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"Americans think that a hundred years is a long time."

Translation:Usonanoj pensas, ke cent jaroj estas longa tempo.

July 28, 2015



And Brits think that a hundred miles is a long distance.


And the Earth thinks "those little bugs who call themselves humans have such small scales. I'm 4.5 billion years old lol"


"...kaj Britoj pensas, ke cent mejloj estas longa distanco."


Well, that's what happens when we haven't even had 2 and a half of them to call ourselves Americans.


In English, we use "think" for both the action of thinking and also for what we believe. In this sentence, I don't think the Usonanoj are actively thinking about how a hundred years is a long time, but rather that a hundred years being a long time is their opinion- what they believe. In Spanish, there is a distinction between these two meanings of "think" using "creer" (= "believe") and "pensar" (= to lit. "think" about something). Is there a similar distinction in EO, or is it like English where think can mean believe or to think?


A lot of people form opinions and beliefs without thinking, but it's not recommended.

In Spanish, there is a distinction [...]

I don't claim to be an expert in Spanish... but are you sure? Is a sentence like the following really wrong in Spanish?

  • Pienso que la playa es fantástica.

Claude Piron wrote about this with regard to Esperanto. It's certainly possible that someone will correct you for using mi pensas for expressing an opinion. I forget how Piron put it, but in my own words - these people should be ignored.


I assume that that means that it does not matter. To be clear, you could use "Mi pensas, ke la plaĝo estas mirinda" as well as "Mi kredas, ke la plaĝo estas mirinda", and you would be understood fine? I am not an expert in Spanish either but most of the time I hear people say "Creo que la playa...", but you would very much be understood if you said "Pienso que la playa...". So maybe this is the same in Eo? Is pensas or kredas more popular? Though maybe in this case opinii is the right word because in reality this sort of like a personal opinion rather than an objective truth.


For sure words matter.

The Spanish sentence about the beach is an example from a Stack Exchange answer. I think the author is from Spain...

Or do I "believe" he's from Spain?

I think (and it is my opinion) that both are true -- and that there are subtleties here... and that these apply to all three languages, perhaps in different ways and differently in different contexts.


Another word that could be used in this sentence is "opinii": Usonanoj opinias, ke cent jaroj estas longa tempo. You could use any of those three words in this sentence: pensi, opinii, kredi. If you believe something (kredi), that means you think it without necessarily having a good reason for doing so, so it seems to me the least appropriate word in this sentence.


Why is "cent jaroj estas longe." not correct?


Because longe is an adverb and would describe the verb estas instead of the subject cent jaroj.


It's akin to saying "One hundred years longly are." While it technically makes sense, it's not very good English. It may be more or less correct in Esperanto, but in neither language is it standard :p


I know the direct word translations when you hover the mouse over the sentence aren't always the most reliable, but it did say that "a long time" = "longe," and I don't see any considerably different situation where you'd be saying a long time, so I feel like longe should be perfectly acceptable. And "Li felicxas" means "He happies," after all, and "Li iras maldekstren" is basically "He goes leftly," and when one says "Pluvas!" he might as well be exclaiming, "Rains!"


Don't forget to consider parts of speech. Longe may well mean "(for) a long time" - but only when used as a time expression.

  • He was there (for) a long time.

You'd never say "six hours is (for) a long time."


"Cent" is a noun, but doesn't have the ending "o" (like laboro, studento, patro, ...) Why?


The numbers are words in their own right, without grammatical endings. "Cent" is like "unu", "du", etc. which also don't take a grammatical ending. "Mil" works the same way as "cent", so it doesn't normally take an ending. Having said that, I should add that for some reason "miliono" is a noun, unlike the other number words. It is possible to turn number words into nouns, for instance you could say, "Mi havas centojn da dolaroj" - I have hundreds of dollars. But if you want to say a precise number you would use "cent", e.g. "Mi havas sescent tridek dolarojn" - I have 630 dollars.

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