I obviously don't master the Esperanto language (or "have a good command of Esperanto") since I'm not even sure how to say that in Eo.

My guess is mi mastras Esperanton, which also reflects German ich beherrsche Esperanto and French je maitrise l'espéranto.

But according to PIV, the meaning of mastri is "regi, direkti, kiel mastro". Then, mi mastras Esperanton sounds like I am a kind of Esperanto cifal (like the Volapük cifal). Is this expression nevertheless correct?

6 Answers 6


The word you're looking for is indeed regi.

Mastri is a much less common word, and while it is occasionally used to describe competency in a language, it more often has a connotation closer to bossing someone around.

  • Good to know that "regi esperanton" is acceptable. But I still think that it goes beyond the strict definition of "regi", which conveys the idea of an actual control over something.
    – Sambuko
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 21:26

Usually I hear regi in this context, but I think most people would also comprehend mastri the way you intend it. You can probably also say something like bone koni or tute koni or bone paroli or some such.

  • Ah, I'm sorry, is the policy to italicize words rather than put them in quotation marks? Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:24

The verb you are looking for is posedi, meaning 2:

mi posedas ankaŭ tre malbone la anglan lingvon

from Zamenhof himself.


lerti estas alia eblo. Oni lertas pri io. Kvankam tio ne montras plej superan nivelon, ĝi taŭgas por aliaj konoj aŭ fakoj. Regi estus troa por, ekzemple, matematiko, aŭ ŝufarado. Pli superan nivelon oni povas esprimi per -eg-: lert(eg)i pri meĥaniko.


Tion oni ankaŭ povas esprimi per scipovi.

Ili scipovas Esperanton.
Ili scipovas paroli/skribi Esperanton.


I normally hear regi, however after looking at ReVo and the Tekstaro, I don't think it is the best choice. I think that mastri is much better.

From the tekstaro:

...li mem mastras tiujn lingvojn...

Yes, the statement Mi mastras Esperanton is correct.

  • 6
    The full quote for the second example is “Male, ili asertas, ke estas venko kontraŭ Usono kiu ne plu mastras sian lingvon kaj devu akcepti ke eŭropanoj kripligas ĝin!”. I think that is a different meaning than that they don’t speak the language well. It means they no longer have control over it and it’s the Europeans who are deciding its fate. I think this matches the definition in PIV well.
    – Neil Roberts
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 10:37
  • 2
    Yes. The second phrase is about control over the language rather than proficiency of it. I will delete that example.
    – Lumo5
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 13:37

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