July 1, 2015



I'm sure it comes from "Oi vey!", since Zamenhof spoke yiddish. It's sort of archaic in english. "Alas" and "woe" sound very shakespearian or King James biblical. I think nowadays we would just sigh loudly and start complaining.

July 11, 2015


Alas is not as archaic as all that. I've come across it a lot in contemporary written English.

July 23, 2015


"Oi vey" is a great way to remember "ve". Dankon!

August 2, 2015


... Drowne my word with my weeping earnestly,-

Or wash it if it mus be drown-d no more:

But oh it must be burnt! Alas the fire-

Of lust and envie have burnt it heretofore,-

And made it fouler; let their flames retire,-

And burne me õ lord, wit a fiery zeal-

Of thee and thy house, which doth in eating heale.

Sonnet V, from Holy Sonnets, by John Done

December 24, 2016


"Alas", "Woe", "Heaven help" ?? Not really sure what this expression means

July 1, 2015


It's a word used to express sorrow, regret, compassion or grief, like the English alas.

July 1, 2015


Alas??? I've never never never heard that!

Thanks for teaching me something new! ;D

July 17, 2015


Never heard of the expression, thanks

July 2, 2015


Imagine a horrible moaning cry coming from a mother who has lost her infant child to disease. In literature this sound is signified by the evocation "Alas!" or "Woe is to me!" It is like the painful low of a cow licking her stillborn calf; it is the placeholder for our most profound losses and a call to a deity which may not exist.

Alas, both for the deed, and for the cause!

But have I now seen Death? Is this the way

I must return to native dust? Oh sight

Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,

Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!

-Paradise Lost


July 25, 2015


dumbledore uses it in the first harry potter book, if you've read them

December 24, 2015


"Alas! Earwax!"

April 19, 2018


Alas is rather formal, and it's used to express sadness. I'd definitely say "come again", "my god", "Jesus" or "come off it".

December 24, 2016


".... -.- ❤❤❤❤."

July 29, 2016


Oy vey, ay and an exasperated sigh all have similar meaning

November 26, 2017


No one says any of the English translations. Maybe as a joke, but even then in very limited circumstances. What I would naturally say here would be "❤❤❤❤!" "❤❤❤❤!" "❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ hell!" or "Oh my god!" ("OMG!") If I was trying extra hard not to be offensive, I would possibly say "Oh no!" and if I were a little old lady, maybe "Oh dear!" This is a hard one. I guess the only way to get it right is to just mouse over the helpful words that come up and then type one of those in.

July 30, 2015


That sounds pretty good, and highlights an issue that develops around non-natural languages, since there is not much communication using it, slang words like the ones you mentioned dont develop in the same way, I mean, every language has some curse words, but they're not direct translations of each other, I wonder what words or expressions have come up in Esperanto!

August 7, 2015


Well, the most common profanities are things like diable (from diablo - devil), damne (damn), and the popular fek (which both literally and figuratively means "❤❤❤❤". Although it's a bit milder, because it comes from "feko", the normal decent word for dung, excrement, feces, etc.)

There's also a famous collection of erotic poems from the 1930s called Sekretaj sonetoj (secret sonnets), which popularized a number of unofficial sex-related slang words, such as

[here's where you stop reading if you are very sensitive]

fiki (to f**k, comes from German), kaco (vulgar word for penis, comes from Italian) and piĉo (vulgar word for vagina, comes from Slavic languages).

There's a great English Wikipedia article on this, if you want to read more:

December 1, 2015


Also see this: How To Talk Dirty In Esperanto : Kiel Paroli Maldece en Esperanto http://mindprod.com/esperanto/dirty.html (NSFW, some of the stuff is very harsh.)

December 11, 2015


There's also this:


It's a memrise course with a lot of the vocab from the piece Tommy Linsley recommended. (NSFW, for the same reasons as above).

January 7, 2016


Could I also say "Oh no!"

September 10, 2015


That would be "ho vey" (oh, woe!)

November 9, 2015


I wrote alas and it marked me wrong for no reason. This is a very common issue I have found with Duolingo in the later lessons.

October 14, 2016


I wrote alas and it works for me now.

It's likely that the creators hadn't thought of that possibility at the time you commented. It makes sense that it's more common in the later lessons, since attrition will make it so that fewer people make it to the later lessons to be able to report issues. If you come across any other "errors" that you're pretty sure should be marked as correct, make sure to report them.

May 29, 2018


I like the feel of this word. I like that I'm seeing words that have feelings not completely describable this far in.

February 13, 2018


This reminds me of this song from He's Not The Messiah, He's A Very Naughty Boy

February 24, 2016


"Ve" is used frequently in the "Pasporto al la Tuta Mondo".

June 29, 2016


mi ne konis la vorto "ve!" mi neniam usis (tiel ne usis dum pasintaj 16 jaroj) kaj mi ne rememoras se mi audis iam ie tiu vorto se iu usis eble mi ne povis remarki. Sed, jes, estas truvebla en la vortaro.

November 10, 2016


It's funny. In Colombian Spanish we have one similar "¡Ay ve!" which also expresses sorrow or pity, as you can hear in this song at second 26: https://youtu.be/CPXBg9JDwTU

December 31, 2016


Ve, malriĉa Yorick!

December 28, 2017


Malriĉa means poor in the sense of "destitute, not rich, etc". I think it's more likely that Hamlet meant poor in the sense of "to be pitied, unenviable, etc", which would translate to kompatinda or povra.

May 29, 2018
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