"Oni fosas per fosilo."

Translation:One digs with a spade.

July 30, 2015

This discussion is locked.


False friend: the word for 'fossil' is 'fosilio'.


yep, that one caught me too! oh well, most of my misses are with English spelling errors.


in a funny way this has helped me remember the word for dig better


I got caught by a misread. Maybe it's time this old fossil went to bed.


Do... oni povas fosi por fosilio per fosilo?


Honest question: Where, on this earth of ours, do people say "spade" instead of "shovel"?


More importantly - what is the distinction in Esperanto. I've reported this as an error. I maintain that "fosilo" is a generic digging tool. A shovel is "sxovelilo" and a spade is "sxpato." The specific definitions are in PIV.


In the UK you would use a spade to dig and a shovel to move a pile of earth. You might use a spade to shovel earth but you wouldn't use a shovel to dig.


I live in Chicago and although I am aware of the word spade, I would always use the word shovel. The context would make it obvious whether I was talking about a digging tool or a snow clearing tool.


Yes, I am am aware of the subtle differences. However, just like stated on the site you linked to, "many people use [them] interchangeably". As such, your link did not answer my question "Where?" as in "Where do people default to spade instead of shovel?" :)


Ah, as far as I remember at least in the UK people tend to talk about spades. Shovel sounds more American to me, but then again I have never lived in America.

Edit: There's a "call a spade a spade" joke lurking here...


I'm from the UK and automatically typed "spade" without thinking about it. It's definitely very commonly used here.


In the USA, a spade was often used in the garden. It is a specific type of shovel used for digging, rather than a snow shovel, etc.


So out of curiosity, I got my dictionary out to see of a trowel was a "Fosetilo". I was disappointed, that, no, trowel has it's own word "Trulo".

I wonder why Fosetilo wasn't used if the idea was as few root-words as possible.


I don't know the answer to your question, although if you search for fosileto, you'll find examples of it being used. I guess it's good to remember Esperanto isn't perfect, exceptionless or maximally efficient.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that the word you're talking about would be fosileto rather than fosetilo. When you add an suffix at the end of a word, that qualifies the whole preceding word. So in this case, {[fosil]eto} = {little [tool for digging]} = "trowel, spadelet etc.", not {[foset]ilo} = {tool for [little digging]} = "some kind of tool for doing tiny digs".

Other examples would be "ladder": {[stupet]aro} = {collection of [little steps]}, not {[stupar]eto} = {little [collection of steps]} (= "tiny staircase") or "young woman, girl": {[junul]ino} = {female [person that's young]}, not {[junin]ulo} = {person that's [femaley young]} (= ???).

Keeping in mind the same principle when wordbuilding in Esperanto in the future will make things easier.


Thank you, and yes thank you for the correction too.

The upside of me being wrong about fosileto being a trowel is I will now never forget that Trulo means trowel. :)

... Not that I'm expecting to often need the word trowel when communicating in Esperanto.


The upside of me being wrong about fosileto being a trowel is I will now never forget that Trulo means trowel. :)

Mistakes you make are great ways of remembering things! I'm the same.

Not that I'm expecting to often need the word trowel when communicating in Esperanto.

Vi eble surpriziĝos!


Yes, this surely is one of those moments. However note that ŝpato was added in la 4-a OA while ŝoveli and thereby ŝovelilo is a fundamenta word.

Where I live there is just one word and if you need to specify, you specify with the shape of the edge, like pintklinga resp. platklinga ŝovelilo.


Alternatively, could this not be a case where modern people are disconnected from the agricultural histories of their own language. When I was a kid, I thought a spade was just a small shovel - but the intended use is quite different. This is reflected in the definitions in PIV which say that ŝoveli has to do with moving material (coal, snow, dirt) from one place to another, while ŝpato is a tool for breaking up soil and preparing it for planting.

Trulo/trowel on the other hand is a different thing all together, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Cambarellus is simply misunderstanding what the word means in English. This is not a tool for breaking up soil or digging in the ground. It's for spreading mortar while working with brick... thus the absurdity of the following limerick, which I learned as a kid:

There once was a man named McDowell
Who planted a tree with a trowel
Then he got in a shower
where he stayed for an hour
and said "Somebody give me a towel!"


Underscore this part of my comment:

Alternatively, could this not be a case where modern people are disconnected from the agricultural histories of their own language.

I know people who call hand-spades "trowels", but my point is that the main definition is not a digging tool. See the Wikipedia article on trowel, for example. It lists "other kinds of trowel" - but only after explaining in some detail the different tools used for spreading mortar.

But regardless, to say that a one-hand-digging-tool is a trulo is a questionable assertion at best, based on the definition in PIV.


That might apply to English, but not to all languages. For some reason English seems to prefer special terms instead of using compound words where the the head would be a general term and you just add whatever specifier you need.

Esperanto follows for the most part this latter pattern, so we can quite well have:

  • fosilo

    → pintklinga fosilo

    → platklinga fosilo

    → ĝardena fosilo

    → neĝofosilo

    → (mal)longtiga fosilo

and so on.

This is way easier than having totally different terms whenever the shape of the blade, length of the shaft, the colour of the handle etc. is different.


That might apply to English

Underscore this part of my message:

This is reflected in the definitions in PIV

German, by the way, seems to have different words for these same basic things - die Kelle (trulo), schaufeln (ŝoveli), der Spaten (ŝpato).


cxu fosilo povus esti "shovel"?


Spades and shovels both dig; i just figured a spade would have been "fosileto" or something to that degree. (For those who have never had to dig with a shovel, you poor things ;)

Learn Esperanto in just 5 minutes a day. For free.