"Kelkaj nomas Novjorkon la granda pomo."

Translation:Some call New York City the big apple.

July 11, 2015

33 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/quiltwilt

why does "kelkaj" work as a noun here? Is it because "homoj" is implied?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikking01

Cxu oni povas diri 'kelkoj'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Edit: I composed the reply below thinking the question was about the singular form kelko.

It's a rare word but it's possible. It doesn't mean "a few people". It means something more like "a small number".


As for the plural kelkoj, it would have to mean "a plural number of small amounts" - like "dozens of" or "handfuls of" - which logically makes sense, but is such a bizarre way to put it ("several fews of"), it's fair to say you'd never say it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

Edit 2021-02-21 Corrected translation of dekkelko da jaroj

The correlatives or table words, tabelvortoj, with the ending -o (kio, tio, ĉio, io, nenio) refer to "something as a whole", what you regard as one entity or a group, i.e.

  • kio : what
  • tio : that
  • ĉio : everything
  • io : something
  • nenio : nothing

Therefore you do not usually use them in plural (and before you ask about the exception, I am only aware of one exception in advanced mathematics, group theory).

La tabelvortoj with the ending -u (kiu, tiu, ĉiu, iu, neniu) refer to "one out of a group". If no group is specified, it is assumed to be people.

  • kiu : which one / who
  • tiu : that one / that person / who
  • ĉiu : each / everyone
  • iu : someone
  • neniu : no one

Because the u-tabelvortoj refer to one of a group, they can be used both in singular and in plural.

While kelk/ is not a tabelvorto, it behavies very much like one. As has been asked and answered here kelkaj is considered to be shortened from kelkaj homoj.

The highly regarded dictionary PIV does not have an entry for kelko, but uses it in some explanations for "some amount" of something. A search in Tekstaro (a corpus of Esperanto texts with over 10 million words) reveals that kelko is mostly used in expressions like dekkelko da jaroj, about ten years. I found only one instance of kelkoj in form of dekkelkoj da jaroj and in the given context it must be regarded as erroneous.

So my reading is that kelkoj would refer to "some number of groups of something" or "some groups consisting of groups" and without a specifier what these groups are, so "Kelkoj nomas…" does not make sense here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Therefore you do not usually use them in plural

Actually, you never use them in plural.

I am only aware of one exception in advanced mathematics, group theory

Hmmm.

While kelk/ is not a tabelvorto, it behavies very much like one.

No it doesn't. Do you have a source for this?

So my reading is that kelkoj would refer to "some number of groups of something" or "some groups consisting of groups" and without a specifier what these groups are, so "Kelkoj nomas…" does not make sense here.

I see that in my response, I was thinking of kelko in the singular. If we want to consider the plural, then it would have to mean "a plural number of small amounts" - which logically makes sense, but is such a bizarre way to put it, it's fair to say you'd never say it.

dekkelko da jaroj, some decades.

No, that's not what dekkelko da jaroj means. It means "ten-something years".


In response to the reply below:

Zamenhof did not categorically disapproved their use but rather noted that there is usually no need for them.

Zamenhof was often very diplomatic. For what it's worth, it's not unheard of for members of the Akademo to have their own pet ideas that nobody else buys into.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

The most prominent speaker for pluralaj o-tabelvortoj is the akademiano Sergio Pokrovskij who in his article Diversaj ioj explains the logic behind "ioj", "kioj" etc.

In that article he also states that Zamenhof did not categorically disapproved their use but rather noted that there is usually no need for them. Probably one of the reasons Zamenhof could not outright reject them, is that Latin has those (I trust Pokrovskij's words here).

The exact answer by Zamenhof (Respondo 18, La Revuo, 1907, Junio) is:

PRI “IOJ”, “TIOJ”, “KIOJ” K.T.P.

Teorie la ĵus diritaj formoj tute bone povas havi multenombron tiel same, kiel ili havas akuzativon; sed en la praktiko mi ne konsilas al vi uzi la diritajn vortojn en multenombro, ĉar laŭ mia opinio ilia senco tion ĉi ne permesas. “Tio” prezentas ja ne ian difinitan objekton, sed ian bildon (aŭ abstraktan ideon), kaj bildo restas ĉiam ununombra sendepende de tio, ĉu ĝi konsistas el unu objekto aŭ el multaj. Tamen se aperas ia tre malofta okazo, kiam la logiko postulas, ke ni uzu la diritajn vortojn en multenombro, tiam la gramatiko de nia lingvo tion ĉi ne malpermesas. Ekzemple: “Lia potenco konsistas el diversaj ioj, el kiuj ĉiu aparte per si mem estas ne grava, sed ĉiuj kune donas al li grandan forton”.

For a set of sets example…

Say you have friends from one of your hobbies filatelo. You can define this group by Mia filatela amikaro konsistas el miaj filatelistaj amikoj.

You also have another hobby numismatiko. Logically Mia numismatika amikaro konsistas el miaj numismataj amikoj.

Now you have two sets. Mi havas du amikarojn. Tioj estas apartaj. Of course this can and likely will be replaced by many with tiuj with an understanding that it refers to those groups (out of a thinkable superset of all your friend groups) if not outright spelling it out with tiuj aroj. But the point is that tioj is a logical choice here.

As I see it, the plural forms of o-tabelvortoj are not wrong (even Zamenhof allows them), but their use is very limited. And as we know "very limited" or "not usually used" does not equal "never".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kiddo-depido

8 words -> 7 start with capital letter (Some call New York The Big Apple) weird


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Mi volis komenti pri PoMEGo sed vi jam diris ĝin.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cal-H

konkreta ĝangalo kie sonĝoj fariĝas


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrandaUrso

Does "A few call" work in this sentence?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Several months ago, as a result of a similar question, I made a list of various similar words (in English and in Esperanto) showing increasing numbers -- something like - one, a couple, a few, some, many, lots, plenty, most, all....

My point was that there isn't always a one-on-one translation for these words. It turns out there wasn't always agreement on what order to put them in. Still, a few (mostly learners) insisted that "kelkaj" actually means "some".

Short answer -- yes, I would say that "a few" should work in this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Oh, and I found the list (the following lines are a quote from something I wrote last November).

As does English, Esperanto has different words to describe a quantity that is more than one but less than all. In English we can say some, a couple, a few, many, lots of, most... and so on.

I just tried to find a prepared explanation for how to rank these words - kelkaj, pluraj, multaj, cxiuj, tro... and so on, but I am not finding one quickly. My sense is that the order I just listed is somewhat close to the truth - although PIV (and a few others who have commented) points out that "pluraj" means "more than one" and "kelkaj" means basically "not many." It's not clear to me whether "not many" is more than "more than one" - perhaps context will determine that.

But to answer the original question, "multaj" is clearly more than "pluraj." Multaj is "many more than one" and pluraj is simply "more than one."

For those very very interested in the topic, I found the following treatment interesting. My summary: Multaj is more than pluraj which is more than kelkaj."

The relevant bits of the blog entry: [Pluraj] signifas kompreneble kelkaj. Laŭ PIV, la malsameco estas, ke kelkaj signifas “ne tro multaj” kaj pluraj signifas “pli ol unu.” Aliaflanke, la reta vortaro ReVo konsentas pri la signifo de pluraj, sed proponas, ke la malsameco estas, ke kelkaj signifas “pli ol neniu.” [...] Mi traserĉis la reton pri uzoj de “pluraj.” Mi trovis multajn [...kaj] suprize ofte, ili ŝajne signifis “multaj,” aŭ “pli ol kelkaj.”

http://esperanto.philipbrewer.net/2004/11/pli-pri-is-ostismo-2/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GrandaUrso

Thanks, I suspected as much, it seemed very strange to me that me writing "A few" got marked wrong. Like that's not something I would correct a foreigner learning English on. "No no sir, it's 'some' not 'a few'." Anyway, thanks for the response! I'll go ahead and report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miaoumiam

From what I understand the guys behind courses on duolingo have to insert manually every possible correct answer and, as you can imagine, that's a lot of work to do. That's why you can report it and you'll also help them by doing so :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/queerjungfrau

Kial ne "Kelkaj nomas Novjorkon la grandaN pomoN"? Ĉar ne estas prepozicio antaŭ "la granda pomo", oni povus konfuzi tiun-ĉi kaj la subjekton. Cetere, "la granda pomo" estas atributo de la akuzativobjekto, do ĝi mem devus esti en la akuzativo, ĉu ne? Mi scias ke la frazo estas facile komprenebla tiele, sed la gramatiko ŝajnas al mi pli angla ol esperanta.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

La frazo estas bona.

  • Kelkaj nomas - subjekto kaj verbo
  • novjorkon - objekto de "nomas".
  • la granda pomo - aldonaj informoj.

"La granda pomo" ne estas objekto de "nomas". Ni ne nomas la grandan pomon. Ni nomas novjorkon, kiu estas la granda pomo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheSoundOf4

vi povus skribi tiun frazon tiel : "Kelkaj nomas Novjorkon : ' la granda pomo ' ". Eble mi eraras, sed tio estas kiel mi pensofaris la tradukon.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

Temas pri translativo, kiu estas gramatika kazo, kiu "indikas staton aŭ kvaliton kiel rezulto de antaŭa ago aŭ ŝanĝigo".

Probleme estas, ke kelkfoje E-o klare montras translativon per "kiel + akuzativo" ("Oni elektis Trump-on kiel prezidenton"), kelkfoje neniel ("Kelkaj nomas Novjorkon la granda pomo"). Mi preferus iun klaran manieron – nova kazo, "kiel + akuzativo" aŭ iu nova prepozicio, ekz. "ti" – sed mi scias, ke ĉi tiel ne okazas.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

For those reading along, I'm not convinced a discussion about the translative case is at all necessary for learning Esperanto. For those who like to geek out on linguistic terminology - more power to you. The English article has examples of this case as used in Finnish, Estonian, and Hungarian.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translative_case


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

I was replying to the beginning of this thread: Kial ne "Kelkaj nomas Novjorkon la grandaN pomoN"? The writer has made the correct observation, that "granda pomo" is not a nominative expression. I told, what it is, and explained further, that E-o uses two different markings for some reason.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TreyEHarris

Du demandoj:

  1. Ĉu «la granda pomo» ĝustas nur per minusklaj literoj? Ĉu ankaŭ majuskloj («La Granda Pomo») povus esti en ordo?
  2. Ĉu «kelkaj» estas pli bona ol «oni» ĉi tie?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

1) One has right from the beginning used capital letters in Esperanto less than in English, and the current trend is to use even less. I would here say that writing with non-capitals is the neutral way and using capitals causes many to suspect that your are from that city or something along those lines.

2) You should regard oni as a passive voice, cf. the man-passive in German. Oni nomas…, One calls…/NN is (commonly) called. Oni refers to some unspecified group of people, usually understood to be quite large.

While there is not any exact definition how many is kelkaj, it surely in this context would mean less than implied by the use of oni.

In English you can use "some" for both meanings and cause ambiguity.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TreyEHarris

1) […] I would here say that writing with non-capitals is the neutral way and using capitals causes many to suspect that your are from that city or something along those lines.

That makes sense, including the “times are changing”. Thank you.

2) You should regard oni as a passive voice, cf. the man-passive in German. Oni nomas…, One calls…/NN is (commonly) called. Oni refers to some unspecified group of people, usually understood to be quite large.

While there is not any exact definition how many is kelkaj, it surely in this context would mean less than implied by the use of oni.

In English you can use "some" for both meanings and cause ambiguity.

Of course, but I used “pli bona” to mean “better to describe the state of the actual world we live in”, where

  • Some call New York “The Big Apple”.
  • Many call New York “The Big Apple”.
  • They call New York “The Big Apple”.
  • New York is called “The Big Apple”.

are all legitimate things to say, but another aspect of English “some” is that “some [people] say/call…” is something of a frozen phrase in English that can, in some contexts, carry an aspect of denigration, or be heard as carrying it, enough so that “some people…” is a bit of a joke. Though I was certain kelkaj in Esperanto doesn’t carry that connotation, it still felt to me like this state of affairs—telling someone that a nickname or New York is “The Big Apple”—would usually call for oni.

Last question: Is there any difference in the meaning you’d read into using Kelkaj… vs. Kelkaj homoj…?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juha_Metsakallas

2) While speaking you surely can put so much weight on kelkaj that it will carry an aspect of denigration which would be understood by pluraj. In writing I am not so sure.

While the nickname might be generally known within the USA, I bet it is not worldwide. So if I were to tell someone what the official nickname is, I would state it explicitly La kromnomo de la urbo Novjorko estas la granda pomo or Novjorko havas/portas kromnomon la granda pomo. If it is not official, any of those kelkaj (homoj), multaj, pluraj, oni will here do.

Last question

Perhaps plain kelkaj is more speech-like and kelkaj homoj more writing-ish expression, but I do not see any real difference between them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TreyEHarris

Thanks; a very cogent explanation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

Ĉu «kelkaj» estas pli bona ol «oni» ĉi tie?

"Pli bona" for what?

Maybe I'm just harping on it now - but there is a danger in taking this course too seriously. Learn what you can from the sentences, and then when you reach a level where you can write coherent sentences in Esperanto, go out into the real world and ask questions about real sentences in real contexts.

"Kelkaj" is in no way better than "oni" -- they just mean different things.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TreyEHarris

"Pli bona" for what? … "Kelkaj" is in no way better than "oni" — they just mean different things.

Well, just like you yourself told someone else responding to me in another question today, my question was about semantics, not syntax, and by “better”, I meant, “better to describe the state of the actual world we live in where “The Big Apple” is a nickname used for New York”.

If there were any pairs of words where one were “strictly better” than the other—that is, there was no reason to use the “worse” word in any situation except perhaps poetry or just to add some variety to your speech, and there were situations where the “better” word would be preferred or obligatory over the “worse” word—in Esperanto I’d imagine the “worse” word would just become archaic and obsolete.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

I see countless comments from people saying "XYZ is a better translation" (than the one given.) Clearly at least some of them must think it's "better" in some objective way. My sense is that kelkaj is better in expressing the idea that "some" people use this nickname.

As for the real world, is it really true that oni calls NYC by this nickname? I suppose I could be persuaded, but at this point I'm not so sure. Many people do. Maybe a lot of people do. But I wouldn't say that "people in general" use this name, certainly not exclusively.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TreyEHarris

This is fantastic feedback, thank you! I apologize to whatever extent we’ve been on the wrong wavelength in the past about my asking questions that are meant to be open-ended but came across as demanding a pat, “correct” answer.

I see countless comments from people saying "XYZ is a better translation" (than the one given.) Clearly at least some of them must think it's "better" in some objective way. My sense is that kelkaj is better in expressing the idea that "some" people use this nickname.

Perfectly clear.

As for the real world, is it really true that oni calls NYC by this nickname? I suppose I could be persuaded, but at this point I'm not so sure. Many people do. Maybe a lot of people do. But I wouldn't say that "people in general" use this name, certainly not exclusively.

This is very important feedback in that I’ve thought of oni as having two purposes that are usually orthogonal (meaning, not necessarily in conflict, but also not necessarily not in conflict):

  1. The indeterminate pronoun corresponding to some usages in English of “you”, “they”, or “one”—as in “They say that…”, “One can find short trees in…”, “To get there, you go north”, etc. But the defining thing about this type of usage is that it’s usually referring to things where the commonness or frequency of “they/you/one” doing whatever the verb says doesn’t matter. “You” can find short trees there, no matter who you are; anyone can find them there.
  2. As a replacement for the passive voice, since passive voice is syntactically just not stating the subject of a transitive verb.

That’s where this feedback is really useful—I figured oni was good here because “New York is called ‘The Big Apple’” is perfectly acceptable passive voice. But it conflicts with the first usage’s wrinkle of describing the usual or invariant; clearly New York is called that, but people don’t habitually call it that.

So if I’ve taken the right thing from this, I think it’s that, for the purpose of describing the real world, Kelkaj is better than oni but

  • Novjorko estas nomata la granda pomo.

gets across the meaning I thought I could express with oni across better than oni does, since it doesn’t imply it’s a common or even universal thing. Does that seem about right?

Thanks very much indeed!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salivanto

I'd say you're more or less right-on there. I think that "oni nomas..." would generate a true sentence (in this passive-like way ... it's called The Big Apple) but as I think may already be clear, it's a different meaning.

We're going to continue rubbing each other the wrong way, I'm sure. No need to apologize. Just try to think well of me when you can and I will do the same.

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