? Mi ne volas. Mi nur volas rugxan aux flavan. Kio estas tio? Flago? Cxu la flago estas rugxa aux flava? Jes? Bone, mi prenos gxin."

But usually it would be taken as an either-or question.


Yeah, I've been thinking about Salivanto's response. And the more I think about it, the more it seems that the meaning of whether ĉu is looking for one answer among alternatives or a yes/no answer depends on how similar the alternatives are. This leaves me actually rather uncomfortable.

If I said, Ĉu vi estas laca aŭ dormema? Ni povas resti hejme. Because laca and dormema are so similar, it makes sense that even though there are alternatives presented, the answer should be a yes or no.

But if I said, Ĉu la vetero estas agrabla aŭ malagrabla? These two alternatives are literal opposites. You really would have to be smart alec to reply "jes."

The reason I don't like this situation, is because the meaning seems to change across a smooth gradient from obvious on one extreme to obvious at the other extreme, with lots of ambiguity in the middle.


Responding to Salivanto. Apparently, we're too deeply nested for me to respond directly to your post.

I agree that people do ask questions about alternatives with cxu. And in some cases it's unambiguous, and you'd have to be a smart alec to "not understand." But, in other cases it really is ambiguous and would be better asked with a ki- word. Even the examples he gives leave ambiguity:

Ĉu vi estas surda aŭ muta?

If that were on a census inquiring about disabilities it would not be unreasonable to respond "jes" if you had just one of those disabilities.

I accept that the following example is used, and it isn't ambiguous. You'd definitely have to be a jerk to say jes rather than say which of the two the day is.

Ĉu hodiaŭ estas varme aŭ malvarme?

I, therefore, change my recommendation about cxu questions to suggest caution when wording it with sets of alternatives. It's been my experience that communicating with people from other language backgrounds and other cultural expectations can easily lead to confusion when a sentence which is grammatically ambiguous doesn't seem ambiguous to you and your expectations.

I still submit, therefore, that, Kia la vetero estas hodiaŭ, varma aŭ malvarma? estas malpli ambigua kaj do preferinda.


In English, a sentence like "are you drunk or crazy?" can be reasonably interpreted as yes/no or multiple choice, and which is meant is often indicated by context and tone of voice. But of course, a multiple choice meaning can be clarified with "which are you, drunk or crazy?". In casual speech, one specifies the yes/no interpretation by adding "or something"; "are you drunk or crazy or something?", presumably because "something" is too nebulous to be a meaningful answer, so the question must be yes/no. But of course logically then the answer would always be yes, since even if I'm not at all drunk nor crazy, I'm still something. So then there's the further specification; "are you drunk or crazy or something like that?". If I said "ĉu vi estas ebria aŭ freneza aŭ ia simile?", would that be understood as having that meaning?


I can see what you mean. The concept of ĉu exist in agglutinative languages and the question "ĉu la flago estas blua aŭ ruĝa" would make sense in Turkish as you could answer "yes it's blue or red". ĉu inspects the correctness of something and in that sentence you may indeed think it refers to "to be". Turkish does it this way: bayrak(flag) [[mavi(blue) ya da(or) kırmızı (red)]] mı (whether)?, which refers to to be. you would answer that "yes it's blue or red" or "no it's not blue or red." the other sentence is bayrak [[mavi mi]] [[kırmızı mı?]], which asks for each color. Overall, I don't know if this is a problem of Esperanto or the speakers. (See English cannot differenciate as well)


It's like whether. Agglutinative languages have that concept. In Finnish, puhut: you talk puhutko?: do you talk?. In Turkish, yaptım: I did. yaptım mı?: Did I do?


Because im also learning programming (c#), i think of "ču" as a multiconditional "if" statement

Is the flag red or white?-> if (red==true||white==true) {the flag is (whatever color it is)}

This can be a yes/no question if asking "is the flag red" or you can add more conditions


The confusion comes from a conflict in the Tips and Notes in various lessons.

From the Questions Tips and Notes:

As covered in Basics 2, ĉu is used at the beginning of a sentence to form a question with specific answers, such as a yes/no question. For example:
Ĉu vi volas danci? = Do you want to dance?
Ĉu vi amas ŝin aŭ min? = Do you love her or me?

In the middle of a sentence, ĉu means "whether" in a statement. For example:
Ŝi demandas min ĉu mi volas danci.
She asks me whether I would like to dance.
Ŝi volas scii ĉu mi parolas Esperanton.
She wants to know whether I speak Esperanto.

Unfortunately, Basics 2 says:

Ĉu introduces a yes/no question. Unlike in English, the subject and verb do not need to be inverted:
Statement Question
La kafo estas varma. Ĉu la kafo estas varma?
The coffee is hot. Is the coffee hot?

EDIT: The Tips and Notes for Basics 2 has been updated.


Ĉu functions the same way as inverting subject and verb does in english to ask a yes or no question. In Esperanto, you add the ĉu to the beginning of the statement and don't need to change the order of the words otherwise.

The flag is red. Is the flag red? La flago estas ruĝa. Ĉu la flago estas ruĝa.

In english you can just as easily say:

The flag is red or blue. Is the flag red or blue?

La flago estas ruĝa aŭ blua. Ĉu la flago estas ruĝa aŭ blua?

The answer "yes/jes" means that it is true that the flag is either red or blue. Or, "No/ne" means that the flag is neither red nor blue.

If you really really want to be specific, in both english or esperanto, you could say:

Which color is the flag, red or blue? Kia koloro estas la flago, ruĝa aŭ blua?

To which the right response could be red, blue, both or neither. ruĝa, blua, ambaŭ aŭ nek nek.

However, the implication when asking about 2 specific colors is that you might want to know more than you've actually asked. Language is after all about communication, not just about the logic of semantics.

If someone asked me in Esperanto, Ĉu la supo estas varma aŭ malvarma? I would assume they want me to tell them which of those two states it is, not merely that it is or is not one of those two states.

The format "ĉu io estas ia aŭ ia" could be more obviously a question about whether it is either of those two, simply by the context of the question. Are the two qualities closely related, or completely different or opposite?

Is the accused your employee or colleague? (We want to know if you have a professional relationship to the person, yes or no?) Is the accused younger or older than you? (It cannot possibly be both, and it can't practically speaking be neither. So, we must be asking for one or the other.)

I think the same contextual logic applies in esperanto with ĉu questions, but because it's easy to be ambiguous, if you want to be unambiguous you should word it another way, such as I suggested with: Kia koloro ĝi estas, ia aŭ ia? Or, Kiel li rilatas al via aĝo, pli aŭ malpli aĝa? Or, Ĉu estas ke li estas via dungito aŭ kunlaboranto?"

Esperanto is regular, but not "logical" the way "lojban" was supposed to be logical.


This is not a yes/no question, because it gives a choice, red OR blue. Advice needed please


Cxu is also used for either/or and multiple choice questions as well. Most Esperanto speakers aren't used to explaining it that way, even if they intuitively use it that way.


So "Cxu" is used both for "yes or no" questions ("Cxu la flago estas blua?"--Is the flag blue?), and "which" questions (as in this case--Is the flag red or blue?)?


Ukraina flago estas blua kaj flava. Majxeston al Ukrainio!


Is not "Cxu" for questions that can be answered with "yes" or "no"?


Hopefully your question has been answered. The notes have been updated and others have asked similar questions in this thread.


Am I supposed to roll that "r" on "ruĝa"?


La flago estas rugxa, blua kaj flavaj kun ok steloj


la flago estas verda kun ruĝa cirklo ! (Bangladesh)


ne! la flago estas verda! :P


Estas ruĝa aŭ blanka( Peru!) PD:28th of July(today) our Independence day!


It's actually purple.


Se vi parolas pri la flago franca, ambaux

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