I saw on a few Wikipedia pages that René de Saussure apparently “opposed the criticism of Louis Couturat that Esperanto lacks recursion”. However, the previous sentence talks about the principle of “neceso kaj sufiĉo” and I cannot see the link between affixes and recursion. Furthermore, Saussure’s book Fundamentaj reguloj de la vort-teorio en Esperanto seems to talk about derivation, not recursion, and the book it quotes is Couturat’s Étude sur la dérivation en espéranto which, again, seems to be about derivation and not about recursion.

So when did Couturat make that claim? Is Wikipedia telling a lie or I'm simply missing something?

1 Answer 1


I think someone who contributed to the Wikipedia entry simply doesn't understand what recursion is, and interpreted some other criticism to mean lack of recursion. Esperanto obviously has recursive structures so there's nothing there to discuss.

  • 1
    I think you're right. Having read many Ido articles from and about Louis Couturat, my guess would be that he was rather referring to the “principle of reversibility” that is at the heart of Ido’s grammar. I will change the Wikipedia article if one day I read Couturat’s and Saussure’s books. Thank you!
    – maliktunga
    Mar 5, 2017 at 23:10
  • For instance, “armo” would mean “arming”, not “weapon” like it used to mean at Couturat’s time.
    – maliktunga
    Mar 5, 2017 at 23:16
  • Correction: "armo" is still equivocal according to the BRO. However, the "weapon" meaning is not considered a derivation from the verb "armi" but rather a parallel meaning, like "firmo" and "firma", "foso" and "fosi", "planto" and "planti", "falsa" and "falsi", "faldo" and "faldi", "resto" and "resti", "intereso" and "interesi", "ligo" and "ligi", "fiksa" and "fiski", etc.
    – maliktunga
    Mar 11, 2017 at 16:59

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